Posted on: January 20, 2011 3:51 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
College football fans love to chatter about which of the 11 FBS conferences is best. They get much less excited to discuss which of them is worst, though for the few who do, this past bowl season provided some quality fodder when the two leagues generally considered the FBS's weakest -- the MAC and Sun Belt -- squared off in three different bowl games. The Sun Belt came out ahead 2-1, with Troy dominating Ohio and FIU winning a 34-32 barnburner over Toledo. (MAC champion Miami (Ohio) did cruise past Middle Tennessee State for the Midwestern league's victory in the MAC-SBC "Challenge.") Case closed?
Not even close. This week the College Football Blog reviewed all 22 (or 21, if you don't count Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia) new head coaching hires in our Headset Reset series , and that review turned up something interesting about the Sun Belt and the MAC: namely, that the MAC is making much stronger coaching hires.
First, look at the MAC's new coaches : two of them are coordinators from two of the 2010 Big Ten co-champions; one was the offensive coordinator and highest-ranking assistant for Urban Meyer's national-title winning program at Florida ; one was a longtime position coach and ace recruiter for Ohio State; and the "weakest" of the hires on paper, Ball State's Pete Lembo, is a 40-year-old coach with 10 years of successful head coaching experience on the FCS level already under his belt.
Contrast that with the Sun Belt's three choices: one a promotion from within the Arkansas State staff, one a potentially past-his-prime Florida position coach, the other the Mississippi State wide receivers coach.
All three of those hires could prove to be shrewd (it's not as if Dan McCarney and Mark Hudspeth don't have quality head coaching experience to draw on, and Hugh Freeze has been knocking on the door of his own head coaching gig for years). But if the MAC is to the Big Ten as the Sun Belt is to the SEC, then you'd have seen the SBC hiring the SEC equivalents of Don Treadwell or Dave Doeren (pictured at right), well-regarded college-first coordinators like Manny Diaz or John Chavis or Mike Bobo. That's not happening. In fact, the only 2010 SEC coordinator to take a head coaching job this offseason went to ... Temple.
(As an aside, this might also be an indication of the relative strength of the Big Ten and SEC; where SEC schools are willing to pay top dollar to retain their best assistants and keep them out of the clutches of smaller schools, the Big Ten watches the likes of Treadwell and Doeren walk away.)
The Sun Belt's bowl performance was nice. But until they show they can land the same caliber of coaching talent as their Midwestern counterparts (or, more easily, the WAC says its official goodbyes to Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii) they should continue to be regarded at the bottom of the FBS conference barrel.
Tags: Arkansas State, Ball State, Big Ten, Dan McCarney, Dana Holgorsen, Dave Doeren, Don Treadwell, FIU, Florida, Fresno State, Hawaii, Headset Reset, Hugh Freeze, John Chavis, MAC, Manny Diaz, Mark Hudspeth, Miami (Ohio), Middle Tennessee State, Mike Bobo, Mississippi State, Nevada, Ohio, Ohio State, Pete Lembo, SEC, Steve Addazio, Temple, Toledo, Troy, Urban Meyer, WAC, West Virginia
Posted on: January 19, 2011 5:29 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 5:30 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
"Headset Reset " is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the four new head coaches in the Pac-12 and Big Ten.
DAVID SHAW, Stanford
JON EMBREE, Colorado
JERRY KILL, Minnesota
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Big Ten, Bill McCartney, Bob Bowlsby, Boise State, Brady Hoke, Brent Pease, Chris Petersen, Colorado, Dan Hawkins, David Shaw, DeMarco Murray, FCS, Glen Mason, Headset Reset, Indiana, Iowa, Jerry Kill, Jon Embree, Kevin Wilson, Kevin Wilson, MAC, Minnesota, Mountain West, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pac-12, Rich Rodriguez, Southern Illinois, Stanford, Tim Brewster, USC, WAC
Posted on: January 19, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 12:05 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
"Headset Reset" is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the four new head coaches in the SEC and the ACC.
