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College Football Group of 5 New Coaches and Betting Value Podcast

August 27, 2019 | Posted By Freddy Wills

When we look at the coaching changes in college football we are always looking towards what gives us betting value. In today’s article we look at the non-power 5 coaching moves and a deep dive into what coaches do ATS over their first 3 seasons.

We have a total of 13 new head coaches across the group of 5 teams, and gives us a lot to look at first year one.

1st Year Head Coach – ATS

Over the last 4 seasons first year head coaches have gone 273-281 ATS, but 160-139 as an underdog which equates to just 53.5% ATS. Not a significant advantage, but enough to use it as a lean. I thought this was interesting since first year coaches in the Power 5 have a losing record ATS As a dog. It does make logical sense, because at the G5 level there is less competition so you should be able to lift your program up a bit faster than you would if you were a Power 5 head coach. You always have to factor in other things going on around a program, but we will get to some situational spots for a few teams on the list later in this podcast. Also, assistant coaches and head coaches at this level have to be more motivated, wanting to do well and move on to a bigger program.

Temple (BACK) – Rod Carey comes over from Northern Illinois and brings his defensive and offensive staff with him. Northern Illinois played a similar brand of football compared to Temple so I think this transition will work nicely. Northern Illinois was 13th in yards per play allowed last year, while Temples was 9th.

Western Kentucky (FADE) – hires another first time head coach in Tyson Helton. Mike Sanford got fired after just two years, and had a very green coaching staff. Western Kentucky did not play all that poorly last year when you consider they went 5-2 ATS as a dog. Helton comes in after spending the last two years at big programs. USC as the QB coach under his older brother Clay Helton, not a great coaching tree, and an offensive coordinator at Tennessee last year where he improved their offensive yards per play from 122nd to 87th in one year. He did spend time here as the OC under Brohm in 2014-15 so he’s familiar with the program. Helton keeps Clayton White as the defensive coordinator in his 3rd year. Experience is good, but this defense was 38th in YPP in 2016 when he took over and went down to 62nd, and 87th a year ago, does it decline again? Bryan Ellis takes over the offense after spending time at USC developing Sam Darnold.

Charlotte (wait and see) – Will Healy is the second youngest HC in FBS At just 33, but does have head coaching experience. He was the HC in 3 years at FCS Austin Peay leading one of the most impressive turnarounds taking a team from 0-11 to 8-4.

Akron (wait and see)- Tom Arth 49-21 as a head coach at the D3 and FCS level takes over, and brings with him a DC Matt Freeney @ UTC with Tom Arth and improved their defense to the #1 defense int eh conference, but again this is a big move up for both guys from D3 to FCS to G5, and with only 10 returning starters, it will be difficult.

Northern Illinois (BACK) – Thomas Hammock was announced the head coach after playing here as a RB 1999-2002. Hammock was a RB coach 2011-13 with Wisconsin, and spent the last 5 years in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens as their RB coach. Hammock, a first time head coach can be alarming, but he brings in a veteran OC coach in Eric Eidsness, with previous head coaching experience. He also brings a defensive coordinator in Derrick Jackson who has coached here before and has 20 years of coaching experience. I love the hires for a first time head coach who can really concentrate on being a head coach in this situation.

Central Michigan  (BACK) – Jim Mcelwain takes over after last coaching at Florida, so this is a big hire for the Chippewas. McElwain turned things over for Colorado State over 3 years. In his first year there he went 4-8 and 6-6 ATS, but was 2-1 ATS as a dog. In 2013 he went 8-6, and 10-4 ATS, and followed it by 10-3 and 8-5 ATS improving each year. The stock will be pretty low on CMU, and McElwain has proven he can coach in the Group of 5.

App State – (wait and see) Eliah Drinkwitz takes over at App STate and has 10 returning starters on offense and 6 on defense. App State has been a dominant force in the Sun Belt winning 41 games the last 4 years. Drinkwitz comes over was the OC/QB coach at NC State the last 3 years improving their offense from a YPP Perspective each year form 62, 44, to 24th ranking in the nation. I’m not normally big on first time head coaches, and he’s also acting as an OC. So it’s two new jobs, but he did hire DC Ted Roof who has experience as a DC at 3 P5 programs. The biggest problem I see here is the fact that App State went 9-3-1 ATS last year.

