Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

Each year since 2016, we here at CBS Sports have ranked the Power Five college football coaches in an effort to create a pecking order for one of the most important coaching jobs in sports entering the upcoming season. While coaches are integral to every team, college coaches are tasked with so many facets of the organization beyond simply their team's play on the field.

Typically, as we undergo this process, identifying the top 5-10 coaches is relatively simple. After that, though, it becomes a matter of personal preference. And as the process further unfolds outside the top 25, it's the Wild West.

While I cannot speak for our entire panel of voters, when it comes to my personal ballot, the difference between coaches ranked No. 21 and No. 40 is minimal. A couple of losses here or there can make a world of difference, as could the coach's preferred style of play.

But this is college football. When we rank things, we need to separate the top 25 from everything else. And while that number, 25, may be arbitrary, it's become the de facto figure for rankings in college sports.

Seven of this year's top 10 coaches come from the Big Ten or SEC. The Pac-12 (two) and ACC (one) make up the rest of the highest tier. The Big Ten and SEC also account for more than half the coaches on the entire top 25 list (13) as the SEC leads the way with seven total.

Is this an accurate reflection of the coaches or bias toward certain leagues? The top 10 may have some bias, but it primarily reflects what the coaches have accomplished and will likely continue to accomplish. After that? Well, I'll share my thoughts as we go along, and I'll let you form yours independently.

While these are the rankings created by our team, I was tasked with explaining the positioning. In other words: Don't blame the messenger. Also, don't forget to check out the Power Five coaches ranked 69-26.

