The Sporting News recently ranked the coaches in college football for the 2023 season and the site showed some respect for first-year Arizona State coach Kenny Dillingham, who is also a first-time head coach.
Dillingham is ranked No. 56 on the list, only behind Nebraska’s Matt Rhule at No. 46 (who has a track record of success as a college head coach) and ahead of Colorado’s Deion Sanders at No. 59 (who went 27-6 in three seasons at Jackson State before taking the Buffaloes’ job) among the highest-ranked first-year head coaches.
Dillingham, 33, was the offensive coordinator at Oregon last season.
Interestingly, Dillingham is also ranked ahead of Arizona’s Jedd Fisch, who comes in at No. 74 in the rankings.
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Where Kenny Dillingham ranks among Pac-12 coaches
The ASU coach is eighth among Pac-12 coaches, behind USC’s Lincoln Riley (7), Utah’s Kyle Whittingham (9), Washington’s Kalen DeBoer (23), Oregon’s Dan Lanning (25), UCLA’s Chip Kelly (26), Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith (40) and Washington State’s Jake Dickert (51).
Not bad for a first-time head coach.
California’s Justin Wilcox (60) and Stanford’s Troy Taylor (69) are also behind Dillingham in the ranking, joining Sanders and Fisch.
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How college football coach rankings were determined for 2023
Bill Bender explained the methodology to his college football coach rankings as follows: “SN looks at a coach’s overall record, record at the current school and a three-year record to gauge that ranking. Of course, career accomplishments, program expectations and the old ‘this guy or this guy’ arguments come into play too. It’s not a perfect science, but it’s our science and we’ve been doing it longer than (Nick) Saban’s reign at the top.”
With not much to go on for Dillingham, it’s interesting that he debuts so high on the list, which has a Top 5 of Alabama’s Nick Saban, Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Ohio State’s Ryan Day.
Is Dillingham too high for a first-year coach at ASU and a first-time college head coach?
More:ASU’s Kenny Dillingham over Arizona’s Jedd Fisch? Fans slam Pac-12 football coach ranking
Reach Jeremy Cluff at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.
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