Troy –  (FADE) Chip LIndsey takes over for highly regarded Neal Brown who is now at West Virginia. Lindsey comes from Auburn as teh OC, and is a first time head coach. While Troy gets a guy from a big time P5 program Auburn’s offense was very bad last year, and we saw the difference in the bowl game when Guz Malzahn took things over. With this move they bring in a first time OC in Ryan Pugh, previously at BYU, and a first time DC in Brandon Hall so I have a lot of concerns about Troy this year even with 13 returning starters.

Texas State – wait and seeJake Spavital comes over from West Virginia where he was the OC, and is a first time head coach. His assistants don’t have a lot of experience but come under good coaching trees. OC Bob Stitt was under Gundy at Oklahoma State, and DC Zac Spavital was a Co-DC at TExas Tech, and previously coached the LB’s here for 4 years. Overall, I would say nothing special.

Umass –  (FADE) Walt Bell will be a first time HC, and will also be calling plays as the OC. Not an ideal situation for a first time HC, who was not very good as an OC. He spent 2016 and 2017 with Maryland and those offenses ranked 91st, and 120th, and last year spent time with Florida State where they ranked 109th in YPP. I’m pretty sure Umass does not have as much talent floating around, and with only 8 returning starters this season does not look promising.

LIberty – (BACK)  Hugh Freeze the former Ole Miss Head Coach takes over at Liberty, and I think this is a solid hire, and one that we can make money off of. Freeze had 4 of 5 winning seasons ATS at Ole Miss going 37-26 ATS, 13-6 ATS as a dog. Liberty has 15 returning starters including their starting QB who I was impressed with. Freeze will bring a more up tempo offense with him, and I expect the offense to be better. I wonder if 68 point total vs. Syracuse in week 1 is big enough.

Houston – (WAIT AND SEE) Dana Holgorsen was one of the most interesting coaching moves in the off-season. Some would say this was a downgrade moving from the P5 to the Group of 5, but recruiting is certainly easier in Houston Texas. Holgorsen spent 2008 and 2009 as the OC here at Houston, and is no stranger to building a top offensive unit. The unfortunate thing is he has 2 co-OC without OC experience, and a DC from Arkansas St, a good hire, but everyone is going to be high on on Houston this year, and for me I would look to fade them at times. They open up as a 24 point dogs on Sunday at Oklahoma, a team that Holgorsen is obviously very familiar with. Oklahoma put up 56, 59, and 59 points the last 3 years vs. West Virginia.

Bowling Green – (FADE) Scott Loeffler takes over as the head coach after spending 8 years as an offensive coordinator at P5 schools Boston College 16-18 (126, 99, 99th ranked YPP), Virginia Tech 13-15 (106, 114, 100), and Auburn in 2012 (106). So not a ton of success in that role to be honest. His DC Brian VanGorder was the DC at Louisville last year, and spent time at Oklahoma STate, and Notre Dame prior. Obviously some big time programs, but not a lot of success. OC Terry Malone has a ton of coaching experience in P5, but it’s been a while, and I really struggle to see how all of this will fit with a team that has fallen apart the last 3 years following Dino Babers exit going 9-27.

2nd year HC’s ATS

I don’t see any value in head coaches in year 2 like you think you would at the G5 level. They have a 140-139 ATS record as a dog. There is value to look at however when you factor in if they are coming off a very successful year.
Team’s with 9 or more wins ATS in their first year have gone 27-37-1 ATS in their 2nd year. This makes a lot of sense to me that teams would not be able to sustain that kind of success. We saw Florida Atlantic get bumped up after their 10 win season SU and ATS in 2017, only to go 3-8-1 ATS last year. This year Central Florida is the only team we have in the fade category after a 9 win ATS season a year ago.

HC in year #3 ATS

These coaches went a combined 301-300 ATS, and 159-148 ATS as a dog. Finally these coaches are getting their players and program implemented, and they are ready to audition for a Power 5 job possibly, but still they are hovering around .500.