One of the three criteria for us evaluating college football teams on the Hour Glass is coaching. Everyone looks at coaching differently, but we umbrella cover a coaching staff and it all falls back on the head guy. Assistants come and go and while their value is important and can make or break a season – the head coach is the CEO of that program and he has to have the moxy and makeup to decide who stays, who goes, who replaces who and more.
We use a three year coaching evaluation number that is determined on wins, losses, top 25 wins and losses and more. If a coordinator becomes a head coach he is assigned an initial value of 2 or 3 out the gate, because we do not know how they will perform.
We give defensive coordinators who become head guys a value of 2 and offensive coordinators a value of 3, because we typically see offensive coordinators turned head coaches come out the gate hotter.
Coaches that move from one job to another is evaluated and his existing stamp or coach identifier is adjusted, depending on where he goes.
Two examples of that would be Chip Kelly at UCLA and Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M. Fisher – one of only four active coaches to win a National Championship started spiraling out of control his last two years at Florida State. He was our fourth best coach in 2017 to begin the year, but all our ingredients dropped him like a rocket in 2017. Taking the job change into account he comes into this year with an Hour Glass stamp value of EIGHT (8) – our average coach this year is valued at 3.75 so that puts him as an above average coach, but now the 21st best coach in the country. Honestly, based on our numbers and Fishers trajectory, Texas A&M traded Kevin Sumlin for – Kevin Sumlin, meaning they are about the same coach in 2018.
Kelly on the other hand has a large body of work to look at while at Oregon and even though his stints in the NFL were rocky, it still doesn’t change the value he has as a college coach. We were able to adjust Kelly’s Oregon numbers and he comes out as the 14th best coach in the country to start the year.
These are just two examples of coaches that move – but what about the top coach or two? What about the rest of the country?
This year we broke coaches into Power Five and Group of Five rankings and to nobody’s surprise, Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney and Urban Meyer rule the roost in the Power Five. Those guys are a big reason their teams will likely all be in the College Football Playoff.
# Team Coach HGMS
1 Alabama Nick Saban 45
2 Clemson Dabo Swinney 39
3 Ohio State Urban Meyer 33
On the Group of Five side of things, there are some rock solid coaches and guys who could be Power Five guys if they chose so. Our top three Group of Five guys are as follows.
# Team Coach HGMS
1 San Diego State Rocky Long 21
2 Boise State Bryan Harsin 19
3 App State Scott Satterfield 18
4 Navy Ken Niumatalolo 15
5 Memphis Mike Norvell 14
We saw a record number of coaching changes after the 2017 season and it will be interesting to see how all these new coaches pan out over the next few years.
While we will look at all these coaches in their conference previews, we want to identify a few trends we see heading into the 2018 season. First, who has the best coaches in the Power Five?
The SEC, who had arguably the worst coaches in 2017 saw significant upgrades like Dan Mullen to Florida, Jeremy Pruitt to Tennessee and Joe Moorhead to Miss. State. The Big10 stayed extremely stable, seeing only one new coach come into their conference in Scott Frost.
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