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Unpopular Opinion (apparently): Ryan Day is absolutely one of the 20 best college football coaches

Contrary to the unpopular opinion that some may have, even though he is just entering his third year on the job, Ryan Day is one of college football’s best head coaches.

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

All this week, LGHL writers will be bring you articles with their most unpopular opinions. Check out all of our Unpopular Opinions throughout the week HERE. Whether you disagree, let us know what you think in the comments below and on Twitter @Landgrant33.

It is “Unpopular Opinions Week” here at Land-Grant Holy Land, and while I am never short of hot takes, this unpopular opinion doesn’t come from me. Yesterday I saw one of the worst opinions on the internet, which is quite an accomplishment since these days the internet is just a constant barrage of one awful opinion after another.

PFF College’s bread and butter is having some sort of formula that gives players game grades or rankings that are completely asinine. Like you’ll see Justin Fields throw for 300 yards and six touchdowns while Michigan’s quarterback will throw for 7 yards, two interceptions, and a touchdown. Somehow PFF will say that Michigan’s quarterback had the most impact of any Big Ten quarterback over the weekend, while Fields will be ranked eighth.

I’m almost convinced that PFF does this just so they can shock people so much with how idiotic these things are, but they don’t care just so long as they get the interactions. If that’s their goal, I’ve been a victim to the chum they’ve thrown in the water numerous times in the past. However, what I saw yesterday just might take the cake.

Now apparently there was some sort of criteria that was a part of ranking the 20 best college football coaches, but since the criteria was never revealed, it doesn’t really help to explain just how this terrible list was compiled. It sounds like that because Ryan Day has only been a head coach for two years that he wasn’t considered for the top-20.

Apparently those same rules don’t apply for Jamey Chadwell, who has been permanent head coach at Coastal Carolina for two years. While Chadwell was interim coach for a year as well as an FCS head coach in the past, you can’t tell me with a straight face that Chadwell should be included as a top-20 coach and Day shouldn’t based on those reasons alone. Don’t forget, Day was an interim head coach before taking over as well.

Chadwell has done an incredible job with Coastal Carolina in their short time as an FBS school, but if any athletic director had the choice between Chadwell and Day, they are taking Day every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

The list isn’t all bad! Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney as the first two on the list is absolutely correct. Then again, anyone who has an even elementary understanding of college football should be able to put those two at the top of the list. The next three are definitely deserving of being mentioned among the best college football coaches, yet I can’t see any reason why Day would be ranked behind them.

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Baylor v Georgia Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Kirby Smart has definitely restored Georgia to the conversation of national powerhouses. The problem is Kirby can’t stop getting in his own way. Not only did Smart make a very dumb decision when he sided with Jake Fromm and let Fields transfer out of Georgia, the Bulldogs also can’t seem to win the big game. The only real marquee win for Georgia came at the expense of the next coach on the list.

Lincoln Riley has amassed quite a collection of talent in Norman, but Oklahoma has the same problem as Georgia. They can’t win big games. In Riley’s first three years as Oklahoma head coach, the Sooners lost in the College Football Playoff semifinals. I mean, if you want your team to inexplicably lose a game during the year and then lose in the CFP semifinals, then Lincoln Riley is your guy. Furthermore, I just can’t trust a head coach who thinks this is acceptable brisket.

I’m not going to go through every coach in the top-20 since we’d be here all day, so, you’re welcome. But, there are a couple of other ones that stand out to me.

Including Lance Leipold at nine on the list is probably the biggest farce. I grew up near Buffalo so I’m familiar with what Leipold did with the Bulls, as well as in Division III. Leipold has only been at Kansas for five minutes though. A lot of people were singing Turner Gill’s praises when he went to Kansas from Buffalo and that didn’t exactly work out.

Could somebody remind me of what Day’s record against sixth-ranked Pat Fitzgerald and 18th ranked James Franklin is? Nobody does more with less than Fitzgerald, nobody is denying that. Fitzgerald is 0-8 against Ohio State though, while Day is 2-0 against Northwestern. You can’t tell me that Fitzgerald and Franklin (who is also 0-2 against Ryan Day) are better coaches than Day.

There’s a lot of questions about if Day is winning because he is coaching with guys that Urban Meyer recruited. Well, Day has been doing quite alright on the recruiting trail since taking over for Meyer. Soon enough those that are wanting to discredit what Day is doing are going to have to find a new narrative to spin.

The expectations at Ohio State are sky-high and so far Day has met all of those expectations. The only reason we aren’t talking about Ohio State making two straight CFP title games is because the officials in 2019 made up the rules as the game went on. 2020 might have been even more impressive for Day since he had to navigate the Big Ten almost not even having a season, and then numerous COVID outbreaks with teams on Ohio State’s schedule, and then on his own. Any normal head coach likely would have lost a few games, yet somehow Day got the Buckeyes to the title game.

While some people apparently need some more convincing, I’ve seen enough. Day still hasn’t lost a regular season game, and is 23-2 so far at Ohio State. Now that we are seeing more and more of Day’s recruits take the field, expect for the head coach to start getting more of the credit that he rightly deserves as he leads Ohio State on another run to the playoff.