Analyzing college football head coaching changes for 2023

September 9, 2023 08:12 PM

Analyzing college football coaching changes for 2023

The 2023 college football season will feature 23 new head coaches at schools across the country, 14 of whom will be taking the lead role on programs for a full season for the first time. As I start my month-long dig into everything college football prepping for the 2023 campaign, my first subject matter is the coaching changes. They are always impactful on teams’ prospects for a season, particularly early on. Most VSiN readers will recognize that coaching changes play a huge role in formulating my College Football Stability Scores prior to each season.

About a month or so ago on, I put together a piece detailing the performance trends of rookie and veteran NFL head coaches in their first seasons with new teams. In that article, I found that most of the rookie coaches over the last decade managed to improve their teams’ won-lost records in their first season while the experienced guys won only about 40% of their games. I’ll have more numbers regarding this for college football in a few weeks when I look at carryover systems, but I can tell you that the success rate at the college level for coaching changes is nowhere near as high as NFL. There are a few reasons for this, with instability being the primary one. A head coach leaving in college football typically means new coordinators and new systems on both sides of the ball. This is a lot for younger players to overcome in a short time.

Typically, coaching changes at the college level are a result of just a few possibilities. First, poor performance. In most cases, this comes from a shortage of talent. Building a better overall talent level takes time for new coaches. Second, a highly successful coach leaves for a bigger, more established program. This is a painful one for all the Group of 5 teams each year, and re-establishing the magic can prove difficult for the replacement. Third, longtime coaches simply retire, leaving a huge void in the leadership position, as a program naturally grows accustomed to certain routines, and change is never easy nor always accepted willingly. In all three of these cases, you can see how finding that lightning in a bottle in a coach’s first year can be a challenge.  This is opposed to the NFL, where teams are more talent-equal, and a breath of fresh air can make a world of difference.

With that in mind, let’s run through the 23 different head coaching changes that have occurred since the conclusion of last season at the FBS level. I’ll try to provide my insights as well as a prediction on how that coach and program might fare in 2023, with a particular focus on the DraftKings season win total props. Following the breakdown of the new head coaches, you’ll find a list showing all of the coordinator changes across the country for 2023 as well.


Arizona State      

Conference: Pac-12      

New Head Coach: Kenny Dillingham       

Career Record: 0-0      

Former Head Coach: Herm Edwards - 6 seasons        

2022 Record: 3-9 SU & 5-7 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: Things got stale at Arizona State in Herm Edwards era, and there was talk of utter chaos behind the scenes regarding preparation level and players buying in. Obviously, this was a prudent time to make a coaching change. Tempe will always be a rich environment for being able to recruit kids so I wouldn’t suspect that this program will be down for long. Kenny Dillingham takes over in 2023 after serving last season as Oregon’s OC. He was a Sun Devils offensive assistant back in 2014 and 2015 and has served on staffs at four different schools since.

Better or worse in '23: ASU was 3-9 last year, and DraftKings has set the win-total prop for this season at 5. Naturally, that means the experts think the Sun Devils will be better. There are 12 total starters back for Dillingham, and he should have an interesting quarterback situation to build on, a room that includes Notre Dame transfer Drew Pyne. While I don’t think ASU will be playing in a bowl game at the end of the ’23 season, they should be better if for no other reason than the toxicity is gone.



Conference: SEC

New Head Coach: Hugh Freeze      

Career Record: 82-43   

Former Head Coach: Bryan Harsin - 2 seasons 

2022 Record: 5-7 SU & 5-7 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: Like Arizona State, the scene in the Auburn football program got rather ugly in Bryan Harsin’s two seasons. There were on- and off-the-field problems that weren’t going away until a change was made. The Tigers made a pretty intriguing hire in luring Hugh Freeze away from Liberty, where he had brought the Flames from virtual nothingness to a perennial bowl squad with a very entertaining style of play. Other than perhaps QB Bo Nix in ’21, there was little that was entertaining in watching Auburn play over the last two years. 

