Power Ranking the 10 Best OC/DC Tandems in the Country
College football is full of quality coaches, with the best teams finding ways to land the top tandems in the game. Successful teams are driven by winning offensive and defensive coaches.
These teams have found the perfect mix, putting together the 10 best offensive and defensive coaches in the country. Some big-name staffs are found on the Alabama and Ohio State sidelines, but Northwestern and Utah State have also put together impressive staffs.
Gauging the top coaching talent in the country takes a couple of things: What have they done with the program? Where did it come from? Where is it headed? The future is tough to predict, but past and present are obvious to see.
Here are the 10 best coaching tandems in college football today.
No. 10: Oregon State Beavers
Offensive Coordinator: Danny Langsdorf
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Banker
The Oregon State Beavers may not come to mind when thinking coaching excellence, but the way this staff was able to turnaround this program in a year has been impressive.
Danny Langsdorf has been one of the best offensive minds in the game since taking over the offensive unit for the Beavers eight years ago. He has been with the program for 10 years and has an NFL background.
Langsdorf always leads explosive offenses.
Mark Banker has been the Beavers defensive coordinator under Mike Riley for 10 years, leading 50 All-Conference players through the years. The Beavers were terrible defensively over the past two seasons, but Banker turned it back around this year with a top-30 showing.
The Beavers have a strong future with Banker and Langsdorf calling the shots. They know the program and have built a winner in Corvallis.
No. 9: Northwestern Wildcats
OC: Mick McCall
DC: Mike Hankwitz
Pat Fitzgerald has done amazing things at Northwestern over the past seven years, but his coaching overhaul five years ago still remains his best move.
Fitzgerald hired Mike Hankwitz to coach defense and Mick McCall to lead the offense. Since then, the Wildcats have had a ton of success in the Big Ten, finding their way to five consecutive bowl games.
Mick McCall has done tremendous work as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, where he has had an All-Big Ten performer at quarterback in the past three seasons.
Mike Hankwitz brings 40 years of experience to the Wildcats, and since he was hired, has led a resurgence on the defensive side of the ball for Northwestern. The Wildcats were No. 18 against the run this season.
The way that the Wildcats have been able to win the past five years has been no accident. This coaching staff is one of the best in the country, doing more with less every year.
No. 8: Utah State Aggies
OC: Matt Wells
DC: Dave Aranda
Gary Andersen has put together a great staff at Utah State, which has in turn helped put together a very impressive offensive and defensive combo.
Matt Wells is in his second season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Aggies, where he has helped turn Chuckie Keeton into one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the country.
Utah State has a dangerous offense and Wells has helped bring the turnaround in the past few seasons.
Dave Aranda is in his first season with the Aggies, taking the Utah State defense from the No. 50 total defense in the country to the No. 15 unit in the land this year. This turnaround helped the Aggies to a 10-win season.
The Aggies are set to have a lot of success in the coming years with this staff leading the charge.
No. 7: Stanford Cardinal
OC: Pep Hamilton
DC: Derek Mason
The Stanford Cardinal were brought to the top by Jim Harbaugh, but promoted assistant David Shaw has kept them at the top.
Pep Hamilton was promoted to offensive coordinator two years ago, and he has continued the rise of the Cardinal in the Pac-12. This year, thanks in large part to the coaching, Kevin Hogan has been become one of the rising stars of the conference.
Derek Mason is in his third year with Stanford and his second as defensive coordinator. The Cardinal were the only team to neutralize the Oregon offense this season.
The Cardinal have been very stingy on defense under Mason and have become the standard for the Pac-12 on the defensive side of the ball.
No. 6: Michigan Wolverines
OC: Al Borges
DC: Greg Mattison
The Wolverines are not short of success on the coaching staff, with proven winners Greg Mattison and Al Borges leading the Wolverines' offensive and defensive units.
Mattison has been leading defenses for 13 years, two of which with the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL. Mattison has helped guide the Wolverines to success over the past two years, reaching new heights this season when Michigan finished with the No. 11 total defensive unit in the country.
In 2010, the Wolverines were No. 108 in total defense.
Al Borges leads the offense and is a proven winner in college football. Borges helped guide Auburn to an undefeated season in 2004 and was a part of 42 wins with the Tigers. He coached with Brady Hoke at San Diego State before coming with him to Michigan.
