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OTE's Big Ten Coach of the Year: Kirk Ferentz, Iowa

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Ferentz wins, Dantonio second

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

What should be the criteria for OTE's B1G Coach of the Year?

Ray Ransom: Not wearing Khakis

Jesse Collins: Wait, we're giving a CotY award out? I mean, obviously puntability has to be a huge criteria. Perhaps we also have manballness? Is ‘deals with the cold' in play? I'm really not good at criteria, but my awards would be awesome.

Stew: I hate this because there are different pretty valid criteria, and no one will use the same.  Tressel never won one, Urbz hasn't won one, this is dumb.  Ultimately, I think performance has to be the biggest factor, though I do think that you have to grade on a bit of a curve, it's simply harder to win at different places.  I think that curve only goes so far, though.  An undefeated season should probably trump all, no matter the school.  Maybe a game or two difference depending on the school is all I'd be willing to give.

MNW: I determine "Coach of the Year" with a secret formula. It's like FPI, but more legit. The criteria (weighted different, exact proportions classified under operation Nunya):

Not named "Urban Meyer"

Performance in cold weather

Not employed in the state of Wisconsin

Is Dennis Green

Thomas Speth: Mine personally is "What did you do relative to your expectations." This gets tricky because you can wildly exceed expectations pre season but at the end of the day, was it really that impressive? I mean is what Captain Kirk did more impressive than Dantonio just because Michigan State was actually supposed to be good? Kirk didn't lose his defensive coordinator.

LPW: Biggest turnaround or achievement

Al Namias IV: The trick is it's not only doing the most with what you have, but also getting and developing what you have. This has been the issue with Ferentz the past few years. Iowa has still been talented; they've still put plenty of players into the NFL, relative to most B1G teams not named Ohio State. Yet they have done relatively poorly. Meanwhile, as Stew noted, Tressel and Urban have never won won, because it's assumed OSU has talent. But then again, so does Texas and look at that mess. Lastly, Jerry Kill won it last year, not so much because of a huge winning record (8-4) or a substantial difference between expectations and results (I think most figured Minny for 6-6), but because, over the course of a recruiting cycle, he had done some impressive things with a program that had been in the dumps. In short, the criteria for OTE's B1G Coach of the Year should be a combination of winning and exceeding expectations. I'm not into the lifetime achievement element.

Creighton: Hard to disagree with the notion that it should go to the biggest turnaround, or whoever accomplishes the most with the least to work with. You can argue that it's not fair because it stacks the deck against the likes of Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh, but I would trade in all 4 of Kirk Ferentz's B1G COTY awards for the best players and being the referees' favorite team every single year. It's an award for coaching, not an award for recruiting.

WSR: It needs to be either spectacularly exceeding expectations or being salting Carthage dominant.  For example, to beat what Ferentz accomplished this year you need somebody to be 1994 Penn State., 1995 Nebraska, or 2001 Miami.

Thumpasaurus: Stability. Not being Tim Beckman. A coach who is able to prepare his team so that the opening offensive drive looks good. Steadfast refusal to attempt running the ball unless it's 3rd and 7. Never being afraid to take timeouts in the first and third quarter. Really wanting to be here.

Townie: Hmm, I think COTY is more nuanced than just simple criteria. It's like porn...I can't really tell you what it is, but I know it when I see it.

Brian: Performance, but weighed against talent level and/or expectations.

...

Who is your B1G Coach of the Year?

RR: Anyone but Har-Har-Pants.

Stew: Ferentz, though Dantonio is a close 2nd (Urbz 3rd).  12-0, is 12-0.  There's certainly some homersota here, and I wouldn't be mad at anyone that picked Dantonio.

(Except Farentz isn't 12-0 ... he's 12-1)

Jesse: Dillybar Dan... wait, that was last year. Um, I guess Ferentz? Yeah, it kind of has to be him. Although, huge ups to Tim Beckman for getting fired before he even got a chance to be fired. There has got to be an award out there for him.

Speth: Paul Chryst. Leading a team on its third coach in 5 years with a Joel Stave at QB to 9 wins is a miracle. /trollface Seriously though, it's Dantonio. You aren't supposed to lose your defensive coordinator and end up winning the Big Ten. Fuck Iowa. Shouldn't have let MSU manball you to death in the 4th quarter.

LPW: Kirk Ferentz. There's no way in hell I thought he would have the year he did.

Al Namias IV: Ferentz, though I wouldn't blame anybody for picking Dantonio.

MNW: Jesse's got it. Dilly Dean Bar Bar Dan or get the fuck out.

...but Dennis Green was a close second.

Creighton: I don't think you can make a logical argument for anyone but Kirk Ferentz. Dantonio was supposed to beat pretty much everyone except Ohio State. Ferentz was supposed to have a ceiling of 7-6. I would put Fitzgerald 2nd and Dantonio 3rd.

WSR: Yeah, it's Ferentz.