WILL MUSCHAMP, Florida
Why him? Urban Meyer blindsided the college football community by stepping away from his gig as the head coach at one of the biggest football programs in the nation. So naturally, Florida poached the highest profile assistant coach from right under Mack Brown to lead the Gators into the new decade. For 2011, Muschamp needs to: Win the SEC East. By bringing in Charlie Weis as the new offensive coordinator, Gators fans will expect that many of the offensive woes that plagued them in 2010 will be eliminated immediately. But despite all their downfalls, Florida still came one game from winning the division. There will be no excuse not to reclaim the East in 2014. By 2014, Muschamp needs to have: Won the SEC Championship. Urban Meyer won two national championships in his first four seasons at Florida. Muschamp needs to at least win the SEC crown by 2014, presumably meaning the Gators are also in the national title discussion. Chances Muschamp gets what he needs?: There is no reason to think that Muschamp, a coach who carries a strong reputation in several major recruiting hotbeds, cannot continue to bring in the talent to Gainesville to build his own dynasty. I'd say chances are pretty good.
JAMES FRANKLIN, Vanderbilt
Why him? After Bobby Johnson retired less than two months before the start of the season, Vanderbilt scrambled to promote offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell to head coach. After Caldwell's 2-10 record in 2010, he stepped down as well. For 2011, Franklin needs to: Beat Elon and win at least one conference game. After two straight 2-10 seasons Franklin at least needs to equal that win total, even with a difficult non-conference schedule. The bar isn't too high, but the Commodores need to find at least one non-conference and one conference win in 2011. By 2014, Franklin needs to have: Made the postseason. Again, the bar is not too high (Vanderbilt has only 2 bowl appearances since 1980), but Franklin would likely land himself a long-term contract and cement his own place in Vanderbilt history by adding a postseason win to the school's resume. Chances Franklin gets what he needs?: Have you seen the SEC? Not great.
RANDY EDSALL, Maryland
Why him? New athletic director Kevin Anderson clearly had plans to get rid of Ralph Friedgen before he went on to win 8 games and be named ACC Coach of the Year. Despite the biggest turnaround in school history, the coach was removed in favor of Randy Edsall, the perennial coaching search smoke-screen. For 2011, Edsall needs to: Equal or improve from Friedgen's 8-win regular season in 2010. With many Terps fans and players sad to see Fridge shoved out the door, Edsall will immediately be compared to his predecessor. Fortunately, Edsall inherits a young and talented team led by ACC Rookie of the Year Danny O'Brien. By 2014, Edsall needs to have: Won the ACC Atlantic. Anderson's main reason for buying out Friedgen's contract was to take the Maryland football program from "good to great." After coming one game from winning the division in 2010, the only way to improve would be an appearance in the ACC Championship Game. Chances Edsall gets what he needs?: Not very good. The ACC Atlantic is getting stronger with Jimbo Fisher bringing Florida State back to national relevance, Dabo Swinney beefing up his coaching staff, and Tom O'Brien turning N.C. State into a perennial threat in the conference. Thinking that Edsall will be able to take the Terps to their first ACC Championship Game by 2014 is a tall order. But if it happens, it will be because of the play of O'Brien.
AL GOLDEN, Miami
Why him? After another year of poor attendance from a disinterested fan base, not to mention the failure to compete within their own division, Miami decided it was time for a change. For 2011, Golden needs to: While Shannon failed collect any hardware on the field, he certainly did his part recruiting during the offseason. Golden realizes the importance of recruiting in-state, and has hit the trail running. With only two weeks left until signing day, Golden is in the middle of his 45 scheduled visits for the month of January to solidify his 2011 class. Many recruits, including ones in-state, have expressed how impressed they were with Golden and his new staff. Golden won't be expected to win the division in 2011, but Hurricanes fans will be far less forgiving if they see a drop-off on national signing day. By 2014, Golden needs to have: Won the ACC Coastal. After years of dominating the Big East, Miami boosters have been disappointed to see Miami fall out of the conference race each year since joining the ACC. Golden needs to take the Hurricanes to their first ACC Championship Game by 2014, or else an occasionally unstable administration may get trigger happy once again. Chances Golden gets what he needs?: Golden faces an uphill battle as a coach with no experience south of Charlottesville, VA, but what progress he has made so far has been pleasantly surprising. He still is competing against Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, who have combined for every ACC Coastal crown since the division formation in 2004. I'd put the chances of Golden taking Miami to the ACC Championship game right at 50-50.
