Who’s Next to the elite coaching party? Probably not who you think
This past year we saw Georgia crash the College Football Playoff party and a resurgence of sorts is underway in Athens, and in a big way under Kerby Smart. Many people doubted Smart a year ago, but we didn’t. We had Georgia 11-1, losing to only Auburn – but losing in the SEC Championship. We were 100 percent last April on our Georgia analytics a year ago in the regular season, then they just decided to prove everyone wrong and dang near won the National Championship.
For us, they projected to do what they did, just not as fast as they did it. So as trends and fads go, everyone will now jump on the Smart train and rightfully so as the Bulldogs just hauled in a record recruiting class and show no signs of slowing down.
But is Kerby Smart really the next coach to join the big three of Meyer, Saban and Dabo; the elites, best of the best in coaching? Throw in Jimbo Fisher and only four active coaches have won a National Title.
Money is on Smart to win a title over the next five years, but he isn’t the coach you need to be looking at as the next “IT” man. If you are wanting that coach you need to look out west in the PAC-12 where Chris Peterson is quietly building something special at Washington.
The Huskies of Washington don’t have the luster of an Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame or other blue bloods, but they have a proud history winning the 1960 and 1991 National Titles. You could debate 1910, 1984 and 1990 for them if you wanted too.
Everyone knows Peterson best from his days at Boise State where he rocked college football and racked up a 92-12 record from 2001-2005. Peterson left Boise to head to Washington, where he has been slowly building a winner and power house out west.
Peterson is now our fifth best coach on our three year analytical coaching scale, joining Stanford’s David Shaw as the lone PAC12 coaches in our top ten.
Clay Helton is right around ten from USC, but that is proving to be more about SC’s overall talent and quarterback play recently.
After starting off his career at Washington in 2014 with an eight win season, followed by a seven win season, we’ve seen the Huskies ride the double digit win lightening the last two years and make the College Football Playoff (2016).
We’ve also seen a change in recruiting at Washington, where the Huskies have gradually gotten better since Peterson arrived, ever so slowly climbing towards our Realistic Title game talent line and our Championship bust line.
The Huskies currently sit at number 20 in our talent profiles, but are just points from passing teams like UCLA, Oregon and Texas A&M.
Another area the Huskies are in good shape is at quarterback as they return the ninth best quarterback on our P5 metric in Jake Browning. Browning has had a great career and has the stuff to have a great senior year. The Huskies also landed Georgia transfer Jacob Eason this offseason, so the position looks set for Peterson for some time to come.
We don’t expect Washington to win a National Title this year, but the College Football Playoff is well within play again for Peterson.
If they continue to improve recruiting, look out for this team and this coach. Washington opens up on the road this year on a neutral field against Auburn in Atlanta, and if they can get a win on this stage, that could propel the Huskies into a huge 2018 year. Currently our numbers show Washington as a one point favorite in that ball game.
Chris Peterson has accomplished a ton as a head coach at Boise and Washington, and while some forget he’s out there on those late night PAC12 games - don’t sleep on the west coast whiz kid.
He could be the next big coach to join the elite party. He’s got Washington on a trajectory to do so.