CBS Sports ranks Kyle Whittingham as the best Big 12 coach in 2024

College football has undergone significant changes over the past decade that go beyond the transfer portal, conference realignment, or the expansion of the College Football Playoff.

The sport itself seems to have changed, and the annual coaches rankings are a clear example of that evolution. In the past, coaches rankings focused on their work in a Power Five conference, which has now become the Power Four due to recent realignment.

What has changed significantly is the criteria for evaluating coaches. There are no strict guidelines for rankings, which leads to varying interpretations. However, CBS Sports has found a way and based its rankings on what their coaching hotboards would look like if they themselves were athletic directors hiring new coaches, while others emphasize on-field performance. The complexity comes in determining which aspects of coaching should be prioritized given the numerous factors that come into play.

For example, should a coach's ability to recruit and develop high school talent be valued more highly than his success in the transfer portal? Is it more important to have a coach known for making smart in-game decisions or one who excels as a CEO who effectively leads and delegates tasks to his assistants?

Additionally, a coach's ability to unify the school in terms of name, image and likeness (NIL) and recruiting becomes increasingly important. In addition, the ability to retain players rather than attract them from other rosters becomes another layer of complexity. This diversity of perspectives ensures that the rankings reflect a wide range of priorities and considerations in the ever-evolving landscape of college football.

Utah's Kyle Whittingham has been named the Big 12's top coach for the 2024 football season. The third-longest-tenured head coach has held his position for the past twenty seasons. He's also been a staple of the program since arriving in Salt Lake City 30 years ago. Despite this, he was ranked sixth overall by CBS Sports.

Here's what they had to say about Whittingham. “Utah was picked to win the Big 12 in the league's preseason media poll released Tuesday. That's an incredible sign of respect for Kyle Whittingham, who is entering his 20th year on the job and has built the Utes into a consistent force in the sport. He'll have to compete with a new group of coaches this season in the Big 12, but Whittingham's program is such a machine that that shouldn't be a problem.”

Utah is considered the favorite to win the Big 12 in 2024. The Utes return eight starters on a defense that finished in the top 15 in total defense last season. It's hard to imagine the team not being able to compete for a national title one day. They will open the season against Southern Utah on August 29 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.