You always here these names like Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Urban Meyer when talking about the best coaches in college football. But why isn’t Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell ever mentioned?
Fickell has done things that those coaches and others have not accomplished. Let’s compare Fickell to some other top head coaches.
Saban has coached in 25 bowl games between Michigan State, LSU, and Alabama, going 15-10 and winning 6 National Championships. But you know what he has NEVER done? Won back-to-back non-NY6 bowl games. At Alabama, all but 3 of his bowl appearances have been BCS/NY6. At LSU, he alternated between non-BCS and BCS for 5 years and went 0-3 at Michigan State in bowl games.
Fickell led Cincinnati to a win in the Military Bowl in 2018 and Birmingham Bowl in the 2019 season.
Since Fickell was hired at Cincinnati in 2017, he has gone unbeaten against ACC teams (2-0), which is not something that 2x National Championship coach Dabo Swinney can claim. Dabo and the Tigers lost to Syracuse in 2017, while the Bearcats have wins over Virginia Tech and Boston College in each of the last two seasons.
Both Fickell and Harbaugh are win-less against Ohio State in their head coaching careers. In 2019, Fickell’s defense held the Buckeyes to just 42 points, their 6th lowest scoring output of the season. Over the last two seasons, Harbaugh’s “defense” has allowed 62 and 56 points, respectively.
Kelly had an amazing career at Cincinnati, taking the Bearcats to back-to-back BCS bowl games, winning the Big East in both 2008 and 2009. His Bearcats went undefeated, 12-0, in 2009.
Technically, Kelly took over the team at the end of the 2006 season and coached them in their International Bowl victory. In 2007, Cincinnati’s 10-3 year was rewarded with a trip to the Papajohns.com Bowl, where they beat Southern Miss.
Fickell has 2 bowl wins in America, against power 5 teams, while Kelly won just 1 bowl game in America, and did it against fellow group of five programs.
Both Riley and Fickell were hired in 2017. Riley has been awesome at Oklahoma, since replacing Bob Stoops. The Sooners are 36-6 the last three years, but 0-3 in bowl games, while Fickell is 2-0.
It’s impossible to compare Fickell and Meyer. One of them was a winner in 2019, and the other was not.
Meyer chose to resign from Ohio State after the 2018 season, rather than face his alma mater in 2019. Fickell, on the other hand, showed heart and passion, by facing his alma mater and long-time employer.
Tik Tok is not a coach, it’s an app. And it’s one that you don’t see other college coaches using. But Fickell...well Fickell’s use of Tik Tok shows why he is no doubt, the best.