With the regular season wrapped up, the final rankings set, and awards getting handed out, it's now the season for college football bowl games for 2018-19! The cascade of 40 games will kick off on Saturday, Dec. 15 with an Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl matchup between North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State, and conclude with the CFP National Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2019. In honor of all the exciting NCAA football action that is upon us, let's identify the five coaches who have had the most success during bowl season.
SPOILER ALERT: a few of the names here may surprise you.
5. Mike Riley
He's actually tied at a .700 winning percentage and 7-3 bowl record overall with June Jones, Dan Devine and Bob Devaney, but because he was an active coach most recently, he makes our list. In his 17 years as a head coach, Mike Riley was not all that impressive, posting a 112-99 regular season record, but bowl season is where he really shined. Six of his seven bowl wins came during his time with Oregon State, including a three-year winning streak from 2006 to 2008.
4. Pat Dye
Pat Dye holds the distinction of being the only one on this list to have tied a bowl game. In the 1988 Sugar Bowl, his Auburn Tigers matched the Syracuse Orange 16-16, giving his team their third draw of the season. Aside from that stalemate and two losses, however, Dye was terrific, winning six bowl games in nine years for Auburn and one for East Carolina in 1978.
3. Urban Meyer
Love him or hate him, Urban Meyer is a one of the best coaches ever to do it, and it's honestly shocking to see him at just number three. All-time, Meyer is 11-3 in bowl games, winning two for Utah, five for Florida and four for Ohio State. He's also the only coach on this list that has coached in a national championship game, where he's a stellar 3-0.
2. Tom O'Brien
From 1997 to 2012, Tom O'Brien did some impressive work with both Boston College and North Carolina State. However, he will be immortalized as an Eagles coach. Starting in 2000, he led BC to six straight bowl games and won them all after dropping one in 1999. Following a change of scenery, he would go on to win two in a row with North Carolina State to lock in his career bowl record at 8-2.
1. Kyle Whittingham
Last but certainly not least is Utah great Kyle Whittingham. Not only has he won 11 of the 12 bowl games he has taken the Utes to (.916 win rate), but he's also only missed out on postseason play just twice in his 15-year tenure. Interestingly enough, he was actually designated as a "co-head coach" alongside Urban Meyer for his first victory in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl, which would also be the first of six in a row to start his head coaching career. Even if his team loses the Holiday Bowl against Northwestern, he will still have the best-ever winning percentage in bowl games.