Top 25 Power Five coaches
Dave Doeren: Like the man himself, Doeren's ranking is consistent. Aside from the 2019 season when NC State went 4-8, Doeren's Wolfpack teams have won 8-9 games every season, though they've only finished two of those years ranked in the AP Top 25. If the trend continues, Doeren will become the all-time winningest coach in program history, passing Earle Edwards' 77 wins. Edwards needed 17 years to get there. Doeren's at 72 entering his 11th season. 2022 rank: 25 (E)
PJ Fleck: There are two types of people in the world: those drawn to Fleck's personality and those turned off by it. No matter where you slot, both sides have to admire the results he's achieved. Fleck's Minnesota teams have won 24 Big Ten games over the last five seasons. Only Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, Penn State and Wisconsin have won more. He's raised the floor of the program and brought the kind of stability Minnesota hasn't seen in 20 years. He drops a spot this year, but that's less a reflection of Fleck's performance and more because of a coach ahead of him on this list who wasn't eligible last year. 2022 rank: 23 (-1)
Lance Leipold: Seriously, what else needs to be said about Leipold other than he had Kansas ranked last season? The Jayhawks started 5-0, and while they had a rough finish to the season to end up 6-7, those six wins are more than KU have compiled in any season since Mark Mangino went 8-5 in 2008. Leipold built a program from essentially nothing at Buffalo and appears to be on the way to doing the same thing in Lawrence, Kansas. 2022 rank: 42 (+19)
Mack Brown: I have a hard time figuring out what to do with Brown. He deserves respect for winning a national title at Texas, and while the end there wasn't great, things have only gotten worse since he left. That said, I don't know if I'm all that impressed by his second stint with the Tar Heels. His struggles to find a defensive coordinator have put a ceiling on what his UNC teams have been able to accomplish. 2022 rank: 20 (-2)
Bret Bielema: Last year, I said Bielema wasn't getting much credit for his conference titles at Wisconsin when he finished 38th and joked that winning three Big Ten titles at Illinois would catapult him into the top 10 and going to back-to-back bowls would get him in the top 25. It turns out he only needed one bowl appearance. Illinois was one of the biggest surprises of the 2022 season, and my fellow voters are now more convinced that Bielema hasn't forgotten what it takes to be competitive in the Big Ten. 2022 rank: 38 (+17)
Jimbo Fisher: That national title Fisher won at Florida State no longer carries him in these rankings. While I can't speak for everyone else, I know Jimbo fell in my rankings because of his refusal to adjust. He still recruits well, but while other coaches like Nick Saban have adapted to changes in the sport, Jimbo keeps trying to pound square pegs into round holes with his offense. Maybe hiring Bobby Petrino means he's finally adapting, or maybe it'll be the same old Jimbo. We could see him climb to the top 10 quickly if it's the former ... but if it isn't? 2022 rank: 5 (-15)
Mike Norvell: I'm sure there aren't any fans out there who will take note of where Norvell is ranked in relation to another former Florida State coach. Norvell made the biggest jump of any coach this year, climbing 28 spots from No. 47 to No. 19. Feels like too big of a jump for me, considering he's only had one winning season at FSU, but I get why people are hyped. I know I'm high on the Seminoles in 2023, but I need to see Norvell do it two seasons in a row before buying in fully. 2022 rank: 47 (+28)
Mark Stoops: It's a sign of the respect Stoops has garnered for what he's done at Kentucky that he only dropped two spots after a step back last season. Not much went to plan for the Wildcats as a bad offensive line led to a struggle to reach 7-6. Seeing how things shake out in 2023 now that Tennessee is on an upward trajectory will be interesting. 2022 rank: 16 (-2)
Mike Gundy: Oklahoma State finished with a 7-6 record last year, tied for the Cowboys' worst since Gundy took over in 2005. That's a testament to how strong of a program Gundy has built in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and he has the track record that buys him some benefit of the doubt. After all, the last three times his teams went 7-6, he followed it up with an average of nine wins the next year. 2022 rank: 10 (-7)
Josh Heupel: It felt like 1998 in Knoxville last year as Tennessee's football program finally seemed to wake up from a long slumber. The Volunteers reached No. 2 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2001 and beat Alabama for the first time since 2006. Heupel's 18 wins in his first two seasons are more than Jeremy Pruitt had in his three at the helm (16). Thank the football gods for NCAA violations! 2022 rank: 33 (+17)
Dave Clawson: Clawson is 59-53 in nine seasons at Wake Forest, an impressive record for any coach leading the Demon Deacons. What makes it more impressive is that if you remove his first two seasons, Clawson's teams have gone 53-35 over the last seven. Wake Forest took a step back from 11 wins in 2021, but the 2022 season was only the 10th time in program history the Deacons won at least eight games. Clawson's been there for four of them. 2022 rank: 17 (+2)
Lane Kiffin: Now this is a ranking I don't understand at all. I had Kiffin at No. 27 on my ballot, but he climbs four spots from No. 18 to No. 14 this season despite the fact that his Ole Miss team won two fewer games in 2022 than 2021. That includes a 1-5 stretch to finish the season after a 7-0 start. I would have no problem if Kiffin remained in the top 20, but somebody needs to explain to me, like I'm a 5-year-old, what Kiffin did last year to warrant a four-spot climb. [Editor's note: There was a significant separation in voting points between No. 13 and the rest of the top 25.] 2022 rank: 18 (+4)
