The Top 10 Underrated Coaches in College Football

Stacey MicklesCorrespondent IIAugust 31, 2010

The Top 10 Underrated Coaches in College Football

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    College football has it share of great coaches; Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Joe Paterno just to name a few. But there are some head coaches out there who are flying under the radar that deserve to be recognized. Here are ten up and coming coaches in college football.

10. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy

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    A disciple of Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson, Niumatalolo might have a hard name to pronounce, but his record isn’t. Since becoming the Navy head coach, Niumatalolo is 18-10 including a 10-4 mark last year. Included in that record is victories over Wake Forest in 2008 who were ranked at the time  and they defeated Notre Dame last year. Watch out for this coach; don’t be surprised that like Johnson, he will be moving into a larger zip code in the near future.

9. Dabo Swinney, Clemson

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    What a difference a few years make. Dabo Swinney went from obscure assistant football coach, to one of the hottest coaches in the country. A Clemson team that was floundering under Tommy Bowden, seem to come to life with the fiery, young head coach. Swinney took Clemson to a bowl game last year and like Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech,has made the Tigers contenders again in the ACC. Momma may call Swinney home to Tuscaloosa one day once Nick Saban retires.

8. Mike Leach

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    Even though he isn’t coaching, Leach’s offenses at Texas Tech basically put an unknown program on the map. Yes, Leach has a quirky personality, but no one said he couldn’t coach and the next program that lands him, will not only be extremely lucky, but very smart as well.

7. Houston Nutt, Ole Miss

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    Houston Nutt probably doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, but he actually has been a very successful coach. He has lead both Arkansas and Ole Miss to nine plus wins, New Year's Day bowls and has gone to the SEC title game twice as the Razorbacks' head coach. Say what you want, but the Rebels knew exactly what they were doing hiring Nutt as their head coach.

6. Jim Harbaugh, Stanford

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    Anyone who can needle USC and Pete Carroll and back it up by taking two of three from the Men of Troy, is a bad man in my book. If you ask Michigan fans right now who would they rather have as their head coach Harbaugh or Rich Rod, more then likely they’d pick Harbaugh. Harbaugh has proven he is more then just talk, the man can coach and like Stanford coaches before him (Ty Willingham and Dennis Green) you better believe he won’t be around in a Palo Alto much longer.

5. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

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    Paul Johnson took lonely Georgia Tech from has beens, to contenders. Now, Tech is being talked about as not only being contenders for the ACC Championship (they won the ACC last year), but also for a national championship as well. When was the last time Tech was talked about as being a potential candidate to win the national championship? With Johnson, it's no longer just talk.

4. Mark Richt,Georgia

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    Mark Richt would probably be on the top of the list as being the best coach in the SEC, problem is he is in a conference with four other coaches who have won national championships. I know Georgia fans are restless, but if they fire Mark Richt, who can they get that is better? They man wins 77 percent of his games and he has won the SEC Championship twice. The only thing the man hasn’t done is win a national championship

3. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

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    Although,he hasn’t won a game yet at Notre Dame,Brian Kelly is already a proven winner. Kelly led his Cincinnati Bearcats to their first BCS Bowl Game last year and managed to win the Big East Title. Like Nick Saban and Urban Meyer, every college he has gone to, he has been successful. The Bearcats didn’t have that kind of success until Kelly got there and he will most likely bring the Fighting Irish back to the national scene soon.

2. Kyle Whittingham, Utah

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    Many wondered when Urban Meyer left for Florida, would Utah survive; the answer to that question is YES. Kyle Whittingham lead Utah to an undefeated season back in the 2008 season and proved his team wasn’t a fluke by beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl that same season. The Utes are lucky to have him and I got a feeling that they will become the next power in the Pac-10

1. Chris Peterson, Boise State

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    It’s hard to call a guy who is at one of the best programs in the country underrated, but who had ever heard of Chris Peterson and Boise State 10 years ago? This school came out of no where to literary make a splash on the college football scene. This little school out of Idaho is the ultimate BCS Buster who is a serious contender for a national championship this year and not many small Division I schools can say that.

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