As the dawn of the 2017 college football season approaches and the ink dries on the new contract signed by Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, let's take a little deeper look at the coaching landscape in the ACC.
It's pretty clear Swinney is the top dog. After that…
14. Steve Addazio, Boston College
Addazio would rank higher in most other conferences with his 24-27 record at B.C. If he can figure out how to win more conference games, he'll start jumping up this list as the Eagles are just 10-22 in ACC play under Addazio.
13. Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia
He's been at UVA just the one year but it was a rough season at 2-10 that incliuded seven straight losses. He was 99-43 at BYU and it will take a few years to turn the Cavs around but until he shows he can do it in the ACC, he ranks near the bottom in a very good conference of coaches.
12. Dino Babers, Syracuse
Babers has a lotof helium and despite a 4-8 record in Year 1 there's optimism in the 'Cuse. Quarterback Eric Dungey got hurt late or Babers had a chance to be bowl eligible.
11. Dave Doeren, North Carolina State
Doeren may not have the upside of Mendenhall and Babers but he's 2-1 in bowl games and has gone 8-5, 7-6 and 7-6 since a 3-9 Year 1.
10. Dave Clawson, Wake Forest
Wake Forest is a traditional basketball school but Clawson's rebuild took a turn in the right direction for the football program in 2016 — 6-18 the first two seasons but 7-6 a year ago.
9. Larry Fedora, North Carolina
Fedora's chops will be tested with a second wave of recruiting after 19 wins the past two seasons.
8. Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh
Narduzzi is 16-10 in two seasons at Pitt, including 11-5 in conference play. Look at that again: 11-5 in conference play in two seasons in a conference with Clemson, Florida State, Louisville, Miami and Virginia Tech. Narduzzi can coach.
7. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech
It's a gimmick offense but not a gimmick coaching performance and winning isn't new to Johnson who's 70-48 at Tech. He's won everywhere, including Navy (45-29) and Georgia Southern (62-10).
6. David Cutcliffe, Duke
At a ridiculously difficult school at which to coach football, Cutcliffe has stabilized the program the past five seasons. They struggled a year ago but there's a great shot Cutcliffe turns it around this year with the returning talent that includes QB Daniel Jones.
5. Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
Fuente is entering Year 2 after going 6-2 in the conference and 10-4 overall in 2016, including a bowl win. This after Frank Beamer's final season resulted in a 7-6 campaign.
4. Bobby Petrino, Louisville
Louisville has flourished under Petrino — both stints — and there's no end in sight. Say what you will about Petrino but he can coach the college game and the move to the ACC hasn't hurt — 26-13 in three seasons as an ACC member.
3. Mark Richt, Miami
Richt is among the elites int he conference, getting the 'Canes back to 9-4 a year ago after a long run at Georgia. He's known for his work with QBs and if that comes to fruition at Miami we might see the swagger back at South Beach.
2. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Fisher took over for Bobby Bowden and the train hasn't slowed a bit. The Seminoles won a national title and have been among the top 10 teams in the country consistently under Fisher with a chance to have a special 2017.
1. Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Swinney hasn't been at it for as long as Fisher but he's one of the Top 5 coaches in the country, proving it last year when his Tigers returned to the title game and upset Alabama. He recruits with anyone in the country and now has proven his preparation and game decisions belong near the top, too.
Enjoy Dabo for the next eight years, Clemson. He's among the very best in college football.