Posted on: January 19, 2011 3:13 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
"Headset Reset " is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the five new head coaches in the MAC.
DON TREADWELL, Miami (Ohio) (pictured)
Why him? Because few assistant coaches in the country had a better 2010 than Treadwell, who turned a collection of average-looking talent into one of the Big Ten's most effective offenses at Michigan State and added a couple of victories as the Spartans' interim head coach to boot. For 2011, Treadwell needs to: capitalize on the momentum built by Mike Haywood's amazing 9-win turnaround in Oxford. A second straight MAC title isn't a necessity, but the pieces are in place for the kind of solid, winning season that would stamp the RedHawks as a contender for years to come. By 2014, Treadwell needs to have: won the MAC. With so much coaching turnover, there's a power vaccum at the top of the conference, and no reason Miami can't fill it. Chances Treadwell gets what he needs? Good-to-very good. Haywood left behind an excellent foundation and Treadwell's work in East Lansing suggests he's just the man to build upon it.
PETE LEMBO, Ball State
Why him? At just 40 years of age, Lembo already has 10 years of head coaching experience (all at the FCS level, no less) and just finished resuscitating a truly rotten Elon program. For 2011, Lembo needs to: just move the Cardinals in the right direction. Stan Parrish's dreadful two-season reign-of-error means Lembo has to get the program walking towards, say, not losing to Eastern Michigan before it runs towards bowls and league titles. By 2014, Lembo needs to have: put the Cardinals in position for a postseason berth; the Brady Hoke era showed it's far from impossible for the right coach. Chances Lembo gets what he needs? Not bad. BSU's not an easy gig, but Lembo's energy and FCS success mean he could be a sneakily good hire.
STEVE ADDAZIO, Temple
Why him? Not his efforts running the Florida offense, that's for sure, but his top-notch recruiting expertise, Northeast ties, and Urban Meyer -trained CEO skills won him the job all the same. For 2011, Addazio needs to: put together a coaching staff -- particularly at the coordinator positions -- that can take advantage of Addazio's good work on the recruiting trails. Maintaining Temple's perch near the top of the MAC East would be a nice signal that Al Golden's tenure wasn't a fluke, too. By 2014, Addazio needs to have: gotten the Owls back to a couple of bowl games; anything else would be a terrible waste of Golden's remarkable work. Chances Addazio gets what he needs? Better than you'd think. There's a reason Meyer tabbed Addazio as his replacement during his sabbatical; he's got the leadership skills necessary to head up a successful program ... if he can just find someone to call his plays for him.
DAVE DOEREN, Northern Illinois
Why him? NIU can't ask for a whole lot more than a long-time successful Big Ten defensive coordinator fresh off a visit to the Rose Bowl. For 2011, Doeren needs to: win the MAC? Those are high expectations for a first-time head coach, but the Huskies were the league's best team in 2010 and their offense returns almost entirely intact. By 2014, Doeren needs to have: won the MAC, no question mark. With the offensive talent left behind by Jerry Kill and Doeren's defensive acumen, the Huskies should find a way to finish what they started in 2010. Chances Doeren gets what he needs? Solid; none of the other new MAC coaches steps into a situation quite this friendly, and Doeren's defensive pedigree is promising.
DARRELL HAZELL, Kent State
Why him? No one the Golden Flashes could have hired knows the Ohio recruiting scene better than the longtime Buckeye receivers coach and recruiting ace. For 2011, Hazell needs to: find a difference-maker or two. KSU's been close to getting over the bowl hump, going 5-7 each of the past two seasons; if Hazell can recruit just a handful of actual play-makers, he could get them there in short order. By 2014, Hazell needs to have: reached the postseason. It would be a huge milestone for woebegone program that's had just two winning seasons since 1977, and has never played in a bowl as an FBS program. Chances Hazell gets what he needs? Like Addazio, it'll depend on who Hazell can hire for his staff, since he has no coordinating experience. But the talent level in Kent should definitely rise on his watch.
