The Big 12 historically has been owned by Oklahoma and Texas, but it has also seen its share of teams come and go. Nebraska was a core program and their departure was a hit to the football product. Looking back through the history of the conference; legendary coaches like Darrell Royal (Texas), Mack Brown (Texas), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Barry Switzer (Oklahoma), Bud Wilkinson (Oklahoma), Dana Bible (Nebraska, Texas A&M, Texas), Bob Devaney (Nebraska), Tom Osborne (Nebraska), and Bill Snyder (Kansas State) among many others who have coached in this league. The current crop is nowhere near the afore mentioned prestigious collection, but they do consist of coaches who win with less. I have listed the 14 current Big 12 Head Coaches below based on a collection of current success, career success, ethics and maximizing their resources. Coaches ranked 4 through 9 are interchangeable and they are all very similar. If you’re looking for a great college football & NFL Podcast, subscribe to The Irrational Confidence Podcast (@IRConfidencePod on Twitter), available on all podcast platforms and the Spinnable Sports YouTube Channel. We just dropped our NFL Schedule Release reaction episode and you can also find our NFL Draft reaction episode in the same spot.
1.). CHRIS KLIEMAN: KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
- Won 4 DI-FCS National Championships in 5 seasons at North Dakota State
- Won the Big 12 in 2022 and guided K State to the Sugar Bowl.
- 1-2 Bowl Record
- Develops talent in Manhattan.
- 8+ wins in 3 of his 4 seasons in the Little Apple
- Does a lot with limited resources
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 4TH. AT TEXAS
2.). LANCE LEIPOLD: KANSAS JAYHAWKS
- Won 6 DIII National Championships at Wisconsin-Whitewater
- 2 MAC East Titles at Buffalo
- Got Kansas to a Bowl Game in Year 2 in Lawrence
- Does a lot with limited resources
- If he can win 8 or more games at Kansas in the next year or 2, he’ll be #1.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 30TH. AT TEXAS
3.). GUS MALZAHN: UCF KNIGHTS
- Won an SEC Title and played for a National Title while at Auburn
- Won the SEC West in 2017 and got Auburn to the NY6 Peach Bowl
- Won the SunBelt at Arkansas State
- Two 10+ win seasons in 8 years at Auburn
- 3-6 Bowl Record
- Wins games that he should, but very inconsistent in big games…2-7 vs Georgia, 3-5 vs Alabama, 3-5 vs LSU
- 9-4 & 9-5 in 2 years at UCF
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: OCTOBER 21ST AT OKLAHOMA
4.). MATT CAMPBELL: IOWA STATE CYCLONES
- Winning consistently at Iowa State is impressive
- Wins over Oklahoma show he can get the team ready to compete
- Played for a Big 12 Title and won the Fiesta Bowl in 2020.
- Developed NFL Talent in Brock Purdy, Breece Hall, Will McDonald and others
- Maximizes the roster and his resources
- Waiting on that conference title and more wins over Iowa
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 18TH VS TEXAS
5.). MIKE GUNDY: OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS
- An Oklahoma State legend
- Has won consistently and developed players into NFL caliber talents
- Recruiting has always been behind Texas and Oklahoma, but the team competes, which is a testament to his coaching.
- Lacks the victories over the Sooners and Longhorns as well Conference titles
- Would be ranked higher if the Cowboys would have more trophies / premier wins.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 4TH. BEDLAM. VS OKLAHOMA
6.). DANA HOLGORSEN: HOUSTON COUGARS
- Had early success at West Virginia and won the Big East in 2011
- BCS Orange Bowl where West Virginia beat Clemson 70-33
- In 12 years as a HC, 3 seasons of 10+ wins and 3 losing seasons
- Has developed talent, but in some cases his teams fell short of expectations
- Next step is to win the Big 12 / NY6 games
- Has recruited well but will need to recruit better and keep stars from leaving via the Portal
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: OCTOBER 21ST. VS TEXAS
7.). SONNY DYKES: TCU HORNED FROGS
- Career Record of 84-65 and 1 WAC Title in 2011
- Led TCU to the CFB Playoff and National Runner Up in 2022
- Winning records at La Tech & SMU, but went 19-30 at Cal between 2013-2016.
