We've gone through the player positions (intentionally leaving out special teams) over the last few weeks so now its time to rank the coaches. The departure of Nebraska and Colorado may have hurt the conference from a "prestige" perspective but when it comes to the top level coaches in the conference the Big 12 remained basically unscathed. At best Nebraska's Bo Pelini would have been third on this list and can anyone actually name Colorado's football coach.
The following rankings are based solely on Big 12 production.
1. Bob Stoops - Oklahoma: Not by tenure but certainly by success Bob Stoops is the dean of Big 12 football coaches. His 129-31 record at Oklahoma, since 1999, speaks for itself but when you add a national championship, seven conference championships, the nation's longest home winning streak, five Big 12 Coach of the Year awards and seven national Coach of the Year awards he is the obvious choice for the top coach in the Big 12. Bob Stoops is the only coach in the nation to have coached in all four BCS bowl games and the BCS championship game.
2. Mack Brown - Texas: Brown is the highest paid coach in the Big 12 and the second most successful. Since 1998 he's compiled a 133-34 record for the Longhorns while also collecting a national championship in 2005 and two Big 12 championships. He's been honored as the Big 12 coach of the year twice and also has two national coach of the year recognitions. The 2010 season was Brown's first losing season at Texas.
3. Gary Pinkel - Missouri: Since taking over as Missouri's head coach in 2001 Pinkel has guided the Tigers to a 77-49 record. He's taken Missouri to seven bowl games and in 2007 the Tigers were ranked #1 in the nation going into the Big 12 championship game against Oklahoma.
4. Bill Snyder - Kansas State: Snyder is in his second stint as the football coach at Kansas State. The highlight of his first stint (1989-2005) was a conference championship in 2003 and a BCS bowl birth. In 1998 the Wildcats finished the regular season at 11-0 and at one point were ranked #1 in the nation.
Snyder returned to the sidelines in 2009. He has a career record of 149-80-1 which ranks him as the winningest coach in the Big 12. Snyder has two national Coach of the Year awards to go along with two Big 12 coach of the year awards. He is the only coach currently coaching in the Big 12 who also coached in the old Big 8 conference where he also has three coach of the year awards.
5. Mike Gundy - Oklahoma State: He may not have coached in the old Big 8 but he sure played in it where he was the conference's all-time leading passer. Before 2010 his most recognizable moment in coaching was his "I'm a man!" rant against an local newspaper reporter.
The 2010 season put Gundy on the national map when his Cowboys were just a win away from reaching the Big 12 championship game and potentially a BCS bowl birth for the first time in school history. It was Oklahoma State's first 10-win regular season and ended with a win over Arizona in the Alamo Bowl for an 11-2 record and a Top 10 finish in the Coaches Poll. Gundy has posted a 47-29 record at Oklahoma State since 2005.
6. Tommy Tuberville - Texas Tech: In 2010 Tuberville became just the second coach in Texas Tech history to win a bowl game in just his first season. His team finished 8-5 with a win over Northwestern in the Ticketcity Bowl.
7. Mike Sherman - Texas A&M: Sherman got off to a bit of a rough start to his tenure at A&M but put together his first winning season with the Aggies last fall when his team finished 9-3 in the regular season and earned a birth in the Cotton Bowl. He took the helm of the A&M football program in 2008 and has a 19-19 record after three seasons with two bowl losses.
8. Art Briles - Baylor: Briles began his tenure at Baylor in 2008 and after two losing seasons he guided the Bears to a 7-5 regular season record and a bowl birth for the first time in 16 years. He has a 15-22 record at Baylor.
9. Paul Rhodes - Iowa State: Rhodes became Iowa State's head coach in 2009 and led the Cyclones to a 7-6 record including a win over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl. It was the first time an ISU coach won six or more games in their first season since 19-15. Rhodes has a 12-13 record at Iowa State.
10. Turner Gill - Kansas: Gill's tenure at Kansas got off to a rough start with the Jayhawks going just 3-9 last season with only one victory in conference. It took Gill three seasons to produce his first winning season at Buffalo and it may be that long to do the same in Lawrence.