Tags: Al Golden, Ball State, Big Ten, Brady Hoke, Darrell Hazell, Dave Doeren, Don Treadwell, Eastern Michigan, Elon, Florida, Headset Reset, Jerry Kill, Kent State, MAC, Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, Mike Haywood, Northern Illinois, Pete Lembo, Rose Bowl, Stan Parrish, Steve Addazio, Temple, Urban Meyer
Posted on: January 18, 2011 3:34 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
"Headset Reset" is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the four new head coaches in the Big East and Mountain West
TODD GRAHAM, Pitt
Why him? Because Mike Haywood got arrested two weeks after he was hired. Also because Graham put together some successful offenses at Tulsa. For 2011, Graham needs to: build a strong offense without the services of Pitt's two best offensive players Jonathan Baldwin and Dion Lewis. Luckily for Graham, Dave Wannstedt recruited good players to Pitt, but Graham will have to mold them to his offense. By 2014, Graham will need to have: won a Big East title and taken the Panthers to a BCS bowl. Dave Wannstedt won more games than he lost at Pitt, but it was the lack of a conference championship in a weak conference that ultimately led to his dismissal. Chances Graham gets what he needs? I'd say they're pretty good. Weak conference or not, Pitt is still in a BCS conference and has the resources to win in college football. Of course, by the time Graham has his stamp on the program, TCU will be a Big East member, so it won't be easy.
DANA HOLGORSEN, West Virginia
Why him? Have you seen West Virginia's offenses under Bill Stewart the last few seasons? Nothing like a Mike Leach disciple who helped put together one of the best offenses in the country at Oklahoma State to infuse life into a dormant scoreboard. For 2011, Holgorsen needs to: bid his time, let Stewart finish his final season, and start getting his offense ready for his ascension in 2012. By 2014, Holgorsen will need to have: won a Big East title and improve the Mountaineers offense enough so that it once again resembles the teams Rich Rodriguez put together. He'll also need to find a quarterback better suited for his system than Geno Smith. Chances Holgorsen gets what he needs? They're very good. Even with the program's struggles under Stewart, they still competed for the Big East title.
PAUL PASQUALONI, UConn
Why him? Well, it came as a bit of a surprise. Pasqualoni hasn't been a head coach or coached on the college level since 2004, spending the time in between in the NFL. Still, the last time he was a head coach he was a rather successful one at Syracuse in the Big East. So he knows what it takes to win in this conference. For 2011, Pasqualoni needs to: silence the doubters. We know that Pasqualoni can coach, but will the lay off and his age (he'll be 62 when UConn kicks off its season) prove to be too much for him? By 2014, Pasqualoni will need to have: maintained what Randy Edsall started at UConn. I'm not sure he'll have to win a Big East title to keep his job, but at the least he'll have to continue to build the program for his eventual successor. Chances Pasqualoni gets what he needs? Not great, but not terrible. UConn has always been a basketball school first and foremost, but who knows how a trip to the Fiesta Bowl will affect the schools interest in building a winning football team?
ROCKY LONG, San Diego State
Why him? Because Brady Hoke left, and had built something at SDSU that Long was a part of. The school didn't want to risk losing any momentum by starting a coaching search. Plus, Long has head coaching experience from his time at New Mexico. For 2011, Long needs to: continue the rise that Hoke started. Since Marshall Faulk left for the NFL, the Aztecs weren't exactly a football powerhouse before Hoke came along. The good news is that Long inherits some talent in Ronnie Hillman and Ryan Lindley. By 2014, Long will need to have: kept San Diego State competing in the Mountain West. With Utah, BYU and TCU leaving, the conference becomes a lot easier to win. Chances Long gets what he needs? Not great. San Diego State just doesn't have the established history to make me think they'll do whatever it takes to help Long build this team into a powerhouse. What Long will have working for him, however, is the fertile recruiting base of southern California.
Tags: Big East, Bill Stewart, Brady Hoke, BYU, Dana Holgorsen, Dave Wannstedt, Dion Lewis, Geno Smith, Headset Reset, Jonathan Baldwin, Marshall Faulk, Mike Haywood, Mike Leach, Mountain West, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Paul Pasqualoni, Pitt, Randy Edsall, Rich Rodriguez, Rocky Long, Ronnie Hillman, Ryan Lindley, San Diego State, Syracuse, TCU, Todd Graham, Tulsa, UConn, Utah, West Virginia
Posted on: January 18, 2011 2:31 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2011 2:31 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
"Headset Reset" is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the four new head coaches in Conference USA and the Sun Belt .
