Previewing all 130 FBS coaches in 2020


Now that all of our FBS football teams have coaches, we can take a look at each team’s situation, at least as it pertains to the coaches, and do some projections of how teams will do in the 2020 season.

That is, if there is a 2020 season.

Since we’re all in this Corona-mania thing, can I ask a question?  Who on earth gave this virus that name? I mean, is it beer? A cigar?  If it’s beer, then why choose some bland, pale lager like Corona? I mean really.  Don’t they have Dos Equis in China? Think about it. If you load the people up with Dos Equis, you won’t even need to tell them to self-quarantine.

Nonetheless, we move on.

We are using the same preseason system as always but this season, we’ve elected to merge thousands of cells of data into four elements and convert results into a projection of how many wins each team can expect if assessed just on its coaching situation and against a traditional schedule.

Even more, we want to be able to predict the first full week of games in September and do it as well as we have in the past.  Last year, the Savvy Index accurately predicted 74 winners in the 83 games of Week 1.  (After the first game, the regular season program takes over.)

Today we are dealing only with the coaching module and our goal statement is this:

As much as it is dependent solely on the coach, how successful will each team be in the coming season?  

Later, we’ll plug this coaches-only data into assessments for other factors {quarterbacks, returning effective producers, assistant coaches, etc.) and we’ll produce a comprehensive win expectation for each team.

To keep things simple, we’re only going to look at four primary elements:

#1.  Program Situation

A coach might be good enough to win 12 games, but a big part of whether or not he will do that depends on the situation he is in.  Les Miles at Kansas is a good example.  The Program Situation moderates each coach’s ability with the program he is in.

#2.  Program Trend:

At what rate has each team been trending upward or downward in recent seasons?

3:  Recruiting Trend:

While we won’t post all of the statistics for each team’s recruiting, it is important to know if there is a measurable trend in recruiting when evaluating the performance of coaches.

4:  Coaches here less than two years

Savvy’s statistical summaries reveal that a new coach won’t show his value until just past the midway point of his second year—usually.  Until their third year at the same school, Savvy handles them as “new” coaches and uses a separate survey to project how successful they will be in their current situations.

It may seem like any team that has had the same head coach for a few years shouldn’t have to be rated each preseason. However, head coaches change assistant coaches and that affects the over all perception and rating of head coaches.

We have the complete list of 130 coaches at the bottom of this feature, but for now, let’s just look at which coaches are hot and which ones are cold and the reasons why Savvy lists them as such.

THE HOT DOZEN:

 1.  Mario Cristobal, Oregon

Cristobal has the highest rating of all coaches when it comes to elevating wins and recruiting in each successive season.  In addition, he’s solved accountability issues, hired an elite staff and has just added Joe Moorehead as offensive coordinator, a move that will produce pure magic [although all of those factors are accounted for elsewhere.]

2.  Kyle Whittingham, Utah

I wasn’t expecting Whittingham to be among the hotties but he has also increased his programs wins and recruiting stats for three straight years.  He has steadily built Utah into a PAC-12 South champion and national contender.

3.  Dan Mullen, Florida

The Gators won four games before Mullen arrived. They’ve averaged 10.5 since.  Recruiting has spiked upward and Florida has become a popular destination for transfer players.

4. Brady Hoke, San Diego State

Hoke benefits somewhat from having had prior success at SDSU.

5.  Bronc Mendenhall, Virginia

Watch out for the Cavaliers because Mendenhall is a superior coach who has built perennial bowl teams everywhere he’s been.

6.  Herm Edwards, Arizona State

Not sure I am as convinced as Savvy that Edwards is “hot” but I have to admit, the chart below has all positive numbers.

7.  Todd Graham, Hawai’i

Surprising to see Graham here, but yes, he does measure out as one of the best new hires in the FBS.  It’s been awhile since he coached FBS but his resume’ and style are ideal here.

8.  Dave Aranda, Baylor

This is Aranda’s first head coaching job and he is ready. A great hire who has an impressive background with elite teams.  He’s taking over a fast-rising program that is stocked with talent so this is a no-brainer.  I personally  think Aranda deserves a higher ranking.

9.  Hugh Freeze, Liberty

All four elements that we are assessing are positive and if he can win games while coaching from his hospital bed, then yeah, he deserves to be called a “hot” coach.

10.  Mack Brown, North Carolina

Brown raised UNC wins by 250% and recruiting by 112%.  Still, there’s a sense that some of those wins were more good fortune than good coaching.  Can’t really buy into the Mack mystique unless he does it again in 2020.

11.   Will Healy, Charlotte

Is Healy really this good and is it too early the value his performance so far?  We expected Will to survive through 2019 but instead, he brought the house down. He increased wins by three and recruiting trends are all positive.

