The Wall Street Journal recently had an interesting item about the win-loss records of the football coaches in all the major conferences against AP top-25 teams. Here’s the current ACC coaches’ records:
|School||Coach||W-L Career||W-L Current|
|Boston College||Steve Addazio||1-6||1-4|
|Florida State||Jimbo Fisher||12-6||12-6|
|Georgia Tech||Paul Johnson||10-22||10-13|
|Miami (FL)||Al Golden||3-13||3-8|
|NC State||Dave Doeren||1-4||0-3|
|North Carolina||Larry Fedora||3-9||1-5|
|Virginia Tech||Frank Beamer||45-50-1||45-50-1|
|Wake Forest||Dave Clawson||1-9||0-2|
Add it all up and these guys have won 39% of their games against Top 25 teams while coaching at their respective schools (the current number above), which is only nominally better than the 36% collective career average. Why’s that important? Because many of these coaches came from head coaching positions at smaller schools and you would expect them to have more losses there since they would have been homecoming/early season fodder for larger football schools. You would think that once they got to the larger schools their records would have improved with access to more resources, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Of course you can also look at it this way: it takes time to build a winning program and in today’s “win now” culture these guys just don’t get the time to lay the groundwork needed to have a strong sustainable program. That’s why Virginia Tech stands out. Beamer might have a sub-.500 record, but he’s had almost 100 games against Top 25 teams which indicates that they don’t run away from a tough schedule and they also give their coach plenty of opportunities to build and rebuild.
Love it or hate it, the reality is that college football is big business on college campuses and the head coaches are among the highest paid people on campus. And to be clear the ACC isn’t the only conference with coaches with numbers like these – the vast majority of coaches have losing records against Top 25 teams – so you have to wonder how so many keep their jobs right? That’s why we have the FCS which is chock full of teams from smaller football programs willing to take a beating in exchange for some cash. Everyone wins – the big schools get two or three almost-guaranteed wins a year, the coaches get to pad their records and the small schools get their biggest paydays of the season before playing their peers. It’s the American way.