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Pat Narduzzi ranked 6th out of ACC coaches by CBS Sports

Pitt coach’s ranking does not change from 2022 list.

2021 ACC Championship - Pittsburgh v Wake Forest Photo by Logan Whitton/Getty Images

Each year the folks at CBS Sports release a ranking of all the P5 football coaches. Despite another successful season, Narduzzi did not move up in the rankings, staying at number 6. Here’s what they had to say:

Pat Narduzzi (29 overall): Narduzzi lost a Heisman finalist at quarterback, had to cycle through signal-callers due to various injury issues in 2022 and still managed to win eight regular-season games — including a bowl victory over UCLA. This came a year after he led the Panthers to their first ACC championship in program history and first New Year’s Six bowl appearance since 2004. Narduzzi has just one losing season on his ledger as Pitt’s head coach. Last year: 6 in the ACC”

The full 2023 rankings in the ACC are as follows:

  1. Dabo Swinney - Clemson (3rd overall)
  2. Dave Clawson - Wake Forest (15th)
  3. Mike Norvell - Florida State (19th)
  4. Mack Brown - UNC (22nd)
  5. Dave Doeren - NC State (25th)
  6. Pat Narduzzi - Pitt (29th)
  7. Jeff Brohm - Louisville (33rd)
  8. Mario Cristobal - Miami (39th)
  9. Mike Elko - Duke (44th)
  10. Dino Babers - Syracuse (53rd)
  11. Jeff Hafley - Boston College (60th)
  12. Brent Key - Georgia Tech (63rd)
  13. Tony Elliott - Virginia (66th)
  14. Brent Pry - Virginia Tech (67th)

The only significant change in the voting was Norvell made a big jump after FSU’s 10 win season, and Cristobal fell after Miami’s disappointing campaign.

Sports fans love to rank things, and power rankings and polls posts are always high traffic. I was curious about how CBS put together these rankings from year to year to try and see if any patterns emerged. I’m sure the voters have changed over the years, but the only significant thing they mentioned is that generally unproven and first year head coaches are put near the bottom. I went back and looked at their lists for the past 9 seasons and here are Narduzzi’s overall rankings.

2015 - 63rd

2016 - 40th

2017 - 43rd

2018 - 51st

2019 - 46th

2020 - 40th

2021 - 31st

2022 - 27th

2023 - 29th

Despite being the most consistent non-Clemson program in the ACC, Narduzzi has yet to break into the top 5 in the conference. This is the third consecutive season they have him at number 6. I wanted to see how the rankings change so I looked at the last five specifically. Here is a table of the polls. The team record in each cell reflects their record that year to see how their rankings played out that season. If the cell is highlighted in green, their ranking rose from the previous season, red, they fell, gray it was the same. I also used green if an incoming coach was ranked higher than the previous coach and vice versa.

Some highlights:

  • In 2019 Mack Brown went 7-6 and moved up 5 spots
  • Narduzzi won the ACC championship by 24 points and did not move in the rankings the next season
  • Louisville went 6-7 in 2021 and moved up 3 spots
  • Wake Forest went 4-5 in 2020 and moved up 3 spots
  • Over the past 5 seasons (2023 has no data though obviously) 28 coaches have been placed higher than Narduzzi in a season’s ranking. He’s led Pitt to a better record the following season than 19 of them and had identical records with 4. Removing Dabo, only twice has an ACC coach been ranked higher than Narduzzi and backed it up that season. Mack Brown went 8-4 to Pitt’s 6-5 in 2020 and Bronco Mendenhall went 9-5 to Pitt’s 8-5 in 2019.

In general, voters seem to reward coaches having success at lesser-known programs (e.g. Clawson) but they also reward coaches at name-brand schools for having one good season (e.g. Norvell). Pitt doesn’t fit into either of those categories so their consistency is ignored.

Oh well. They’ll just keep stacking ACC wins, year after year.

Hail to Pitt.