Better or worse in '23: Freeze served as head coach at Ole Miss from 2012-16 so he is familiar with the rigors that are the SEC West Division. Auburn usually recruits very well, and Freeze should improve on this, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. DraftKings calls for 6.5 wins, which would be an improvement of 1.5 games. There are just 12 starters back, and Freeze seems to be favoring Michigan State transfer Peyton Thorne at the key QB position. I lean UNDER the 6.5.



Conference: American Athletic       

New Head Coach: Biff Poggi 

Career Record: 0-0      

Former Head Coach: Will Healy - 4 seasons      

2022 Record: 3-9 SU & 4-7-1 ATS  

Steve's thoughts: There were some reasonably high expectations for Charlotte last season, returning 14 starters from the 2021 team that finished 5-7. That group included multi-year starter Chris Reynolds at quarterback. While he was not as good as in ’21, he was far from the biggest problem. The defense allowed a tick under 40 points per game, including 56+ three times, and the 49ers won just three games. Exit Will Healy and insert Biff Poggi, who comes over from Michigan where he served as associate head coach over the last two years to Jim Harbaugh.

Better or worse in '23: Poggi was clearly critical to Michigan’s success as the Wolverines made the CFP in both years he served there. It will be interesting to see how he is able to guide a situation that is a complete rebuild. QB Reynolds was a stabilizing factor while with the 49ers, but he is no longer there. Look for this Charlotte team to be one of the most unstable programs out of the gate in ’23.



Conference: Big 12       

New Head Coach: Scott Satterfield 

Career Record: 72-40   

Former Head Coach: Luke Fickell - 6 seasons   

2022 Record: 9-4 SU & 3-9-1 ATS  

Steve's thoughts: Luke Fickell led the Cincinnati program to new heights in his six-year tenure, including a CFP berth following the ’21 season. The impact of his departure and the void left by many of his former players choosing to leave with him will be great. Left to pick up the pieces is Scott Satterfield, who comes over after four years at Louisville. He was able to spend some time with the Bearcats during bowl season however so he won’t be starting completely fresh.

Better or worse in '23: The DraftKings win prop for Cincy in ’23 is just 5.5 as it heads into its first season of Big 12 play. The last season they fell below that number was in 2017, Fickell’s first season, when they went 4-8. Since then, the program has averaged 10.6 wins per season. Even with the conference change, that in itself is a testament to how much the experts think this program will fall this season. While the number of returning players is low, Satterfield will have an experienced QB back in ASU transfer Emory Jones. Still, get it out of your head now if you’re thinking this is the same Cincinnati team that has been ruling the AAC lately.


Coastal Carolina 

Conference: Sun Belt   

New Head Coach: Tim Beck  

Career Record: 0-0      

Former Head Coach: Jamey Chadwell - 4 seasons      

2022 Record: 9-4 SU & 4-9 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: Tim Beck has served as an assistant offensive coach at six different FBS schools dating back to ’91, but this will be his first shot at a top job. It won’t be an easy one, as he takes over a Coastal Carolina program that blossomed under Jamey Chadwell, winning 31 games against just seven losses over the last three years. Beck comes over from NC State, where he was OC and QB coach, so he is familiar with the Carolina area and should do fairly well over time in recruiting.

Better or worse in '23: Beck got a huge early gift when three-year starting quarterback Grayson McCall pulled his name from the transfer portal and decided to stay with the Chanticleers for another season. He has carried the offense for three seasons, accumulating an amazing 77-8 TD-Int ratio, and he has done it with completely experienced rosters beside him or working with newbies. The offense will be fine. The defense is where the questions lie, as that unit allowed 31+ points per game last season, a decline of over 10 points per game. CCU should still be very competitive in the Sun Belt, but they will have to do it with scoring and will be a play against team early because of it.



Conference: Pac-12      

New Head Coach: Deion Sanders    

Career Record: 0-0 in FBS    

Former Head Coach: Karl Dorrell - 3 seasons   

2022 Record: 1-11 SU & 2-10 ATS  

Steve's thoughts: Coach Prime made a name for himself by resurrecting the football program at FCS Jackson State, doing it by stealing top talent from some of college football’s elite teams. He has always done things with theatrics as well, so what has happened at Colorado since his hiring was not unexpected. It has literally been “showtime” since he arrived in Boulder, but not always for the good. The Buffaloes program has brought in a lot of talent not seen around those parts for decades, but in the process has blown up any level of transitional stability that may have been in place. Regardless of what happens in 2023, this will be a fun situation to watch.

