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2019 Power 5 Coaching Changes

August 16, 2019 | Posted By Freddy Wills

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2019 Power 5 Coaching Changes

In 2018 we had big coaching changes in Power Five College Football with programs like Florida, Florida State, Texas A&M and Nebraska getting new coaches. All of those coaches return for year #2, and we will talk about what that means from a betting perspective later. In 2019 we have a lot of new coaches again with a total of 11 in the Power Five conferences including big programs like Miami and Ohio State. Let’s break down each of the new 11 coaches, and then we will talk about how first year head coaches do in their first year against the spread, as well as second year, and third year head coaches with some big opportunities to pick double digit dogs for outright upsets.

  • Ryan Day – Day will have to replace Urban Meyer, and everything he has accomplished here, but he has been groomed for this job. Coached the first 3 games last year and the team seemed to play their best going 3-0, and 2-0-1 ATS. He was also a QB coach under Chip Kelly in the NFL so he has coached under two of the best college football coaches ever. He has the same OC in Kevin Wilson, and DC Greg Mattison (Michigan) coming over with a ton of experience in this conference.
  • MIke Locksley (Maryland) – Locksley is a guy I have no problem fading as he does not have a ton of head coaching experience (previously at New Mexico). This really was a recruiting hire. I believe the offense will score a lot of points, with the addition of Josh Jackson at QB (transfer for VA Tech), and the hire of Scottie Montgomery as the new OC.
  • Scott Satterfield (Louisville) – Satterfield was the head coach at App State the last 6 years and posted a 51-24 record, but just 6-7 ATS as a dog.  Satterfield really achieved a lot at App State bringing that team into FBS and doing well. I think it will be a challenging year for him moving to Power 5 Conference football with a first time OC, and a DC in Bryan Brown who he took with him who only has 1 year of coordinating experiencing.
  • Manny Diaz (Miami) – This is Manny Diaz first year as a head coach. Diaz has excelled as the defensive coordinator here the last 3 years, and was the DC at MIss State, and Texas prior. Over the last 3 years Miami has been in the top 20 in yards per play allowed and have improved each year ranking 16th, 9th, and 3rd. I like the Diaz hire, and Diaz brings over OC Dan Enos, who was the QB coach at Alabama, but has head coaching experience. Diaz also grabs BAlke Baker who spent the last 4 years with LA Tech as their DC which produced rankings of 44th, 66th, 64th, and 25th in yards per play allowed which is very good for a non power 5 program.
  • Mack Brown (UNC) – Formerly of Texas, Brown has 30 years of experience. Previously coached here from 88-97. Brown brings in OC Phil Longo of Ole Miss to help the offense. Longo’s Ole Miss team the last two years ranked 12th, and 10th in yards per play against SEC defenses. Brown also grabs Army’s defensive coordinator Jay Bateman. Bateman’s Army defenses over achieved ranking 48th and 66th in yards per play allowed the last two years.
  • Geoff Collins (Georgia Tech) – Paul Johnson is gone and so is the triple option. This is going to be a huge transition year as Tech just doesn’t have the personnel to run a traditional offense. Collins has shown to be a fine coach, and is defensive minded so expect the games to slow down a ton, as Collins rebrands this program. They have an easy schedule early which could provide some buzz, and some betting value to fade them once they get into conference play. AFter all they are ranked 122nd in experience.
  • Matt Wells (Texas Tech) – Wells comes over from Utah State, and was a 2 time Mountain West Coach of the year, but he’s going to have his work cut out for him at Texas Tech. The good news is Wells brings over both OC and DC from Utah State, but this group was 11-19 ATS as an underdog @ Utah State.
  • Chris Klieman (Kansas State) – Klieman is replacing a legend in Bill Snyder, but Klieman has a winning pedigree with National Championships at the FCS level with N. Dakota State. The transition from FCS to FBS is not always a kind one, but this is a double jump stepping all the way up to P5 school, with a team already playing with less talent. It will be hard to see this team getting to a bowl game this year.
  • Neal Brown (West Virginia) – Dana Holgorsen moved onto Houston in surprising fashion, and West Virginia grabbed one of the hottest names on the coaching market. Brown comes over from Troy, where he led them to 3 straight double digit winning seasons. Brown went 5-1 ATS during that time as a road dog with upsets at Nebraska last year, @ LSU in 2017. He has his work cut out with only 9 returning starters. HIs assistants have experience, but not at the Power 5 level.
  • Les Miles (Kansas) – Miles has not coached since 2016, and is in a similar situation as Mack Brown. Had a lot of success at LSU and even won a national title, but he takes over at Kansas, a team that only returns 10 starters. Kansas went 3-9 last year, but they had 3 total wins the 3 previous seasons. There is not much to get excited about here as Miles was 8-10 ATS as a dog in his last 8 years at LSU.
  • Mel Tucker (Coloardo) – Tucker has just 11 starters to work with and he’s in his first ever year as a head coach. The PAC 12 has been down in recent years, but he takes over a team with far less talent. Tucker comes over after being with Georgia as the defensive coordinator the last 3 years with great success, but the fact that it is his first year as a head coach, and his assistants also were not coordinators in the last 3 years leads me to believe this will be a tough year for Colorado.

