Stewart Mandel covers college football for SI.com and he compiled this list of who he considers to be the top 10 coaches in FBS headed into this season. The Big 12 had four make the cut, more than any other conference.
Here’s what Mandel wrote about the four Big 12 coaches on his top 10 list.
No. 4, Gary Patterson, TCU: Here's what I wrote about Patterson in 2007: "Does anyone get less credit for running a consistently successful program than this guy?" And that was before two BCS bids, an undefeated 2010 campaign and an impressive transition to the Big 12. While the Horned Frogs still have plenty to prove following a 7-6 debut in their new league, Patterson has long since demonstrated that he's one of the top defensive minds the sport has seen over the past decade.
No. 5, Bill Snyder, Kansas State: I know I said this list isn't based on career achievement, but it's hard not to bring up Snyder's '90s miracle work in Manhattan - particularly now that he has engineered a second surprising turnaround. The Wildcats, 39-45 from 2004-10 (three of those seasons under Ron Prince), went a combined 21-5 in Snyder's third and fourth years back at the helm, including capturing last year's Big 12 title. There's no magic formula or trademark strategy at Kansas State. Snyder simply wins.
No. 8, Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: This ranking may seem a bit low for a guy who has won seven Big 12 titles and compiled an .801 winning percentage, but the Sooners have shown some cracks since reaching the 2008 BCS championship game - especially over the past two seasons (though they still won 10 games in both 2011 and '12). Stoops came up as a defensive coach, but his program has long ranked among the nation's most powerful and innovative on offense.
No. 10, Art Briles, Baylor: Briles doesn't get nearly the national recognition he deserves, particularly considering just how astonishing Baylor's rise would have seemed just four years ago. The Bears failed to post a winning record in their first 14 seasons in the Big 12; they've gone 25-14 in the three seasons since, twice knocking off top-five teams, producing a Heisman winner and maintaining one of the nation's most explosive offenses even after RGIII's departure.