I recently had an interesting discussion with several fans of college football and college basketball. I was sitting at The Broken Egg in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, when the topic of best coaching duos in the major college sports came up.
There are a number of schools enjoying success in both football and basketball, and having success in both programs is special. Now that the gridiron season is under way, here are my dazzling dozen coaching tandems. I know there are a number of outstanding tandems that are left off of this list. I went through about 25 tandems before settling on my dazzling dozen, and it was not easy.
I know that this will lead to strong disagreements on some of my choices, but that is the fun part of sports. We can debate back and forth, baby!
1. Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Dantonio has a big game against Oregon this weekend. He has done a super job with the Spartans, and Izzo's a consistent winner with six trips to the Final Four.
2. Thad Matta and Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Matta has been a Final Four coach and Meyer has his Buckeyes in the national championship picture every year. Meyer has had great success at every school at which he has worked.
3. Mike Krzyzewski and David Cutcliffe, Duke
Coach K has his national championship rings. In 2013, Cutcliffe guided the Blue Devils to a school-record 10 wins, including the ACC Coastal Division championship.
4. Lon Kruger and Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Kruger has taken five different schools to the Big Dance. Stoops is the school's all-time winningest coach; he has led the Sooners to a school-record 15 consecutive bowl berths and eight Big 12 titles.
5. Rick Pitino and Bobby Petrino, Louisville
Pitino is a Hall of Famer and national champion. Petrino is back with the Cardinals and off to a good start after beating Miami on Monday.
6. Steve Alford and Jim Mora Jr., UCLA
Mora Jr. and Alford have the fans buzzing in Westwood. Alford guided UCLA to a 28-9 overall record and an appearance in the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 in his first season with the Bruins.
7. Mike Brey and Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Both have been consistent winners in South Bend. Kelly had the Irish playing for the national title a few years back.
8. Leonard Hamilton and Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
It helps to win a national championship, as Fisher did last season. The Seminoles are No. 1 in football right now. Hamilton has posted seven 20-plus win seasons over the past nine years in Tallahassee.
9. Bo Ryan and Gary Andersen, Wisconsin
Andersen has not been in Madison that long, but he has had an impact already. Ryan has a top-five team for the 2014-15 campaign.
10. Rick Barnes and Charlie Strong, Texas
Barnes rebounded and got the Longhorns back in the Big Dance last season. Strong is making some noise down in Austin and has a bright future.
11. Jim Larranaga and Al Golden, Miami
These guys have brought stability to an athletic program which suffered through some tumultuous times.
12. Billy Donovan and Will Muschamp, Florida
Donovan is a future Hall of Famer. Look at Muschamp's overall body of work; the Gators may surprise a few people this season.