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Athlon releases list ranking all 128 college football coaches, Richt lands at No. 16

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Thanks to a solid reputation that carried over from UGA, Mark Richt cracked the top 20 of Athlon's list. But, what about the coaches ranked in front of him?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Athlon's ranking of all 128 college football coaches was released today, causing a bit of a stir in the college football world.

Coming in at No. 16, Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt earned a fairly positive analysis from the team at Athlon (he also previously earned an A+ grade in their "new hires" piece). Richt was named the fifth best coach in the ACC.

Athlon writes:

"Despite winning 145 games in 15 seasons at Georgia, Richt was dismissed at the 2015 regular season. While Richt won plenty of games at Georgia, a change of scenery (for both parties) and a return to his alma mater isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Richt seems to be energized by transition to Miami, and his return to Coral Gables should help this program take a step forward. The Hurricanes are still looking for their first trip to the ACC title game, and Richt should be the right coach to get this team back in contention for division titles and top 25 finishes. Another bonus for Miami in the coaching transition: Richt plans on calling the plays in 2016."

There isn't an issue in their analysis of Richt, but there is an issue in the ranking of some of the coaches ahead of him. The top 15 is listed as follows: 15. David Cutcliffe, Duke 14. Tom Herman, Houston 13. Chris Petersen, Washington 12. Bobby Petrino, Louisville 11. Bill Snyder, Kansas State 10. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame 9. Dabo Swinney, Clemson 8. David Shaw, Stanford 7. Jimbo Fisher, FSU 6. Gary Patterson, TCU 5. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma 4. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State 3. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan 2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State 1. Nick Saban, Alabama.

David Cutcliffe in front of Mark Richt? Let's look at Duke. In 2008, Cutcliffe's team finished 4-8. In 2009, Duke won five games. In 2010 and '11, they had back-to-back three win seasons. In 2013, Duke put together a 10 win season, followed by nine win season in 2014, and eight win season in 2015. So how can this guy possibly be ahead of Mark Richt. Oh, let's not forget that out of Cutcliffe's four bowl appearances at Duke, he's only managed to win one (last year's Pinstripe Bowl).

Let's compare Bobby Petrino at No. 12 against Richt.  During the 2013 campaign, Petrino went 8-4 at Western Kentucky (which, for the Hilltoppers, is pretty impressive). In 2014, his Louisville Cardinals finished 9-4, losing the Belk Bowl. The 2015 Louisville Cardinals finished 8-5, winning the Music City Bowl.

What about Richt? Well let's look at all of his seasons since 2011.

  • 2011: 10-4, Lost Outback Bowl
  • 2012: 12-2, Won Captial One Bowl
  • 2013: 8-5, Lost Gator Bowl
  • 2014: 10-3, Won Belk Bowl
  • 2015: 9-3, Did not coach team in Bowl
I would have to say that those past five seasons should bump Richt ahead of guys like Cutcliffe, Tom Herman, Petersen, and Petrino. Looking at Houston, it's simply one season of success under Herman. The key to earning a top 15 coaching ranking is consistency. Herman is certainly a top 25 coach, but not top 15. Richt's consistency in the SEC triumphs a 13-1 season in the AAC.

Oh, and Chris Petersen? Let's not get started on that one. Put the Boise State success aside, and his tenure at Washington has been mediocre at best. An 8-6 (lost Cactus Bowl) season in 2014, and a 7-6 (won Heart of Dallas Bowl) season in 2015 landed him in front of Richt. Yup.

Ultimately the only ranking that matters to Richt and Hurricanes fans is the final ranking in the polls, and cracking a top four spot in the College Football Playoff.