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We often rag on coaches who aren't living up to their contracts. But we need to highlight some guys who are doing an incredible job with limited talent on their roster.


1. Jim Mora Jr., UCONN

The turnaround in Storrs is arguably the most incredible development of the entire 2022 season. This program was an absolute laughingstock for the past half-decade, and he has them on the precipice of bowl eligibility at 5-5. Mora didn't just make chicken salad out of chickens**t, he made a five-course meal.

Sep 10, 2022; East Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Jim Mora watches from the sideline as they take on the Syracuse Orange at Rentschler Field at Pratt & Whitney Stadium.

Sep 10, 2022; East Hartford, Connecticut, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Jim Mora watches from the sideline as they take on the Syracuse Orange at Rentschler Field at Pratt & Whitney Stadium.

2. Mike Elko, Duke

Speaking of turnarounds, Elko's first season in Durham is an unmitigated success even if they don't win a game for the rest of the season. He's got a gem at defensive tackle in DeWayne Carter, an offense averaging 35 points per game, and genuine excitement around the program. The fact that they're a ten-point favorite against Virginia Tech this weekend tells you all you need to know.

Sep 17, 2022; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Elko reacts during first half against the North Carolina A&T Aggies at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Sep 17, 2022; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Elko reacts during first half against the North Carolina A&T Aggies at Wallace Wade Stadium.

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3. Bret Bielema, Illinois

In his second season at Illinois, Bielema has molded the Illini in his image with a bruising ground game and stout defense. No one was picking Illinois to win the Big Ten West, no matter how bad that division is. And they're in the driver's seat right now with a key game against Purdue this weekend to effectively clinch it.

Oct 15, 2022; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema on the sidelines during the first half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Memorial Stadium.

Oct 15, 2022; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema on the sidelines during the first half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Memorial Stadium.

4. Sonny Dykes, TCU

This one has to start with an apology from me - I ripped the Dykes hiring as lazy and thought the program would take a downhill turn. Oh boy, was I wrong. Dykes is arguably the coach of the year at this point after turning TCU into an unstoppable force on offense with Max Duggan in full control despite not even beginning the season as the starter.

Oct 1, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs head coach Sonny Dykes reacts during the first half against the Oklahoma Sooners at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

Oct 1, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs head coach Sonny Dykes reacts during the first half against the Oklahoma Sooners at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

5. Lance Leipold, Kansas

I've been pretty bullish on Leipold all season, and after another big win over a much more talented Oklahoma State this past weekend, he's proven me right again. We're living in a world where we've got a very good chance of seeing Kansas, Duke, UCONN, and Kentucky all in the postseason. Didn't realize it was basketball season already.

Sep 10, 2022; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold celebrates with cornerback Ra'Mello Dotson (3) after beating the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Sep 10, 2022; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold celebrates with cornerback Ra'Mello Dotson (3) after beating the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.