The Wolverines will be among the elite in the Big Ten in the coming years, and this coaching staff is a huge part of the recent resurgence.
No. 5: Ohio State Buckeyes
OC: Tom Herman
DC: Luke Fickell
After going 12-0 in their first year under Urban Meyer, this was a no-brainer. The Buckeyes have a top-five coaching staff, and to say otherwise would be laughable.
Meyer kept Luke Fickell from the previous regime and hired Tom Herman from Iowa State to run his offense. At the end of the day, though, it is Meyer’s offense.
Luke Fickell has helped guide the Buckeyes to a top-30 finish in total defense and the No. 13 rushing defense in the country.
The ground game was the offensive strength this season, ranking No. 10 in the country. Not all of that was Herman’s doing, but he did help guide a unit that went undefeated.
Combining the talents of Herman and Fickell under the guidance of Meyer leads to the best team in the Big Ten. Ohio State is on a dangerous climb with Meyer and his staff in town.
No. 4: Florida Gators
OC: Brent Pease
DC: Dan Quinn
Will Muschamp came to Florida and talked about winning football games. In two years, his team is in a BCS bowl game and challenging for top billing in the best conference in college football.
A big part of that success has been the assistant coaches whom he has brought onto the Gators staff.
Brent Pease is the offensive coordinator this year, and he comes from Chris Petersen’s staff at Boise State. Pease is a proven winner, and in just one year has the Gators offense running much more fluidly than under the Charlie Weis regime.
Dan Quinn came to the Gators as defensive coordinator from the Seattle Seahawks and brought a lot of NFL experience with him. Since his arrival, the Gators have become one of the top defenses in college football.
This is a rising team in the SEC and will continue to push for titles in the coming seasons as long as this staff stays intact.
No. 3: Oregon Ducks
OC: Mark Helfrich
DC: Nick Aliotti
The Oregon Ducks are undeniably strong on offense, finding ways to light up the scoreboard on virtually every Saturday.
The offense is led officially by Mark Helfrich, but Chip Kelly is sure to have a major input. Kelly first led the Oregon offense as coordinator in the 2007 season. His offense has changed the way that offense is viewed on a national level.
Chip Kelly makes this staff elite by himself.
Defensively, the Ducks are led by Nick Aliotti. He has been with the Ducks as coordinator for three seasons now, leading a fast attacking unit.
With the Ducks offense, it's tough for the defense to be a top-rated unit. What they are good at is making plays in the backfield and winning the turnover battle.
Oregon plays very opportunistic defense and tight pass coverage. Allioti’s recipe has led to success and will do enough to keep Oregon at the top of the Pac-12.
No. 2: Georgia Bulldogs
OC: Mike Bobo
DC: Todd Grantham
The Georgia Bulldogs have put together consistent winning seasons under head coach Mark Richt over the past decade. His coaching-staff decisions have led to a lot of that success, and this season is no different.
The Bulldogs offense has been led by Mike Bobo since the 2007 season. Under his leadership, Matt Stafford, David Greene and Aaron Murray have all found a high level of success. The Georgia offense is a dangerous unit every year.
On defense, the Bulldogs had hit a slump until Todd Grantham was hired away from the NFL in 2009. He had spent 11 years in the NFL.
Since Grantham has arrived in Athens, the Bulldogs have put together one of the best defensive units in the country. They are fielding two projected first-round draft picks this season.
The Bulldogs are among the elite in the country and the SEC, fighting their way to the top with the second-best coaching staff in the country.
No. 1: Alabama Crimson Tide
OC: Doug Nussmeier
DC: Kirby Smart
Alabama is Alabama. With Nick Saban leading the charge, the offense and defense will be the same with different names leading the units.
Doug Nussmeier came from Washington to Alabama this year and has helped guide the pro-style Alabama offense to consistent success. There was a proven system and players already on board—Nussmeier just had to keep the train moving.
Kirby Smart is the Crimson Tide defensive coordinator and has been in that position since 2007. He came with Saban from Miami and has helped the Tide put together top-five defenses consistently over the past five years.
A lot of credit is given to Nick Saban for his team’s success—rightfully so—but he still has great coordinators. Saban knows how to put together strong staffs that will lead his team to national titles.
Smart and Nussmeier are proving to be two of the best in the country under the guidance of Saban.