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Big 12 Week: Best coaches, hot seat, rising stars

Gary Patterson
Gary Patterson (Getty Images)

It’s Big 12 preview week. Here is a look at the league's best coaches, up and comers and more.


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BIG 12 WEEK: Top five MVP candidates

ACC WEEK: Top five MVP candidates | Five best position groups | Coach report | Players in need of bounceback seasons | Freshmen to watch | Sleepers | Predictions for each team | Impact transfers | NFL Draft prospects

SEC WEEK: Top five MVP candidates | Coach report | Five best position groups | Players needing bounceback seasons | Top true freshmen | Sleepers | Predictions for each team | Impact transfers | NFL Draft prospects

BIG TEN WEEK: Five MVP candidates in the Big Ten | Five best position groups | Coach report | Five players needing bounceback seasons | Freshmen to watch | Sleepers | Predictions for each team | Impact transfers | NFL Draft prospects

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TOP COACHES

1. Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma - Riley is one of, if not the top, offensive mind in college football. His quarterbacks put up ridiculous numbers year in and year out, and, after Alabama and Clemson, his Sooners make the playoff more than anyone else. He'll continue to get overtures from NFL teams wanting him to jump to the next level, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him to stay at OU for a very long time.

2. Matt Campbell, Iowa State - Few coaches consistently do more with less than Campbell, who's been nothing short of amazing at Iowa State in five seasons. He took over a squad that had gone a combined 8-28 in three prior seasons under Paul Rhoads. And after a first season where he had to completely reinvent the culture around the program, all he's done is go 32-19 over the past four years with four bowl appearances and put together a team that consistently gets better. This upcoming season marks the Cyclones best chance to break the 10-win mark for the first time in program history.

3. Gary Patterson, TCU - Patterson is the second-longest tenured coach in all of college football and he is nothing if not consistent. In 20 seasons at the helm of the Horned Frogs, he's gone 178-74, with 11 seasons with more than 10 victories. He's also proven to be adaptable - while he's known for his defense, TCU's offense has morphed into one of the more explosive units in a conference known for big numbers.

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COACHES ON THE HOT SEAT

Matt Wells
Matt Wells (Getty Images)

1. Matt Wells, Texas Tech - After coming over from Utah State, Matt Wells has completely underwhelmed in two years in Lubbock, with his teams finishing near the bottom of the conference in both seasons and having none of the explosive offenses that we had come to know and love from the Red Raiders. If they finish with a third-straight four-win season, there could be a lot of calls for his head.

2. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State - Has Gundy finally come to the end of his career at his alma mater? He's 2-14 in Bedlam, has one conference title in 16 years, and has yet to really get his teams over the hump despite having some great offenses. And we've begun to see a rift with some of his players over some of his off the field behavior. With all that said, he's still the school's best coach since Jimmy Johnson, has won 66-percent of his games, and hasn't had a losing season since his first year. While I don't think that he's gone in the very near future, the cracks are starting to form in the foundation.

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RISING STARS

Neal Brown
Neal Brown (Getty Images)

1. Chris Klieman, Kansas State - After a storied five seasons at North Dakota State University where he won four FCS national titles and went 69-6, he's already leaving a mark on Kansas State in taking over for the legendary Bill Snyder. His offense runs completely counter to the rest of the programs in the conference, prioritizing a physical run game and ball control, and he's starting to mold the program in his image.

2. Steve Sarkisian, Texas - After completing his full image and coaching philosophy rehabilitation at the Nick Saban Finishing School for Former Head Coaches, Sark takes over one of the most storied programs in college football with lots of expectations ahead of him. He's already killing it on the recruiting trail, and if the Alabama offense from last season is indication, his Longhorns teams should be able to put up big points.

3. Neal Brown, West Virginia - After turning around a Troy program that had faltered in its last few seasons under Larry Blakeney, Brown is starting to leave his mark on the Mountaineers. While the departure of some of their best defenders to the transfer portal is a bit concerning, Brown has done a great job of putting together a more balanced team than we had seen under the Dana Holgerson regime while still having a high octane offense.