1st Year HC’s Against The Spread – Power 5

Over the last 4 years first year head coaches have gone 222-223 ATS. Almost exactly 50% ATS, which is not significant at all. However, when we dig deeper and look at these first year head coaches as under dogs they are 107-135 ATS. Fading these coaches as dogs would produce a 55.7% ATS mark, which is a lot nicer, but I wanted to filter this even more. Last year I mentioned that you would want to take the elite coaches with experience out of the “fade” role. In 2017 you’d take out Kirby Smart, Tom Herman, Josh Wilcox, Matt Campbell, Justin Fuente who went 23-10 ATS as a dog. I mentioned in 2018 that comparable coaches are Dan Mullen, Scott Frost, Jimbo Fisher, and Chip Kelly, who went 15-8 ATS. The rest of the coaches went 20-32 ATS as dogs. In 2019 there really are not a ton of top tier coaches that I would put in the category of the coaches we mentioned earlier. Those would be Ryan Day, Manny Diaz, Neal Brown and maybe Mack Brown & Les Miles since they won a National Championship, and aren’t getting the buzz which should create plenty of value spots. The rest of the coaches I would put in “fade” mode as a dog.

2nd Year Head Coaches Power 5:

Over the last 3 years Power Five Conference head coaches in their second year have gone a combined 228-208 ATS, and 99-80 ATS as an underdog. There were several 2nd year head coaches with huge upsets as under dogs including Purdue who upset OHio State as a 12 point dog on the road winning 49-20. California upset highly ranked Washington asa n 11 point dog on the road, and Texas upset Oklahoma also winning outright as a 7 point dog on neutral field. So who among this year’s second year head coaches might be in similar roles? Texas A&M & Jimbo Fisher are likely to be under dogs at Clemson, at home vs Alabama, and at Georgia, and LSU. I could easily see the Aggies upsetting 2 of those teams. Fisher obviously very familiar with Clemson and nearly upset them at home last year in week #2.
Tennessee and Jeremy Pruit showed some signs as a road dog last year going 3-1 ATS with an upset at Auburn as a 14 point dog, and with 16 returning starters, 10 on offense there is no reason they couldn’t pull an upset at Florida, in week 4 where they’ll likely be a 10 point dog or more.
Nebraska and Scott Frost went 5-2 ATS as a dog and really played great down the stretch once his system was fully implemented. They will likely be dogs in their home game against Ohio State which will be a good time for an upset against a first year head coach Ryan Day. Nebraska nearly upset Ohio State last year as an a 18 point dog losing in the final seconds 31-36, but easily covering the spread.
UCLA, and Chip Kelly have to be a team we talk about as Chip Kelly is one of the more innovative head coaches we have seen. They have 19 returning starters following a 3-9 year, and I think they are poised to pull upsets in 2 of these games, Oklahoma (home) at Washington State, at Stanford, at Utah or at USC, but I feel confident they will go 3-2 or better ATS.