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Athlon Head Coach Rankings for Sunbelt, CUSA, and AAC

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It's no surprise Tom Herman garnered the top spot in Athlon's 2016 rankings of FBS head coaches. We've split out the rankings by conference to compare how the Underdogs stack up.

Tom Herman is the top G5 coach in the nation per Athlon Sports
Tom Herman is the top G5 coach in the nation per Athlon Sports
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Athlon Sports recently ranked all 128 coaches in FBS football. Certainly a huge undertaking and a task that I am not envious of. I've broken out their rankings by conference to see how they handled the Underdog conferences. You can view the full list here.

Conference USA

  • 126 - Frank Wilson, UTSA
  • 123 - Seth Littrell, North Texas
  • 122 - Brad Lambert, Charlotte
  • 113 - Charlie Partridge, FAU
  • 112 - Ron Turner, FIU
  • 104 - Sean Kugler, UTEP
  • 92 - Jay Hopson, Southern Miss
  • 89 - David Bailiff, Rice
  • 88 - Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion
  • 73 - Rick Stockstill, MTSU
  • 72 - Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech
  • 70 - Doc Holliday, Marshall
  • 61 - Jeff Brohm, WKU
  • Average: 96
Athlon took an easy out by deciding not to rank UAB head coach Bill Clark but I think the rankings are pretty spot on here. Frank Wilson in last place is a bit harsh but their hesitation to give him the benefit of the doubt without any coordinator experience is fair. The Florida schools being ranked 113 and 112 consecutively crack me up. Hey, we all get lazy sometimes.

Sunbelt

  • 124 - Doug Martin, NMSU
  • 120 - Paul Petrino, Idaho
  • 118 - Tyson Summers, Georgia Southern
  • 117 - Everett Withers, Texas State
  • 110 - Matt Viator, ULM
  • 95 - Neal Brown, Troy
  • 93 - Joey Jones, South Alabama
  • 87 - Trent Miles, Georgia State
  • 74 - Blake Anderson, Arkansas State
  • 68 - Mark Hudspeth, UL Lafayette
  • 67 - Scott Satterfield, Appalachian State
  • Average: 98
Not many complaints here although I would bump Doug Martin up a bit. Winning three conference games at NMSU requires some type of dark magic that my mind is not prepared to interpret. Hudspeth and Satterfield are a toss up in my mind and Athlon has them ranked consecutively.

American

  • 119 - Scottie Montgomery, ECU
  • 109 - Scott Frost, UCF
  • 99 - Mike Norvell, Memphis
  • 98 - Chad Morris, SMU
  • 80 - Phillip Montgomery, Tulsa
  • 78 - Bob Diaco, UCONN
  • 59 - Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati
  • 58 - Matt Rhule, Temple
  • 56 - Willie Taggart, South Florida
  • 53 - Willie Fritz, Tulane
  • 40 - Ken Niumatalolo, Navy
  • 14 - Tom Herman, Houston
  • Average: 72
First off, let's give Athlon credit for breaking the #P5Orgy and ranking Herman at #14 even if it should be an easy call. I do think the lower half of the rankings are all off though. Scott Frost at 109? Going by their self-described criteria-- "If you start a program from scratch, which coach would you hire knowing what they accomplished so far and their career trajectory?" wouldn't Frost be a great fit? His experience at Oregon is much more substantial than that of a former FCS head coach (Jay Hopson, #92) in my opinion. And Chad Morris at 98? Sure he hasn't had overnight success at SMU but who would? Morris is still a rising star in this profession and should be ranked much higher.