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Ranking the Top 5 Football Coaches in the ACC in 2013

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Top Football Coaches in the ACC in 2013

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Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

It’s a difficult task trying to rank the five best football coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference. For one, it’s hard to decide what criteria to use. Obviously, some coaches win more games than others, but, of course, the talent level at each school isn’t equal. So, using strictly wins and losses seems like it would be a flawed approach.

Another important factor in terms of determining the best coach is the ability to recruit and develop talent. Former University of Miami coach Randy Shannon brought in several strong recruiting classes, but was criticized for not developing that talent during their four or five years in Coral Gables. On the flip side, current coaches like Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech and Jim Grobe at Wake Forest almost never have nationally ranked recruiting classes. However, their teams are able to compete in the ACC because they are able to take two and three star recruits and coach ‘em up.

One other aspect that is hard to account for is the quality of the entire coaching staff. Should Dabo Swinney get a majority of the credit for Clemson’s recent success, or does he just have outstanding coordinators like offensive guru Chad Morris?

Ultimately, I think it’s easiest to judge coaches based on the entire product. Success, recruiting, player development, school image and so forth. Here’s a look at the top five coaches in the ACC heading into the 2013 football season.

B.L. is a college football writer for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @coachlip

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5.) Dabo Swinney, Clemson

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Josh Kelley- USA TODAY Sports

Dabo Swinney isn’t the brains behind the high-powered offense at Clemson, but he’s the face of the entire program. Under his watch, he’s led the Tigers to a 40-21 record. This year Swinney has the opportunity to take Clemson to another level, perhaps challenging for a national championship.

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4.) Al Golden, Miami

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Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

While Al Golden is only 13-11 in two years at Miami, that’s not bad considering the situation he came into. He’s not out of the woods yet, as the NCAA is still considering how to deal with the Nevin Shapiro situation, but he’s done a great job of recruiting quality players despite the difficult circumstances. Expect to see the Canes get better over the next few years.

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3.) Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech

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Kirby Lee- USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech has played in three ACC Championship games in the short time Paul Johnson has been in Atlanta. It’s also worth noting he’s had this great success while running an offense most said wouldn’t work in the ACC. He’s so familiar with his option offense that he doesn’t even use a call sheet to call plays. That’s very rare at the collegiate level.

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2.) Jimbo Fisher, Florida State

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Melina Vastola- USA TODAY Sports

Jimbo Fisher has returned Florida State to national prominence once again. He’s 31-10 in three years, including a BCS bowl victory this past year in the Orange Bowl. Seminole fans have been critical of the head-scratching losses that have occurred under Fisher, but that’s just nitpicking. He’s a fantastic recruiter and if he can take the Noles to the national title game, he’ll be a legend in Tallahassee.

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1.) Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech

coach
Greg Cooper- USA TODAY Sports

Frank Beamer is the longest tenured coach at Virginia Tech and has been a staple at the school for decades. He’s consistently won with what most recruiting experts would consider to be “lesser” players. The Hokies are rarely, if ever, ranked in the top 25 in recruiting. He’s gone toe to toe with schools in the Big East, and now the ACC, compiling 216 wins along the way. At this point, he’s the best coach in the ACC.