12.   Greg Schiano, Rutgers

I’ve had doubts about some of Schiano’s antics, but one thing is clear:  he is a great football coach and he has elite training.   On his own, he is one of the top new hires in America, but … well … this is Rutgers.

THE COLD SIX:

1.  Josh Heupel, UCF

When Heupel took the UCF job, Savvy projected that he lacked the resume’ to perpetuate the Knights’ tradition as the top Mid-Major team in America.  Wins have decreased each year since his arrival at UCF and performance trends on Savvy during 2018 and 2019 were net-negative for the first time in UCF’s past six seasons.

2.   Tom Herman, Texas

Herman isn’t on this “cold” list because of one bad season.  The Longhorns have routinely under-performed game expectations and, as we said at the time Herman was hired, he lacks the elite resume’ that supports his ability to elevate a Power Five, storied program.

3.  Jason Candle, Toledo

Two years ago, Candle was celebrated as one of the hottest coaches in the nation.  Every year since 2017, wins have been less.  Last season ended with the Rockets losing four of their last six and missing a bowl game for the first time in Candle’s tenure.

4.  Butch Davis, Florida International

Butch has been the darling of FIU fans and media but  all of his coaching metrics have been declining since he took over in 2017.  The program is in slow decay and it’s only a matter of time before FIU’ers figure it out.

5.  Matt Campbell, Iowa State

I’ve been a Campbell fan since he built Toledo into a M-M power.  But, the bloom is off the rose in Ames, Iowa and Campbell really should have accepted one of those other offers. 

6.  David Shaw, Stanford

In December, we covered the decline of Stanford and the reasons why the Tree has become the target for relief of all of their animal rivals in the PAC-12 North.   To read more, click here.  Fifteen players from Stransford entered the transfer portal in the off-season.

Here are the Savvy projections for each team based on the coaches in their current situations.


