Ohio State Football: Ranking the Big Ten's top five coaches

With the Ohio State football team in Spring practices, now is a good time to look at the Big Ten's top coaches.
Mar 7, 2024; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day watches players stretch
Mar 7, 2024; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day watches players stretch / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

The Ohio State football team and fellow Big Ten schools alike are officially underway for the 2024 football season. With Spring practices in full go and Spring games right around the corner, now would be a good time to look at the Big Ten conference and figure out who the league's top head coaches are.

This list will be different from last year's as some coaching staffs have turned over and some new schools have entered the conference. But the Big Ten does indeed have some of the best head coaches in all of college football. Let's take a look.

No. 5) Luke Fickell, Wisconsin (71-31 overall record)

The former Buckeye defensive coordinator has proven to be one of the better coaches in college football as he took a non-power five conference school in Cincinnati and turned it into a CFP team. Now in his second season in Madison, Fickell has a more complete roster than he did a season ago. That should translate into some more wins.

No. 4) Lincoln Riley, USC (74-18 overall record)

Still hard to imagine USC as a Big Ten school but it's 2024 and here we are. Riley was a proven winner and quarterback developer at Oklahoma before making the jump to USC two years ago. With Caleb Williams off to the NFL, we're going to find out this season how good of a coach Riley truly is.

No. 3) James Franklin, Penn State (112-54 overall record)

Yes, Franklin can't seem to win the big game but that doesn't take away from the fact that he is still a very good college football head coach. Penn State is a perennial top-15 program and is consistently winning 10 games per season. The Nittany Lions could do much worse than Franklin, which is probably the reason he's still in Happy Valley.

No. 2) Dan Lanning, Oregon (22-5 overall record)

Dan Lanning was a shoo-in for the Alabama job if he wanted it but opted to stay in Eugene where he's building one heck of a program. Lanning is winning on the NIL front and continues to dominate on the field. Two losses to Washington last season leave some wondering about his game-day decision-making, but there is no doubt that off the field he's as good as it gets.

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No. 1) Ryan Day, Ohio State (56-8 overall record)

Ryan Day only has eight losses in five seasons on the job. Unfortunately for him, three of them are to Michigan. But nonetheless, Day is one of the best coaches in college football as he has taken what Urban Meyer has built in Columbus and has only added to it. With the Buckeyes figuring out the NIL front recently, and a rock-solid coaching staff, the Buckeyes have a shot here in the next few seasons to build their own mini dynasty.