Chip Kelly: Here's another coach who took a giant leap forward that I don't quite understand. Don't get me wrong, I had Kelly at No. 18 on my ballot, as I've always rated him highly. I just want to know what happened among my fellow voters. The Bruins went 9-4 last year, a slight improvement on the 8-4 finish in 2021. How was that worth 15 spots? 2022 rank: 28 (+15)
Chris Klieman: Winning your conference warrants a giant leap forward, which is what Klieman did after Kansas State won the Big 12 last season. The Wildcats played spoiler, avenging their regular-season loss to TCU by denying the Horned Frogs a perfect season. Any time you're replacing a legend at a school, there's concern you'll never emerge from their shadow, but the steady build Kansas State has made under Klieman has to have Wildcats fans feeling great about where this program stands with the Big 12 on the precipice of a new age. 2022 rank: 31 (+19)
Sonny Dykes: He didn't win the Big 12, but reaching the College Football Playoff National Championship will do wonders for your ranking. TCU was the Cinderella story of the 2022 season, going undefeated in the regular season before pulling off an upset of Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal. Sure, the championship was a mess, but Dykes got TCU to the national title game. That's one helluva introduction. 2022 rank: 35 (+24)
James Franklin: Franklin had been a consistent top-10 finisher in the rankings for years but fell to No. 15 last year after down seasons in 2020-21. He quickly recovered thanks to an 11-2 record and a Rose Bowl win last year. One can only wonder what may happen once Penn State gets out of the same division as Ohio State and Michigan when the Big Ten adds USC and UCLA in 2024. 2022 rank: 15 (+5)
Luke Fickell: No coach in the history of these rankings has made their debut in the top 10, but if anybody was going to do so, it would be Fickell. He'd have been here this year, whether he'd remained at Cincinnati or left for Wisconsin. He's the only coach to take a Group of Five program to the College Football Playoff, and now he's returned to the Big Ten hoping to do the same for the Badgers. 2022 rank: n/a
Ryan Day: I don't want to keep harping on this, but let's compare results. Day failed to win the Big Ten for the second straight season but led Ohio State to the CFP for the third time in his four seasons, nearly knocking off Georgia in the Peach Bowl semifinal. And he falls two spots. Make it make sense! Anyway, while not winning the Big Ten two years in a row will always be seen as a failure in Columbus, Ohio, Day has lost six games total in his four seasons and is 31-2 in the Big Ten. The problem is who those two losses have come against. 2022 rank: 6 (-2)
Kyle Whittingham: Whittingham won his second consecutive Pac-12 title with the Utes last season, but this is probably as high as he will climb in the rankings without a playoff berth. What he's done at Utah is one of the most impressive coaching jobs of my lifetime. Not only did he navigate the step up from the Mountain West to the Pac-12, but he's turned Utah into the Pac-12's most consistent program. 2022 rank: 8 (+1)
Brian Kelly: Kelly won at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame. So, you probably shouldn't have been surprised by Kelly winning the SEC West in his first season at LSU. It turns out the man is a good football coach. Kelly left Notre Dame for LSU because he believed it gave him a clearer path toward a national title, and nothing that happened in his first season at Death Valley suggests he has bad eyesight. 2022 rank: 7 (+1)
Jim Harbaugh: It wasn't hard to see the climb into the top five coming for Harbaugh. That's what tends to happen when you win the Big Ten two years in a row and reach the playoff both times. The next step for Harbaugh is winning a CFP game when he gets there. Still, even without the playoff win, Harbaugh's reputation has recovered nicely the last few years now that he's slain the Ohio State dragon. 2022 rank: 9 (+4)
Lincoln Riley: I had Harbaugh and Kelly ahead of Riley on my ballot, but it's hard to find fault with his final ranking. Riley won four Big 12 titles and reached the playoff four times in his first four seasons at Oklahoma but has failed to reach the playoff in the last two years. My theory is that, had he remained at Oklahoma and missed the playoff last year, he'd have fallen in the rankings. However, taking the Trojans to an 11-3 record -- a seven-win improvement from 2021 -- with a Heisman Trophy winner and revamped roster is a major improvement in one season. So, there should be no surprise he remains fourth behind three coaches with multiple national titles. 2022 rank: 4 (+0)
Dabo Swinney: Don't be surprised if Swinney falls out of the top three should Clemson fail to at least make the CFP in 2023. Barring something unforeseen, he'll still be one of only three coaches with multiple national titles, It could be his fifth straight season without one, however, and recency bias is difficult to overcome in a world of short attention spans. All that said, there's reason for optimism with Swinney diagnosing a problem and bringing in Garrett Riley as the solution to overhaul a stale offense. 2022 rank: 3 (E)
Kirby Smart: There was an outside chance Smart might have overtaken Nick Saban after winning his second consecutive national title, but while Georgia may be the premier program in the country, all those rings on Saban's fingers still carry too much weight to overcome. How much longer will that be the case? If Georgia wins a third straight title in 2023, I wouldn't expect Smart to remain in second. [Editor's note: Smart received multiple first-place votes.2022 rank: 2 (E)
Nick Saban: He's the greatest college football coach of all time and remains No. 1 in these rankings. Seven national titles, 11 conference titles (shout out to 1990 Toledo!) and an army of former assistants running programs nationwide -- including the guy hot on his heels here -- fill out his extensive resume. Saban has been so phenomenal throughout his career that going two years without winning a national title has people wondering whether he's lost a step. 2022 rank: 1 (E)

Don't forget to check out the Power Five coaches ranked 26-69.