College Football 2023: The 10 Most Polarizing Coaches



The 2023 college football season officially began this past weekend. As fans wait for the full slate of games coming this weekend in Week 1, there are many storylines to keep fans entertained until then.

Coaching changes and coaches looking to make an impact are the focal point of many.

However, some coaches can never seem to really escape the spotlight.

Here are the ten most polarizing coaches in college football.

10. Brian Kelly – LSU

It takes a unique personality to take the leap of leaving a program like Notre Dame. Brian Kelly is that unique personality.

Coach Kelly flipped the college football world on its head when he decided to take his talents to Baton Rogue. With his fake southern accent, Kelly wasted little time in making an impact with the LSU Tigers.

The reigning SEC West champions are looking for more than just an appearance in the conference title game this season. Kelly could be just the guy to bring the Tigers back to the College Football Playoffs.

9. Hugh Freeze – Auburn

Auburn wasn’t afraid of rolling the dice when bringing in former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze. While Freeze is no stranger to the SEC, the former Ole Miss headman was fired after five seasons in Oxford after violating NCAA rules.

After a three-year absence from the game, Freeze returned as the head coach for the Liberty Flames. During his four years with the Flames, Freeze didn’t have one losing season.

Now, with his second chance on the big stage, Freeze is looking to prove he has always belonged in the SEC.

8. James Franklin – Penn State

At one time, it was hard to tell if Penn State head coach James Franklin was playing a character when he was on camera. However, by now, it seems to be proven that Franklin is the high-wired motivational speaker that is presented to the media.

Franklin has never been afraid to show his passion on the sideline. This is why the fans of the Nittany Lions are so loyal to their coach.

The program is looking for their first conference title under Franklin this season, as they have the talent to be in the conversation.

7. Kirby Smart – Georgia

Now, before I receive any hate, remember that this is a list of the most polarizing coaches in the sport. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has proven to be one of the best coaches in the country.

Since taking over the Bulldogs, Smart has turned the program into something similar to what fans see from that other dynasty down south.

Smart has never been afraid to voice his opinion, which could be one of the reasons top recruits want to be a part of the program in Athens.

6. Lane Kiffin – Ole Miss

Lane Kiffin’s life could easily be a box office hit. The Ole Miss head coach has had stops at many premier programs while also spending a stint in the NFL with the then-Oakland Raiders.

It seemed that Kiffin could never find the perfect fit, as his time with USC and Tennessee ended like an ugly divorce. However, it seems now that the man who runs the ‘Sip has finally found a place that he can call home.

5. Dabo Swinney – Clemson

Dabo Swinney has created a monster during his tenure with the Clemson Tigers. The Tigers have won two national titles under Swinney while appearing in the big on four separate occasions.

However, the ah-shucks attitude that Swinney brings to the sidelines can rub some fanbases the wrong way. Just like each coach on this list, Swinney brings a firey attitude to the field on game day.

However, sometimes, it is seen as unnecessary theatrics.

4. Jimbo Fisher – Texas A&M

Texas A&M made a massive splash when pulling Jimbo Fisher away from Flordia State back in 2018. However, since his arrival to College Station.

Fisher’s teams have yet to produce on the field like the university would have hoped. As things have continued to get worse each season, it doesn’t help when Fisher accuses the top coach in the SEC of being able to pay players more than the Aggies.

But A&M fans shouldn’t worry; Fisher has brought in Bobby Petrino to help fix the offensive woes. What could possibly go wrong?

3. Jim Harbaugh – Michigan

It wouldn’t be a list of polarizing coaches in college football without Jim Harbaugh.

Going back to his time as a head coach in the NFL, Harbaugh’s personality has been one that could easily clash with others. A famous handshake with Jim Schwartz after a 49ers-Lions game is forever in the lore of both fanbases.

Harbaugh is facing a four-game suspension to start the 2023 season. A suspension that will cause Harbaugh to miss all the so-called cupcake games on the Michigan schedule. It’s crazy how that works.

2. Deion Sanders – Colorado

There hasn’t been another coach in college football history to have as much pressure on them before their first season as Deion Sanders.

Sanders has the entire college football world looking at Colorado.

While it isn’t going to happen overnight, Sanders brings the right attitude to turn the program around. Sanders always knew he would be a Division 1 college football coach.

Now is the time for him to prove that his actions will match his words. “Prime Time” will be in full effect.

1. Nick Saban – Alabama

Ric Flair made the statement popular, but the quote can easily describe Alabama head coach Nick Saban: “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.”

Yes, Alabama has taken some tough losses. However, with Saban at the helm, the Crimson Tide can never be counted out. The seven-time national championship is the cream of the crop when it comes to college football royalty.

While Alabama missed the playoffs last season, something tells me a fire has been re-lit in the mind of coach Saban.

Watch out for the Tide in 2023.

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