Harbaugh, Tucker finalists for national coach of the year


After Mel Tucker edged Jim Harbaugh by one vote for AP Big Ten Coach of the Year, both are in the running for national coach of the year.

Tucker and Harbaugh were named two of the 13 finalists Tuesday for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. Both are deserving candidates.

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In his second year at the helm at Michigan State, Tucker led a team that was widely picked to finish in the bottom of the Big Ten to a 10-2 record and a berth in the Peach Bowl against Pitt, fueled by Big Ten co-Offensive Player of the Year Kenneth Walker. It was a drastic turnaround for a program that went 2-5 the year prior.

Same for Michigan. On the heels of a 2-4 season, Harbaugh rallied his team to go 11-1, culminating in a resounding victory over Ohio State and the first Big Ten title for the Wolverines since 2004, fueled by Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Heisman finalist Aidan Hutchinson. Michigan also secured its first ever berth in the College Football Playoff, where it will face Georgia in the Orange Bowl.

Pitt head coach and former MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and Georgia head coach Kirby Smart are also among the finalists for Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year.

The others are Nick Saban of No. 1 Alabama, Luke Fickell of No. 4 Cincinnati, Dave Aranda of No. 6 Baylor, Kyle Whittingham of No. 10 Utah, Kilane Sitake of No. 12 BYU, Billy Napier of No. 16 Louisiana, Jeff Traylor of No. 24 UTSA, Utah State's Blake Anderson and Northern Illinois' Thomas Hammock.

The winner will be announced Dec. 20.