BILL BLANKENSHIP, Tulsa
Why him? Former Tulsa quarterback was promoted from running backs/special teams coach to maintain 10-3, top-25 status quo. For 2011, Blankenship needs to: find a replacement for departed offensive coordinator Chad Morris, who took the same position at Clemson after being passed over the Tulsa head job; the right hire could turn Tulsa's nine returning offensive starters (including quarterback G.J. Kinne and all-purpose weapon Damaris Johnson) into another double-digit win season. By 2014, Blankenship will need to have: won a C-USA title. For all of the Golden Hurricane's offensive fireworks under Todd Graham, their only league championship came back in 2005 under Steve Kragthorpe. Chances Blankenship gets what he needs? Fair-to-middling. Tulsa's points-happy brand should be strong enough to keep them near the top of the league standings (provided Blankenship doesn't blow the OC hire), but will simply promoting a position coach really be enough to get them over the hump?
DAN McCARNEY, North Texas (pictured)
Why him? Far and away the most recognizable name among the new C-USA/SBC hires, the 57-year-old McCarney spent 12 successful seasons as Iowa State's head coach before supervising the defensive lines at South Florida and Florida. For 2011, McCarney needs to: just offer some kind of hope. The snake-bitten Mean Green (4 losses in 2010 by total of 13 points) have won only 13 games in six seasons. By 2014, McCarney will need to have: found some semblance of a defense. UNT hasn't had too many problems offensively, but they won't accomplish anything until one of the nation's worst defenses is brought up to code. Chances McCarney gets what he needs? Decent. McCarney may be a little too long in the tooth (and the program may have decayed too badly) to bring back the Mean Green's early-Aughts glory days, but the old pro should have the defensive chops to at least bring UNT back to respectability.
HUGH FREEZE, Arkansas State
Why him? Former Ole Miss assistant made famous by The Blind Side was promoted from offensive coordinator after leading Red Wolves to better than 400 yards per game, vaulting them from 95th to 43rd in total offense. For 2011, Freeze needs to: get to .500. Disappointing 4-8 records the last two seasons earned Steve Roberts a pink slip, but with Ryan Aplin back at quarterback and better luck due after going 1-5 in one-possession games in 2010, there's no reason (other than a revamped offensive line) Freeze can't get the Red Wolves back to 6-6. By 2014, Freeze will need to have: established ASU as an upper-tier Sun Belt program. Getting past Troy and up-and-coming FIU won't be easy, but there's nothing stopping the Red Wolves from joining in the SBC mix. Chances Freeze gets what he needs? Good. Freeze knows his way around the Arkansas and Tennessee recruiting scenes and has a sharp offensive mind; those traits alone should be enough to get the Red Wolves back to the postseason (for the first time since 2005) sooner rather than later.
MARK HUDSPETH, Lousiana (formerly UL-Lafayette)
Why him? Before taking a job on Dan Mullen's staff at Mississippi State , Hudpseth excelled as the head coach at Division II North Alabama, going 66-20 in seven seasons. For 2011, Hudspeth needs to: right the ship. A series of near-misses at a winning season under Rickey Bustle dissolved in a 3-9 disaster in 2010; a simple step in the right direction will be enough for one of the FBS's most tradition-deficient programs. By 2014, Hudspeth will need to have: earned a bowl bid. The Ragin' Cajuns have never taken part in FBS postseason play. Chances Hudspeth gets what he needs? Not bad. There's room to be upwardly mobile in the Sun Belt, and despite a relatively bare cupboard, Hudspeth has quality head coaching experience at only 42 years of age.
Tags: Arkansas State, Bill Blankenship, Chad Morris, Clemson, Conference USA, Damaris Johnson, Dan McCarney, Dan Mullen, FIU, Florida, G.J. Kinne, Headset Reset, Hugh Freeze, Iowa State, Louisiana, Mark Hudspeth, Mississippi State, North Alabama, North Texas, Ole Miss, Rickey Bustle, Ryan Aplin, South Florida, Steve Kragthorpe, Steve Roberts, Sun Belt, The Blind Side, Todd Graham, Troy, Tulsa, UL-Lafayette