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Urban Meyer and the 10 Greatest Coaches of the BCS Era

Adam HirshfieldFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2010

Urban Meyer and the 10 Greatest Coaches of the BCS Era

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    With Wednesday's news that Urban Meyer is stepping down as the head coach at the University of Florida, it got some of us college football fans thinking: Is he the best coach of the BCS era?

    At the very least, he's among the handful of great coaches in the game. But where exactly does Meyer stand in the pantheon of great on- and off-field leaders since the 1998-99 season, when the Bowl Championship Series was instituted?

    He's won at each stop—Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. He's coached players from Alex Smith to Tim Tebow. And those two national titles with the Gators: can't forget those.

    So where does he rank among the greats of the last 12 years? Read on, won't you?

Honorable Mentions

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    15. Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin

    14. Lloyd Carr, Michigan

    13. Larry Coker, Miami

    12. Mark Richt, Georgia

    11. Les Miles, Oklahoma State/LSU

10. Chris Petersen

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Yes, he's only been a head coach for five years, and yes, Boise State doesn't exactly play the toughest schedule in the country. But Petersen has helped to create an absolute monster program that is a perennial contender for a BCS bowl bid. 

    BCS Era record: 60-5 (.923)

    BCS Era standout stats: 2 BCS bowl games, 0 National Championships

9. Phil Fulmer

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    The coach who won the first ever BCS championship, Fulmer became an institution at Tennessee after taking over for Johnny Majors in 1992.

    BCS Era record: 98-41 (.705)

    BCS Era standout stats: 2 BCS bowl games, 1 National Championship (1998)

8. Frank Beamer

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    Probably the most underrated coach of his generation, Beamer has made his mark at Virginia Tech with tough defense, amazing special teams and some very talented individual players, including Michael Vick.

    BCS Era record: 130-38 (.774)

    BCS Era standout stats: 5 BCS bowl games, 0 National Championships

7. Bobby Bowden

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    Bobby Bowden spent an amazing 44 seasons as a head coach—34 of them at Florida State—before retiring after the Seminoles' win in the 2010 Gator Bowl.

    BCS Era record: 108-46 (.701)

    BCS Era standout stats: 6 BCS bowl games, 1 National Championship (1999)

6. Mack Brown

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    The highest salaried coach at a public institution, Brown has been at Texas since 1998. During that time, he has coached names like Ricky Williams, Vince Young and Colt McCoy and been a huge success...well, until 2010.

    BCS Era record: 133-34 (.796)

    BCS Era standout stats: 4 BCS bowl games, 1 National Championship (2005)

5. Nick Saban

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    During the BCS era, Saban has coached at Michigan State, LSU and Alabama in addition to a brief stint in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins, so it's fair to say he's gotten around. But he's played a big role in turning around several programs, won everywhere he's been and has become a staple near the top of the college rankings.

    BCS Era record: 105-35 (.750)

    BCS Era standout stats: 4 BCS bowl games, 2 National Championships (2003, 2009)

4. Bob Stoops

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    Stoops has built himself a powerhouse in Norman, winning seven Big-12 titles and earning two Walter Camp National Coach of the Year awards.

    BCS Era record: 128-31 (.805)

    BCS Era standout stats: 8 BCS bowl games, 1 National Championship (2000)

3. Urban Meyer

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Since the institution of the BCS, Meyer has been a huge winner at Bowling Green (2001-02), Utah (2003-04) and, finally, Florida (2005-present), before announcing on Wednesday that he's stepping down.

    BCS Era record: 103-23 (.817)

    BCS Era standout stats: 4 BCS bowl games, 2 National Championships (2006, 2008)

2. Pete Carroll

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    Yes, there were plenty of sketchy goings-on at Southern Cal under Carroll, the coach who made stars of Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and more. But his success and numbers on the field, at least at the college level, speak for themselves.

    BCS Era record: 97-19 (.836)

    BCS Era standout stats: 7 BCS bowl games, 2 National Championships (2003, 2004)

1. Jim Tressel

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    Hired by Ohio State from I-AA Youngstown State following the 2000 season, the 58-year-old Tressel makes for a slightly surprising No. 1, especially coming from this self-described "Michigan man."

    But with the most BCS bowl games, seven AP top-10 finishes (with another one on the way this season) and a national title to his name, he narrowly edges out the other competitors.

    BCS Era record: 105-22 (.827) in Division I, 132-33 (.800) in all divisions

    BCS Era standout stats: 8 BCS bowl games, 1 National Championship (2002)

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