Evaluating 2018 College Football Coaching on the Hour Glass

Evaluating 2018 College Football Coaching on the Hour Glass

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.

The Big12 saw zero coaching changes in the offseason, the ACC just one with Willie Taggart to Florida State, and then the PAC12 with FIVE coaching changes.

Chip Kelly, Kevin Sumlin, Herm Edwards, Mario Cristobal and Jonathan Smith give the west coast league a total face lift.

While they still have to prove it on the field, the PAC12 as a collective is almost three points better than the SEC or BIG10 as far as coaching.

pac 12 coach.jpg

In the Group of Five, its Conference USA and the Mountain West as a collective, with a ton of quality coaches.

cusa coach.jpg
mwc coach.jpg

You can rest assured, several of these coaches will have a chance to move into the P5 in the coming years, if they chose to do so. 
There is also guys out of the SunBelt that are turning heads and have done so for some time. 
Sunbelt Coaches
#           Team                Coach              Metric
1         App State        Scott Satterfield      18
2    Arkansas State     Blake Anderson       12
3            Troy                Neal Brown             11

Overall – coaching in college football is as good as it’s ever been, and while there are several coaches on their way out after 2018, or down on their luck – there’s quality across the board. 

Here are the rankings of both the Power Five and Group of Five coaches. 

p5 coach 1.jpg
p5 coach 2.jpg
g5 coach 1.jpg
g5 coach 2.jpg
2018 SEC football projections on the Hour Glass

2018 SEC football projections on the Hour Glass

Evaluating 2018 College Football Quarterbacks on the Hour Glass

Evaluating 2018 College Football Quarterbacks on the Hour Glass