Savvy Game Line     2020            
coaching success projections                  
c1 c2 c3 c4 c5 c6 c7 c8 c9 c10
rank team here since   program situation base program trend recruiting trend coach less than 2 years [survey] projected wins who’s hot and who’s cold
26 Air Force 07 Troy Calhoun 6.8 .9 .5 0 8.1  
128 Akron 19 Tom Arth 2.3 -1.3 .5 0 1.6  
6 Alabama 07 Nick Saban 10.2 -.9 1.4 0 10.7  
5 Appalachian St. 20 Shawn Clark 9.4 1.3 -.5 1 10.7  
122 Arizona 18 Kevin Sumlin 4.3 -1.3 -.5 0 2.5 cold
21 Arizona St. 18 Herm Edwards 6.4 .9 1.4 0 8.6 hot
127 Arkansas 20 Sam Pittman 2.1 -.4 -.5 0 1.6  
70 Arkansas St. 14 Blake Anderson 6.2 -.4 .0 0 5.7  
48 Army 14 Jeff Monken 6.6 -.4 .5 0 6.6  
34 Auburn 13 Gus Malzahn 7.7 .4 -.5 0 7.6  
80 Ball St. 16 Mike Neu 3.4 1.3 .5 0 5.1  
17 Baylor 20 Dave Aranda 6.4 1.3 .5 1 9.0 hot
12 Boise St. 14 Bryan Harsin 9.6 .4 -.5 0 9.5  
74 Boston Col 20 Jeff Hafley 5.5 -.9 .5 0 5.6  
118 Bowling Green 19 Scott Loeffler 2.3 .4 .0 0 3.3  
55 Buffalo 15 Lance Leopold 6.4 -.4 .5 0 6.4  
52 BYU 16 Kilani Sitake 5.7 1.3 -.5 0 6.6  
43 C Michigan 19 Jim McElwain 5.3 .4 .5 1 6.9  
45 California 18 Justin Wilcox 6.0 1.3 -.5 0 6.8  
60 Charlotte 19 Will Healy 4.0 1.3 .9 0 6.3 hot
20 Cincinnati 17 Luke Fickell 7.9 .4 .5 0 8.7  
1 Clemson 08 Dabo Swinney 11.3 1.3 .5 0 12.0  
93 Coastal Car 19 Jamey Chadwell 3.8 .4 -.5 1 4.6  
72 Colorado 20 Karl Dorrell 4.3 .0 .9 1 5.7  
86 Colorado St. 20 Steve Addazio 3.8 .4 .0 1 4.9  
124 Connecticut 17 Randy Edsall 1.7 .4 .0 0 2.1  
109 Duke 08 David Cutcliffe 5.3 -.4 -.9 0 4.0 cold
89 E Carolina 19 Mike Houston 3.0 .9 .0 1 4.8  
91 E Michigan 14 Chris Creighton 5.1 -.4 .0 0 4.7  
9 Florida 18 Dan Mullen 7.7 1.3 .9 0 9.8 hot
23 Florida Atl. 20 Willie Taggart 7.9 .4 .0 0 8.5  
85 Florida Intl. 17 Butch Davis 6.4 -.9 -.5 0 5.1 cold
44 Florida St. 20 Mike Norvell 5.1 .4 .0 1 6.8  
65 Fresno St. 20 Kalen DeBoer 6.4 -.4 -.5 0 6.0  
15 Georgia 16 Kirby Smart 10.2 .4 -1.4 0 9.3  
82 Georgia So. 18 Chad Lunsford 5.5 -.4 .0 0 5.1  
75 Georgia St. 17 Shawn Elliott 4.9 .4 .0 0 5.3  
110 Georgia Tech 19 Geoff Collins 3.8 -.4 .5 0 4.0  
19 Hawai’i 20 Todd Graham 6.6 1.3 .0 1 8.9 hot
69 Houston 19 Dana Holgorsen 4.9 -.4 .0 1 5.9  
92 Illinois 16 Lovie Smith 4.3 .9 -.5 0 4.7  
67 Indiana 17 Tom Allen 5.5 .9 -.5 0 5.9  
28 Iowa 01 Kirk Ferentz 7.2 1.3 -.5 0 8.1  
84 Iowa St. 16 Campbell, Matt 6.4 -.9 -.5 0 5.1 cold
115 Kansas 19 Les Miles 3.6 -.4 -1.4 2 3.5  
40 Kansas St. 19 Chris Klieman 5.5 .9 .0 1 7.1  
83 Kent St. 18 Lewis, Sean 4.7 .4 .0 0 5.1  
54 Kentucky 13 Mark Stoops 6.0 -.4 .9 0 6.4  
22 LA Lafayette 18 Billy Napier 7.2 .9 .5 0 8.5  
95 LA Monroe 16 Matt Viator 4.5 -.4 .5 0 4.5  
27 LA Tech 13 Skip Holtz 6.8 1.3 .0 0 8.1  
31 Liberty 19 Hugh Freeze 5.5 .4 .5 1 7.7 hot
41 Louisville 19 Scott Satterfield 5.5 .4 -.5 2 7.1  
3 LSU 16 Ed Orgeron 10.4 1.3 .5 0 12.0  
50 Marshall 10 Doc Holliday 7.0 -.4 .0 0 6.6  
112 Maryland 19 Mike Locksley 3.2 -.4 .5 1 3.7  
125 Massachusetts 19 Walt Bell 2.1 -.9 .5 0 1.8  
11 Memphis 20 Ryan Silverfield 8.9 .4 -.5 1 9.7  
77 Miami Fl 19 Manny Diaz 6.2 -1.3 -.5 1 5.2  
42 Miami Oh 14 Chuck Martin 5.7 1.3 .0 0 7.0  
46 Michigan 15 Jim Harbaugh 7.7 -.4 -.5 0 6.8  
53 Michigan St. 20 Mel Tucker 6.6 -.4 -.5 1 6.5  
98 Middle Tenn 06 Rick Stockstill 4.9 -.4 .0 0 4.5  
