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Rutgers Football: Big Ten Coaches against the Top 25

Kyle Flood must improve his record at Rutgers against ranked teams!

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

The Wall Street Journal came out with an article yesterday, profiling college football coaches records from the power five conferences against teams ranked in the AP top 25 poll.  They highlighted both the career record of the coach and their record at their current school.

Kyle Flood has a career record of 0-6 against the AP top 25, which is no secret to Rutgers fans.  The biggest criticism of Flood is his inability to land top ranked New Jersey recruits.  The second most common criticism of Flood has been his inability to win games against top ranked opponents.  Obviously, both areas are in need of improvement for the long term progress of the program and ultimately, the success of Kyle Flood in his career at Rutgers.  And of course in theory, the more higher rated recruits Flood secures, the better chance Rutgers has to knock off ranked opponents.

Respect and perception of Rutgers as a viable program in the Big Ten is still low.  Of course, he needs to follow up last season's 8-5 record with another winning season this year to prove Rutgers is no fluke.  Still, Flood and Rutgers need more, they need signature victories over ranked opponents.  There will be multiple opportunities each season to improve their record against ranked teams from the Big Ten.  To accelerate progress and improve success on the recruiting trail, sooner rather than later, Rutgers needs to knock off a ranked opponent.

This post is not to slam Flood, but rather to emphasize the progress that he needs to make in the future.  In looking at the Big Ten as a whole, its obvious Flood is not alone in needing to improve his record against the top 25.  Here are records of some other Big Ten coaches against the top 25:

  • James Franklin is 1-10 in his career and 0-2 with TTFP. I will admit his tenure in the mighty SEC at a bottom tier school made slaying the giants difficult.  It will be interesting to see how coach hype's record in the Big Ten plays out against ranked teams in the future.
  • Randy Edsall is 1-26 in his career and 0-10 at Maryland.  By the way another fun fact, Edsall is 2-6 lifetime against Rutgers.
  • Tim Beckman is 0-11 in his career and 0-7 with Illinois.
  • Kevin Wilson is 1-8 both in his career and at Indiana.  His first win came last season in a stunning victory at then #18 Missouri.
  • Jerry Kill is 2-13 in his career and 2-12 at Minnesota.
  • Darren Hazell is 1-9 in his career and 0-7 at Purdue.

While Kyle Flood needs to start winning games against ranked opponents, half the coaches in the conference have not been successful in that area either.  In fact, there is only one coach in the entire conference with a winning record against the top 25.

  • Urban Meyer is 29-12 in his career and 9-2 at Ohio State.  As I covered in my coaches hot seat post, no coach is more secure at their school than Urban Meyer.

Here is a breakdown of longest tenured Big Ten coaches and their records against the top 25:

  • Kirk Ferentz is 19-35 both in his career and at Iowa.
  • Pat Fitzgerald is 7-16 both in his career and at Northwestern.
  • Mark D'Antonio is 14-27 in his career and 12-20 at Michigan State.

The three most tenured coaches in the conference have a winning percentage between 30%-35% against the top 25 at their current schools.  This statistic gives perspective on how difficult it is for all programs and coaches to win against ranked opponents on a consistent basis.  The Wall Street Journal's chart highlights that only thirteen of the current sixty-three power five coaches have career winning records against ranked teams.

As for how the three new coaches have fared in their careers before the Big Ten, Jim Harbaugh is 6-6, Paul Chryst is 3-5 and Mike Riley is 14-42.

Winning against ranked opponents is an issue across the board for all Big Ten coaches minus Urban Meyer.  At a minimum, Rutgers needs to win their out of conference games plus winnable Big Ten games versus Indiana and Maryland.  However, in order for Rutgers to start climbing up the ladder and gain true respect from the Big Ten, Flood needs to beat a ranked conference opponent.

I thought this picture below taken from last week's media day and caption deserve a look and a good laugh.    Tip of the cap to the Rutgers Riot Squad for this tweet: