transfer Brett Kean from South Florida. With 12 starters back in all, Kean could be the piece that gets this team from 5 to 6 wins and a potential bowl bid.
the fact that Chadwell spent time as interim coach at CC in 2017, this is truly his first head job. With the negative momentum carrying over from the end of ’18, I would project the Chanticleers slightly down for this season.
the ball. His coordinators come over with him from the Bulldogs. Georgia ran a far more deliberate offense than Colorado, and combined with Tucker’s defensive prowess, I would expect scores to be down for the Buffaloes in 2019. I would also project some stumbling blocks this fall but eventual success for Tucker here.
those seasons ended with a championship. Not surprisingly, the JUM coordinators make the trek to Greenville with Houston. Part of the problem for ECU was an up-tempo offense that didn’t have the talent to be run that way. James Madison’s offense was not nearly as high paced so expect fewer plays per game, and hence lower scoring. QB Holton Ayers had a 12/3 TD/Int ratio last year and is one of 14 starters back. I give the Pirates a good shot at a 2-3 win improvement in 2019.
attack will be higher paced and naturally result in more scoring, likely on both sides of the ball, so expect higher totals than you’re used to from the Yellow Jackets. After a 7-6 season that ended with back-to-back 24-point losses, and only nine starters back, expect growing pains in 2019 for Collins and Georgia Tech.
might actually slow down this year compared to the last couple of seasons under Major Applewhite. That’s not to say the Cougars won’t be prolific on offense, as they certainly will, but the games probably won’t be nearly as wild. Holgorsen’s new OC was with him at WVU, and the DC Cauthen comes over from Arkansas State.
New Head Coach: Les Miles
Offensive Coordinator: Les Koenning*
Defensive Coordinator: DJ Eliot*
Steve’s Thoughts: Between Les Miles at Kansas and new UNC coach Mack Brown, it’s debatable as to which program made the bigger splash. Both will be newsworthy all season long. Miles of course comes from LSU, where he spent 12 seasons, ending in
2016. He has a career record of 142-55 so the most interesting aspect of this hire will be how he deals with the adversity of losing. Miles already has had an impact on recruiting but he only brings back 10 starters from a team that won its most games in five seasons. My speculation is valleys come before the peaks for KU.
New Head Coach: Chris Klieman
Offensive Coordinator: Courtney Messingham*
Defensive Coordinator: Scottie Hazelton*
Steve’s Thoughts: The sideline will look a lot different in Manhattan in 2019 as Chris Klieman takes over for Bill Snyder, who spent 27 seasons at K-State. Klieman’s name
should be familiar to football fans, as he has led North Dakota State’s tremendous FCS run over the L5 seasons. He brings his OC over with him and his DC is the former defensive leader at Wyoming. He has half of the starters back from last year’s 5-7 team, a group that failed to reach a bowl game for the first time in nine years. This year’s team looks like a potential similar team with a lean to a game worse.
New Head Coach: Hugh Freeze
Offensive Coordinator: Kent Austin / Maurice Harris*
Defensive Coordinator: Scott Symons*
Steve’s Thoughts: Turner Gill retired following last year’s 6-6 season, the first one for the program at the FBS-level. A big-name hire replaces Gill in Hugh Freeze, best known for his 5 years spent atop the Ole Miss program. Things are looking pretty solid for Freeze’s
first year with 15 starters back, especially if he can help senior QB Steven Calvert cut down on his interceptions. His new OC comes from CFL’s Hamilton Ti-Cats. The schedule is extremely manageable and I could see this team being anywhere from 5-7 to 8-4 in the regular season.
New Head Coach: Scott Satterfield
Offensive Coordinator: Dwayne Ledford*
Defensive Coordinator: Bryan Brown / Cort Dennison*
Steve’s Thoughts: The 2018 season was a forgettable one in Louisville, and the last for Bobby Petrino, who “led” the team to a 2-10 record. The numbers were ugly, as the Cardinals were outscored 44.1 to 19.8 on average. Former Appalachian State head man
Scott Satterfield takes over after a tremendous run with the Mountaineers. It’s a big job, but improvement could come quickly with 16 starters back, including highly rated Jawon Pass, a big & mobile QB. Satterfield’s OC is Dwayne Ledford, who led NC State’s offensive line last year. Expect improved numbers on both sides of the ball and overall improvement, if for no other reason than 2018 was likely rock bottom.
New Head Coach: Mike Locksley
Offensive Coordinator: Scottie Montgomery / Joker Phillips*
Defensive Coordinator: Jon Hoke*
Steve’s Thoughts: With all of the turmoil surrounding Maryland’s program last season, Mike Locksley steps in as the new head coach. The team lost its last four games of 2018 but was entertaining and competitive in the process, including nearly upsetting Ohio State. Locksley’s new OC is Scottie Montgomery, the former HC at East Carolina. That could be a key factor, as ECU ran a very high tempo’d offense compared to the Terps. In fact, the difference was 2.73 plays per minute of offense to 2.07 PPM. Games could be on the wild side for Marlyand in 2019. Ten total starters are back and talented QB Josh Jackson (Virginia Tech) is expected to take over. I like Maryland’s chances of matching or beating its 5-7 record last year with the turmoil seemingly in the rear view mirror now.
New Head Coach: Walt Bell
Offensive Coordinator: Walt Bell*
Defensive Coordinator: Aazaar Abdul-Rahim / Tommy Restivo*
Steve’s Thoughts: Walt Bell gets his first head coaching job after serving as OC at Florida State last year and Maryland prior. He will be the play caller at UMass as well,
and tempo should be up slightly for the Minutemen in 2019. Bell only has eight starters back from last year’s 4-8 team though and it’s difficult to project improvement. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 2-10 or 3-9 type of season.
New Head Coach: Manny Diaz
Offensive Coordinator: Dan Enos*
Defensive Coordinator: Blake Baker / Ephraim Banda*
Steve’s Thoughts: Miami’s Manny Diaz hire was not unexpected after Mark Richt’s abrupt retirement. Diaz has been DC the L3 years and dubbed the inventor of the famous “Turnover-Chain”. Diaz named Dan Enos his new OC, stealing him away from his role as QB coach at Alabama. His new DC Baker was last in the same position at Louisiana Tech. There are 12 total starters back for 2019 and the new QB is expected to be highly rated Tate Martell, a transfer from Ohio State. I’ll be honest when I say I don’t expect much to be different with the Hurricanes in 2019, won-lost wise nor scoring-wise.
New Head Coach: Thomas Hammock
Offensive Coordinator: Eric Eidsness*
Defensive Coordinator: Derrick Jackson*
Steve’s Thoughts: Thomas Hammock is one of a handful of new coaches in the MAC, coming over from the Baltimore Ravens, where he was RB coach. His OC comes from South Dakota State, his DC from Purdue. The six years under Rod Carey were strong, with
five ending in bowl games. However, the Huskies didn’t win any of those bowl games so there is still room to get better. There are 13 starters back, but in my opinion, this is a rather unorthodox hire, and it feels like a situation that could get bumpy in 2019 before it gets better.
New Head Coach: Mack Brown
Offensive Coordinator: Phil Longo*
Defensive Coordinator: Jay Bateman / Tommy Thigpen*
Steve’s Thoughts: Mack Brown spent 10 seasons at UNC back in the late 80’s-90’s, and returns some 22 years and one national championship later. That title of course came
with Texas. His new OC is Phil Longo, architect of Ole Miss’ high-tempo offense. The Tar Heels already ran a fast offense so any change should be marginal. Brown inherits a team that was just 2-9 last year despite being outscored by just 7.1 PPG. Being that competitive with 14 starters returning should produce more wins in Brown’s first season. Let’s call for 4-8 or 5-7 in an exciting fashion.
New Head Coach: Ryan Day
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Wilson / Mike Yurcich
Defensive Coordinator: Jeff Hafley / Greg Mattison*
Steve’s Thoughts: Ryan Day’s task of replacing Urban Meyer may seem difficult on paper, but keep in mind that Day was 3-0 while Meyer was suspended last year, has a fantastic rapport with players, and has the same OC in place that has been in Columbus the L3 seasons.
He even managed to steal DC Greg Mattison from rival Michigan’s highly rated defense. The biggest challenge for Day in year one figures to be replacing QB Dwayne Haskins, that is even lessened when you look at the stable of highly rated potential candidates. Last year the Buckeyes averaged 42.4 PPG offensively and allowed 25.5 PPG on defense. With four starters back on offense and nine on defense, I expect both numbers to fall significantly this season.
New Head Coach: Rod Carey
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Uremovich*
Defensive Coordinator: Jeff Knowles*
Steve’s Thoughts: Rod Carey’s strong run at Northern Illinois helped him bump up a step to Temple, where he’ll face new challenges in the American Athletic Conference. He
brings both of his coordinators with him from NIU. The Owls now have their fifth head coach in four years, and despite that, have won at least seven games each season. As such, with 14 starters back and a similar offensive pace expected, I would project Temple to continue its run of bowl seasons again in 2019.
New Head Coach: Jake Spavital
Offensive Coordinator: Bob Stitt*
Defensive Coordinator: Zac Spavital / Archie McDaniel*
Steve’s Thoughts: Jake Spavital gets his first head coaching gig after spending the last two years as West Virginia’s OC. That should be exciting news in itself for offensively-starved TSU, who hasn’t scored over 20 PPG since 2015. Nine starters are back on
offense and if the unit can quickly adapt to Spavital’s new system, should be much improved. The defense was actually pretty strong last year allowing a respectable 5.3 yards per play and could also be better with 10 starters back. Jake’s brother Zac is the DC, after serving similarly at Texas Tech. This team could surprise people in the Sun Belt in 2019 despite the complete coaching changeover.
New Head Coach: Matt Wells
Offensive Coordinator: David Yost*
Defensive Coordinator: Keith Patterson*
Steve’s Thoughts: Texas Tech is well known for its offensive prowess over the last couple of decades in college football. Well, new Head Coach Matt Wells had a pretty good offense at Utah State last year too, one that scored 47.5 PPG. With
7 starters back on offense, including QB Alan Bowman, expect there to be a lot of fireworks in 2019 in Lubbock. Wells brings his two coordinators over with him from USU, and their first job will be to erase Red Raiders’ players memories of the season-ending 5-game losing skid that cost a bowl bid. All five were by 15 points or less though. Expect Texas Tech back in a bowl game this December.
New Head Coach: Chip Lindsey
Offensive Coordinator: Ryan Pugh*
Defensive Coordinator: Brandon Hall*
Steve’s Thoughts: Chip Lindsey is another first-time head coach that takes over a program that has enjoyed success recently. Filling Neal Brown’s shoes won’t be easy for the former OC at Auburn, as Troy won 10 games or more in each of the L3 seasons. Lindsey has 13 starters back including senior QB Kaleb Barker, so this is anything but a rebuild. The new OC is from BYU and the new DC is the LB’s coach of the Trojans. Expect status quo for Lindsey & Troy in 2019.
New Head Coach: Gary Andersen
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Sanford Jr.*
Defensive Coordinator: Justin Ena*
Steve’s Thoughts: Gary Anderson is familiar with USU, having coached here from ’09-12, but a lot has changed system-wise since then. His new OC is
Mike Sanford, the former coach at Western Kentucky. Anderson’s past teams at his previous stops ran different offenses from Sanford, but the talent in Logan is a better fit for Sanford’s systems, so there shouldn’t be much difference from what you got used to from the Aggies under Mike Wells. Quarterback Jordan Love was fantastic last year for Wells and is one of only two starters back on offense. New DC Justin Ena coached LB’s at Utah and gets seven starters back. Despite optimistic projections, I’m going to say it’s unrealistic for the Aggies to match last year’s magic, and I expect a plummet of at least three games.
New Head Coach: Tyson Helton
Offensive Coordinator: Bryan Ellis*
Defensive Coordinator: Clayton White
Steve’s Thoughts: Just above, I mentioned Mike Sanford going to Utah State as the new OC after being fired by Western Kentucky. Sanford’s teams clearly underachieved compared to the previous regime, so WKU brass is looking for new guy Tyson Helton
to restore the magic. Helton was Tennessee’s OC last year and was with USC before that. His new OC is also from USC, a former QB coach. The defensive staff remains in place. A total of 16 starters are back from the 3-9 team of a year ago. However, when you consider that they lost four games by a FG (probably much of reason Sanford was fired), there is plenty of reason for optimism. I expect this team to be improved and challenge for a bowl bid.
New Head Coach: Neal Brown
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Moore / Chad Scott*
Defensive Coordinator: Vic Koenning
Steve’s Thoughts: It was a bit of a surprise that Dana Holgorsen chose Houston over West Virginia, but with only nine starters back in the tough Big 12, the former Mountaineers’ head coach may have seen rough waters ahead. The pressure
falls on Neal Brown, who comes off a successful tenure at Troy. Moore & Koenning were with Brown previously, and combine that with a new quarterback coming town, this is legitimately the most unstable situation in college football for 2019. Troy was known for playing a deliberate pace so scoring and potentially entertainment value could be down big time in Morgantown this fall. This team could be lucky to win four games.