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NCAA Football

Top 5 College Football Coach of the Year Candidates

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5 Coach of the Year Candidates

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Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2013 college football season begins to wind down, it’s time to start considering who among the myriad of head coaches in the sport are worthy of consideration for the Coach of the Year Award. Last year’s recipient, Brian Kelly of the University of Notre Dame, is most likely not going to be on anyone’s short list this year. The race is wide open, actually.

Many years the recipient of the award has been a coach that has been recently hired by a school and worked to turn the program around in a remarkably short amount of time. There are several potential candidates that fit that bill for this season.

Other times the Coach of the Year award has gone to a coach who has simply been able to sustain success year after year. There are some candidates out there who have been toiling in ambiguity as far as the national scene is concerned who would be well deserving of some accolades for their consistent winning ways.

Some years the award is simply given to the coach whose team won the national championship that season. There’s no reason to believe that couldn’t be a possibility again this year, but we’ll have to wait for January to find out for sure either way.

Here are five candidates that based on their recent work should be on the short list for Coach of the Year. It’s by no means comprehensive and completely up for debate. Review the list and comment with your thoughts.

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5. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Fisher has returned the Seminole football program to the glory of the Bobby Bowden days, making Florida State a perennial winner again.

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4. Mark Helfrich, Oregon

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Steve Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Helfrich has been with the Ducks for years as a coordinator and has stepped into the role vacated by current Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. Oregon hasn't missed a beat under Helfrich and is arguably better than they were last year.

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3. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech

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John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Raiders' coach has made them the pleasant surprise of the Big 12 this season, definitely getting Texas Tech into the Fiesta Bowl conversation.

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2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State

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Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Buckeyes have won 21 consecutive games since he has taken over as head coach, despite reduced scholarships and other sanctions imposed upon the program because of the actions of students during Jim Tressel's tenure.

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1. Gary Pinkel, Missouri

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Pinkel has taken the Tigers into the SEC and in just their second year in the conference has them contending for a SEC East title.