Better or worse in '23: The Colorado season win total is 3.5 according to DraftKings. That would be an improvement of 2.5 wins off the 2022 season. Regardless of where they got that number from, in my opinion, it is a total guess. It seems impossible at this point to have any idea of how good of a coach Sanders will be in the Pac-12, how much chemistry this completely rebuilt roster will have, and how long the enthusiasm for the new Buffaloes will last. Undeniably the roster is better, and there is a ton of energy surrounding the program, both from fans and the TV networks apparently. Will a thumping at TCU in the opener send things swirling on opening day? Could a competitive effort (or massive upset win) build the hype beyond comprehension? If I had to bet, I’d lean Over on the 3.5 wins, but don’t hold me to it.


Florida Atlantic  

Conference: American Athletic       

New Head Coach: Tom Herman     

Career Record: 54-22   

Former Head Coach: Willie Taggart - 3 seasons

2022 Record: 5-7 SU & 6-6 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: Admittedly, I have never been a big Willie Taggert fan, and almost as if I predicted three years ago, he was never able to fill the shoes of Lane Kiffin at FAU. Kiffin left him the remnants of a program that was 11-3 in 2019, and Taggert proceeded to win five games in each of the next three years. That said, I am a big fan of the new hire by the Owls. Tom Herman made a name for himself with Houston, going 22-5 in two seasons there. He didn’t live up to the billing at Texas, but in my opinion, there are very few coaches capable of doing that. He is back in familiar surroundings now as FAU sets sail in its first season in the American Conference. Boca Raton is a great place to recruit, and Herman should do well.

Better or worse in '23: For as much as I like the hiring of Herman long-term, this will be a highly unstable situation to start the season. Not only are the Owls bringing back relatively few starters, including a new quarterback, but they also have a pair of new coordinators and are switching to a new conference. All of this adds up to what could be a rebuilding situation in ’23. Play against, perhaps all season long.


Kent State 

Conference: MAC        

New Head Coach: Kenni Burns      

Career Record: 0-0      

Former Head Coach: Sean Lewis - 6 seasons     

2022 Record: 5-7 SU & ATS  

Steve's thoughts: Kent State was 5-7 last year following up a 7-7 season in ’21. The Golden Flashes lost three games by seven points or less and did this while breaking in a new quarterback in Collin Schlee, who took over for multi-year starter Dustin Crum. In other words, the team remained competitive last season and the program expected to do so again in ’23. That is until Head Coach Sean Lewis tendered his resignation to pursue the OC job for Deion Sanders at Colorado, and QB Schlee packed his bags and left for UCLA via the transfer portal. Kenni Burns takes over the program after spending the last four years as Associate Head Coach/Running Backs Coach at Minnesota.

Better or worse in '23: The Golden Flashes seemed to be poised to become a consistent contender in the MAC under Lewis, as they had gone 22-21 in four years and proved to be one of the league’s more potent offenses in that span. That is relatively all flushed now with Lewis gone. Burns has a tough job to do here, particularly in his first season. Almost impossible to see this team be better in ’23.



Conference: C-USA     

New Head Coach: Jamey Chadwell

Career Record: 39-22   

Former Head Coach: Hugh Freeze - 4 seasons   

2022 Record: 8-5 SU & 6-7 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: Other than cashing a bigger paycheck, it’s hard to get behind Jamey Chadwell choosing to leave Coastal Carolina in favor of Liberty. Yes, it’s a new challenge, and yes, the Flames are making the leap from an Independent program to Conference USA, but how could this not be considered at best a lateral move? After his success with CCU, I would have expected a bigger promotion to draw him away. That said, there are big shoes to fill here, as Freeze won at least eight games in all four seasons at Liberty.

