Athlon Sports recently unveiled its Big Ten coach rankings for the 2018 college football season. Nebraska’s Scott Frost, the newest head coach in the conference, came in seventh, one spot ahead of Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, the Big Ten’s (and FBS’) most senior leader. Not surprisingly, this has a number of people crying foul on both sides and from national perspectives.
This is understandable as the argument can be made that Frost hasn’t coached a game in the conference, so why should he be ranked at all? A valid point, however, I would argue that the addition of Frost to the list isn’t about what he has accomplished as a member of the Big Ten, but as a head coach overall.
More specifically, I’ll present the case that Frost is, in fact, a better head coach than Ferentz with only two years at the FBS level under his belt. Don’t worry, the Iowa head man does actually get some props.
When it comes to development, Iowa is easily one of the best programs in the country, and that’s not simply my opinion. Since 2002 (four years/one full eligibility cycle into Ferentz’s tenure), the Hawkeyes have averaged a recruiting class ranking of 41st in the nation. These numbers actually dip if you look at the three-, five- and 10-year averages (42nd, 45th and 44th, respectively.)
Despite so-so recruiting on the whole, Iowa has put 46 players into the NFL from 2005-18. Only 18 other schools have done a better job of developing talent for the next level. Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin are the only other Big Ten schools that can make this claim.
However, one would think that with all of this eventual NFL talent, Iowa could accomplish far more than it has since Ferentz took over in 1999. Coming out of the gate, it appeared he was going to get the Hawkeyes back on the national stage more often than not after going 28-7 following an 11-24 showing in his first three years.
That time span included two Big Ten championships and three consecutive finishes as the No. 8 team in the country. After that, we began to see what we’re now all too familiar with when it comes to modern-day Iowa football. Since 2002, he’s averaged an 8-4 record and accumulated only two 10-win seasons following the Hawkeyes’ last conference title in 2004 (’09 and ’15.)
Essentially, he peaked quite some time ago and despite a 1-2 record in New Year’s Six Bowls and a 1-5 record in his team’s past six postseason bids, Hawkeye fans don’t appear to care much.
We turn to Frost. He is a coach that took a demoralized program with an absolutely decimated culture in UCF and led the Knights to an undefeated season — and arguably a national championship depending on who you talk to — in a two-year span.
Going beyond that well-discussed talking point and onto one that we just talked about in regards to Iowa, no other Florida school had more players selected in the first two days of the 2018 NFL Draft than the Knights. In fact, UCF had more than Iowa (three to the Hawkeyes’ two) and more picks overall (four vs. three.) This includes cornerback Mike Hughes who spent all of one year in the program as a junior and thrived. As the 30th overall pick in the draft, he’s now focused on challenging for a starting spot in an already loaded Minnesota Vikings secondary.
Source: Athlon Sports