18 Minnesota 17 P.J. Fleck 7.2 1.3 .5 0 9.0  
113 Mississippi 20 Lane Kiffin 4.0 -1.3 -.5 1 3.6  
68 Mississippi St. 20 Mike Leach 6.2 -1.3 -.5 1 5.9  
57 Missouri 20 Eliah Drinkwitz 6.2 -1.3 .9 1 6.4  
49 N Carolina 19 Mack Brown 4.0 .4 .5 2 6.6 hot
105 N Carolina St. 13 Dave Doeren 5.5 -.9 -.5 0 4.2 cold
88 N Illinois 19 Thomas Hammock 5.5 -.9 .0 0 4.8  
90 N Texas 16 Seth Litrell 5.5 -.9 .0 0 4.7  
32 Navy 07 Ken Niumatalolo 6.8 .4 .5 0 7.7  
79 Nebraska 18 Frost, Scott 3.8 .9 .5 0 5.1  
87 Nevada 17 Jay Norvell 5.3 -.4 .0 0 4.9  
126 New Mexico 20 Danny Gonzalez 2.1 -.9 .5 0 1.8  
129 New Mexico St. 13 Doug Martin 3.0 -1.3 -.5 0 1.3 cold
103 Northwestern 06 Pat Fitzgerald 5.1 -1.3 .5 0 4.3  
10 Notre Dame 10 Brian Kelly 9.4 -.4 .9 0 9.8  
56 Ohio 05 Frank Solich 6.8 -.9 .5 0 6.4  
2 Ohio St. 19 Ryan Day 10.6 .4 .0 1 12.0  
14 Oklahoma 17 Lincoln Riley 10.2 .0 -.9 0 9.3  
71 Oklahoma St. 05 Mike Gundy 6.6 -.4 -.5 0 5.7  
114 Old Dominion 20 Ricky Rahne 2.6 -.9 1.4 1 3.6  
4 Oregon 18 Mario Cristobal 8.5 1.3 1.4 0 11.1 hot
108 Oregon St. 18 Jonathan Smith 2.8 1.3 .0 0 4.0  
29 Penn St. 14 James Franklin 8.9 .4 -1.4 0 8.0  
33 Pittsburgh 15 Pat Narduzzi 6.0 1.3 .5 0 7.7  
94 Purdue 17 Jeff Brohm 4.5 -1.3 1.4 0 4.5  
119 Rice 18 Mike Bloomgren 1.9 1.3 .0 0 3.2  
96 Rutgers 20 Greg Schiano 2.1 .4 .0 2 4.5 hot
123 S Alabama 18 Joey Jones 2.1 -.4 .5 0 2.2  
101 S Carolina 16 Will Muschamp 5.1 -1.3 .5 0 4.3  
58 S Miss 16 Jay Hopson 6.0 .4 .0 0 6.4  
16 San Diego St. 20 Brady Hoke 7.0 .4 .0 2 9.1 hot
120 San Jose St. 17 Brent Brennan 2.8 .4 .0 0 3.2  
39 SMU 18 Sonny Dykes 6.8 .4 .0 0 7.2  
104 Stanford 11 David Shaw 5.5 -.9 -.5 0 4.2 cold
106 Syracuse 16 Dino Babers 5.1 -.4 -.5 0 4.2  
78 TCU 01 Gary Patterson 6.0 -1.3 .5 0 5.1  
30 Temple 19 Rod Carey 6.4 .4 .0 1 7.8  
63 Tennessee 18 Jeremy Pruitt 5.3 1.3 -.5 0 6.1  
76 Texas 17 Tom Herman 7.0 -.4 -1.4 0 5.2 cold
35 Texas A&M 18 Jimbo Fisher 6.6 .4 .5 0 7.5  
116 Texas St. 19 Jake Spavital 2.3 .4 .5 0 3.4  
111 Texas Tech 19 Matt Wells 4.0 -1.3 .5 1 3.9  
81 Toledo 16 Jason Candle 6.4 -1.3 .0 0 5.1 cold
59 Troy 19 Chip Lindsey 6.6 -1.3 .0 1 6.4  
66 Tulane 16 Willie Fritz 5.5 .4 .0 0 6.0  
107 Tulsa 15 Phillip Montgomery 2.8 1.3 .0 0 4.0  
36 UAB 14 Bill Clark 7.9 -.4 .0 0 7.4  
25 UCF 18 Josh Heupel 9.6 -1.3 .0 0 8.3 cold
102 UCLA 18 Chip Kelly 3.4 .4 .5 0 4.3  
117 UNLV 20 Marcus Arroyo 3.6 -.4 .0 0 3.3  
73 USC 15 Clay Helton 6.6 .4 -1.4 0 5.7  
97 USF 20 Jeff Scott 4.9 -1.3 .0 1 4.5  
7 Utah 05 Kyle Whittingham 8.1 1.3 1.4 0 10.7 hot
38 Utah St. 19 Gary Anderson 6.6 -.4 .5 1 7.2  
130 UTEP 18 Dana Dimal 0.6 .4 -.5 0 0.6  
100 UTSA 20 Jeff Traylor 3.6 .4 .0 0 4.3  
64 Va Tech 16 Justin Fuentes 6.6 .4 -.9 0 6.1  
121 Vanderbilt 14 Derek Mason 3.6 -.4 -.5 0 2.7  
13 Virginia 16 Bronco Mendenhall 6.8 1.3 1.4 0 9.4 hot
61 W Kentucky 19 Tyson Helton 5.7 .4 .0 0 6.3  
62 W Michigan 17 Tim Lester 5.7 .4 .0 0 6.2  
99 W Virginia 19 Neal Brown 5.3 -.4 -1.4 1 4.4  
51 Wake Forest 14 Dave Clawson 6.6 .4 -.5 0 6.6  
24 Washington 20 Jimmy Lake 7.2 -.9 .9 1 8.3  
47 Washington St. 20 Nick Rolovich 6.8 -.4 -.5 1 6.7  
8 Wisconsin 15 Paul Chryst 8.7 .4 1.4 0 10.5  
37 Wyoming 14 Craig Bohl 6.4 .4 .5 0 7.3

 

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