- 2-4 Bowl Record
- 5 losing seasons in 12 as a head coach
- Has only won 10+ games in a season twice
- 2023 will be very telling for Sonny….Great Group of 5 HC and he got lucky in 2022 or he has it figured out and can win consistently at TCU.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 11TH VS TEXAS
8.). STEVE SARKIASIAN: TEXAS LONGHORNS
- Has yet to play for a conference title, much less win anything significant
- Career record of 59-47 between Washington, USC and Texas and a 2-3 Bowl record
- Best season under his watch was 9-4 in 2014 at USC (Has not won 10 games as a head coach)
- Every team he has coached has underachieved
- Has recruited well, but USC and Texas recruit themselves for the most part
- Year 3 at Texas is critical….if Texas isn’t playing for the Big 12 Title, his Job security might be in question.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 9TH AT ALABAMA
9.). DAVE ARANDA: BAYLOR BEARS
- Won the Big 12 and the Sugar Bowl in 2021
- In the year before and after Baylor went 2-7 and 6-7 respectively
- Was Aranda & Baylor lucky in 2021 or is the roster restructuring complete to fit his image?
- Very big 2023 season for him
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 23RD VS TEXAS
10.). KALANI SITAKE: BYU COUGARS
- Career record of 56-34 at BYU and 4-2 in Bowl Games
- Went 11-1 in 2020 with Zach Wilson and 10 wins in 2021, but fell short of a CFB Playoff at large spot and NY6 bowl
- BYU has been good, but not great so far and it feels underwhelming under his watch
- The 2023 season will be critical for him and BYU as a whole since this is BYU’s return to a conference
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: OCTOBER 28TH AT TEXAS
11.). SCOTT SATTERFIELD: CINCINNATI BEARCATS
- Had success at App State, but underwhelmed at Louisville
- Developed players at Louisville but lacked the wins
- Career record of 76-48 and a 4-1 Bowl record.
- This job will require much better coaching, recruiting and player development because the Big 12 is a tough league.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 23RD VS OKLAHOMA
12.). JOEY McGUIRE: TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
- Great 1st year as a college football head coach and only reason he is 12th is because the sample size is 1 year.
- Texas Tech has great facilities and a stellar equipment deal with Under Armor, but key is to recruit Texas and get elite players to Lubbock.
- He was a great Texas High School coach and Baylor assistant, so he knows the recruiting landscape very well.
- Excited to see what Year 2 produces
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 24TH AT TEXAS
13.). BRENT VENABLES: OKLAHOMA SOONERS
- 2022 was a rough first season in Norman
- Oklahoma recruits itself for the majority, but need him to produce a strong 2024 class in addition to the recently signed 2023 class
- Considering the endless resources, tradition and branding, a 6-7 record is unacceptable in Norman.
- With the Sooners pending move to the SEC, the 2023 season is a fork in the road for him….get the program back on track or rumor mill will heat up.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: OCTOBER 7TH RED RIVER SHOOTOUT VS TEXAS
14.). NEAL BROWN: WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS
- Had a productive run at Troy
- Appears to be overwhelmed at West Virginia
- Recruiting has fallen off under his guidance
- The 2023 season could very well be his last in Morgantown unless he can produce 8 plus victories (even after getting a contract extension through 2026…easy buyout).
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 2ND AT PENN STATE
The next installment of my Power 5 Head Coach Power Rankings will head to the PAC 12. This has been a wide open conference in recent years, so the battle for the top spot is very debatable. You can find a great article regarding the ACC and potential realignment ideas written by our Legal Eagle on Spinnable Sports.com. My Irrational Confidence Podcast Co-Host also penned an article looking at the ACC / BIG 12 /PAC 12 and their media negotiations.