Choke Artist: Top Five Coaches Who Can't Win the Big One

Zach LoveladyCorrespondent IOctober 17, 2008

We have all heard the phrase, "Yeah, he is a great coach, BUT he just can't win the big one." Many have donned that line over the years, and a few have overcame it. I for one would say just this last week Mack Brown shed the monkey off his back with a win over rival Oklahoma.

That game alone really got me thinking how many coaches out there may have at one time seemed immortal, but as of late may have hoisted this furry friend to their shoulders.


1. Charlie Weis, Notre Dame

Year after year we see all the recruiting rankings come out, and year after year we see Notre Dame high atop those polls. Yet if you look out on the field, where are all the athletes?

To me this means one of two things: Ranking recruits is bogus, or Mr. Weis just can't coach. The Irish play a very soft schedule when you compare it to what other conference teams play, so I think Weis has to be No. 1. I mean, he has never won a bowl game.


2. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

Now I know "Big Game Bob" won it all in '01, but as of late it has been ugly. Stoops and the Sooners have been whacked in four of the last five bowls when they were favored in every one of them, not to mention the healthy spankin' he received in the Red River Rivalry. I think when you look at the last five years, Stoops has to be on this list.


3. Jim Tressel, Ohio State

OK, now let's be honest. I think Tressel is a great coach, but in '06 the Buckeyes were heavy favorites and got just absolutely run out of the building against Florida. 2007, OK, here you go just slipping in by default. What a chance to redeem yourself—and we got more of the same. Then the Buckeyes got dismantled by USC in '08.


4. Ron Zook, Illinois/Florida

This may surprise some of you when you compare "The Fighting Zooker" to the three above him, but when you look at what a great recruiter he is and the type of talent he gets (Note: '07 Florida Gators National Champs = Ron Zook's Recruits), he should have been able to dominate a subpar Big Ten the last couple of years.

Now he did beat OSU last year, and most of the nation called it a fluke, but when he got the chance to prove otherwise in the '07 Rose Bowl, he got crushed. Then in '08 he got handled by Missouri.


5. Bobby Bowden, Florida State

I hated to put this man's name in this article, but in the last five years Bowden is tearing down the house that he built. It is sad to see what would have most certainly been one the greatest coaches to ever walk the sidelines rewriting his legacy.

Bowden made his mark by building FSU into a dynasty, and he is going to leave it in tragedy. If you don't think so, just look at the '08 FSU-Miami game. Most of the country didn't even know it was on. Ten years ago that would have been ESPN primetime with College GameDay there.


If you notice one thing these coaches have in common, it is that they all are at big time programs and bring in big time recruits. It just goes to show you that at some point players have to be coached.