Thumpasaurus: Bill Cubit. Not only did Illinois lead the conference in stability, but Wes Lunt led all Big Ten quarterbacks in pass attempts by a significant margin. As "attempt" and "try" are synonyms, this means Illinois tried more than anyone to pass the ball. They tried harder than anyone in the conference to pass, and how could you not give it to the coach who got his team to try more than anyone in a measurable way? Also, we paid our offensive coordinator $80,000, so not only is Cubit a motivator but he is frugal as it gets. Northwestern got their OC from the Armani store; we got ours from the 80% off clearance rack at Kohl's, and they don't really look much better on offense. Look at how much he saved!

Townie: It has to be Ferentz. This is a guy who many folks thought was on the hot seat. Over the past four years, he's been mediocre at best. From 2010 to 2014, Iowa averaged 6.8 wins per season. That was fourth in the division...which sucks. Being mediocre in bumfuck egypt makes recruiting top kids tough to impossible...

"Hey five-star quarterback,come play out in the boonies. You can look forward to losing in Madison and Lincoln twice in your tenure. For fun, we'll go cow-tipping..."

Given that he's geographically challenged, his record sucked, and his fans were either ambivalent or actively hostile, I have to give Coach of the Year to Kirk Ferentz.

MNW: Jesse's got it. Dilly Dean Bar Bar Dan or get the fuck out.

Brian: 1. Dantonio 2. Ferentz 3. Harbaugh

...

Give me an example, either a specific game or drive that supports your choice for B1G Coach of the Year.

RR: Fuck Har-Har-Pants.

Jesse: Has anyone figured out why Ferentz wanted to murder a guy in the Nebraska game? I'm still confused about that. To be fair, I also haven't followed up on that.

Stew:  I don't think it was anything actually done in game.  I think in game management is generally one of Ferentz's biggest weak points. It was all the offseason preparation and changes he implemented that made the biggest differences.  Change from afternoon to morning practice, going with Beathard over Rudock, switching the off day, moving Brian Ferentz to running game coordinator.

To Jesse, the big play that UNL had prior to Ferentz exploding was an illegal formation.  The TE was covered up and shouldn't have been an eligible receiver.

Speth: The most B1G drive ever. 22 plays. 9 minutes 4 seconds. 82 yards. Being the head coach of a team that makes a drive like that automatically makes you the COY around here. Winning the conference is icing on the cake.

Al Namias IV: Iowa scored in the final two minutes of the half or game in something like 11 out of 12 games. This says a great deal about a KF who has a notorious track record, even in good years, for giving up on the last two minutes. And it is indicative of the changes Ferentz made within his program.

MNWhttp://i.imgur.com/tHg2TuB.gif

Creighton: I can't point to a single defining moment from Kirk Ferentz, because they were so dominant for most of the year. Before playing Michigan State on December 5, Iowa hadn't trailed in a game since October 10. The only thing better than making a gutsy call to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat is to never put yourself in a position to have to make those calls.

WSR: When Iowa escaped Illinois State, then escaped Iowa State, then escaped Pitt, then escaped North Texas, then escaped wisconsin, then escaped Illinois, then escaped justNorthwestern, then escaped bye, then escaped Maryland, then escaped Indiana, then survived Minnesota, then escaped Purdue, and then escaped Nebraska.  That was when Ferentz solidified his COTY in my eyes.

Thumpasaurus: Bill Cubit's team raced out to a 20-7 halftime lead after coming up with interceptions on consecutive drives and turning both into touchdown passes (the latter of which featuring an incredible toe-tapping catch in the end zone). After holding their own against a resurgent offense in the second half and chewing up clock, Cubit's squad got a crucial 4th down stop to win 23-17 to go to 8-2 on the season. Illinois left Ford Field at 5-5 after their supposedly high-powered offense scored 17 points against Western Michigan. Bill Cubit's WMU Broncos ran a balanced offensive attack and their bend-but-don't-break defense did just enough coming up with two picks; special teams chipped in, making both extra points and three field goals. The moral of the story: Bill Cubit first caused Illinois to miss a bowl seven years ago, so he's uniquely qualified to cause them to miss a bowl in the present and the future. That's the kind of stability a Ferentz or a Dantonio just can't provide.

Townie: October 17, 2015 in Evanston, Illinois. Iowa has to play a nationally ranked Northwestern Team coming off some big wins against Stanford and Duke...both Bowl Caliber teams. Northwestern boasts a stifling defense that only allowed 7 points per game average through its first five games.

Iowa took them to the woodshed.

That's when I knew Kirk Ferentz was rolling. Up to that point, Iowa's "best" win was against a Pitt team that was more mouth than substance. However, after the Northwestern game, it was clear that Iowa could run the table in the West.

Brian: It's easy to point to the slugfest in Columbus as a defining game for Dantonio, but I'll give you a defining play instead.  After arguably being out-coached for the first 59-plus minutes in Ann Arbor (scoff all you want, but Michigan State boasts a better offensive line, a better defensive front seven, better running backs and a better quarterback, yet Michigan did enough to be in a position to beat the Spartans), Dantonio turned the tables in a big way on the game's final play. Dantonio appreciated the gravity of the situation and went all in.  He scrapped fielding a returner and reminded his charges that they absolutely had to get to the kicker - roughing penalty be damned.  Michigan played the final play as if it was the punting version of the victory formation.  Dantonio 1, Harbaugh 0.