Better or worse in '23: The Flames’ offense plummeted to a six-year low 27.5 points per game last season after averaging at least 32 points per game since, so perhaps Freeze knew the time was right to move on. Projected QB Johnathan Bennett was good, not great in his starts last year and figures to get the nod again this year. As usual, however, Liberty plays one of the weakest schedules in the country once again, and the won-lost record might not be impacted that greatly by the changeover. However, I wouldn’t be comfortable laying points with Chadwell’s club early in the season.



Conference: ACC

New Head Coach: Jeff Brohm

Career Record: 65-44   

Former Head Coach: Scott Satterfield - 4 seasons       

2022 Record: 8-5 SU & ATS  

Steve's thoughts: Jeff Brohm is an almost ideal hire at Louisville, returning to the school where he starred as a quarterback in the early 90s. Since then, he has made coaching stops at six different schools, including Louisville to start his career as an assistant from ’03 to ’08. This will be his third different head coaching gig, and his teams at Western Kentucky and Purdue were well-known for their offensive explosiveness. Unless this turns out to be a “Scott Frost returning to Nebraska scenario,” it's hard to see Brohm not doing well at his alma mater.

Better or worse in '23: Brohm takes over a program that is in pretty good shape coming off an 8-5 campaign. However, things will look much different going forward as the program moves on from multi-talented QB Malik Cunnigham, who started the last four years as a run/pass threat. The new attack will be more pro-style, and fortunately, Brohm brings his starting quarterback at Purdue over with him in Jack Plummer. He threw 47 TDs versus 19 interceptions for the Boilermakers and is a big, strong kid. The Cardinals are projected to eight wins by DraftKings, and it looks to be a very sharp number. If anything, I might lean slightly Under due to the sizeable offensive transition.


Mississippi State 

Conference: SEC

New Head Coach: Zach Arnett       

Career Record: 1-0      

Former Head Coach: Mike Leach - 3 seasons    

2022 Record: 9-4 SU & 7-5-1 ATS  

Steve's thoughts: The passing of Mike Leach left a huge void in the Mississippi State program, and college football for that matter. The unenviable job of replacing Leach this past December fell to Zach Arnett, who although a defensive-oriented coach, had bled Bulldog-red for the last three seasons as the DC. The team responded well to Arnett by beating Illinois in its bowl game, so I wouldn’t expect any major change in this program for ’23.

Better or worse in '23: Arnett gets half of his starters back from the nine-win team of 2022, including QB Will Rogers, so it should be all systems go in this case. That said, only four of the starters back are on defense, and that unit was pretty sound last year, allowing 23.0 points per game, a four-year best, while holding five foes to 17 points or fewer. This has to be why DraftKings expects just 6.5 wins from MSU in ’23. In my opinion, it’s far easier to rebuild quickly on that side of the ball, and thus I’ll project an Over for this team in ’23. The other coaching changes show far more instability than this one.



Conference: American Athletic       

New Head Coach: Brian Newberry 

Career Record: 0-0      

Former Head Coach: Ken Niumatalolo - 16 seasons   

2022 Record: 4-8 SU & 7-5 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: You have to go back 20 years to the last time that Navy won just 11 games or fewer in a three-year span. It was time for change for the Midshipmen although anyone expecting a grandiose transition will have to modify their expectations. The program has named its former Defensive Coordinator Brian Newberry as the replacement for Ken Niumatalolo, who was here for 16 seasons.

Better or worse in '23: Newberry has indicated the Navy will keep the option attack as its modus operandi moving forward but he would like new Offensive Coordinator Grant Chestnut (Kennesaw St OC) to help the offense “evolve.” The stability of the system, the program, and its athletes helps in cases of coaching changes at places like Navy. Off back-to-back 4-8 seasons, there isn’t a whole lot of reason to suspect that this year’s team will be much better or worse than its predecessors. Any positive or negative fluctuation would likely come from an unexpected win or loss early. As always, avenging the Army loss will be the top priority.



Conference: Big Ten    

New Head Coach: Matt Rhule        

Career Record: 47-43   

Former Head Coach: Scott Frost - 5 seasons     

2022 Record: 4-8 SU & 5-7 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: The Scott Frost era at Nebraska turned out to be an utter disappointment after being introduced with such hope and hype five years ago. The Cornhuskers never won more than five games in the tenure of Frost, despite noteworthy expectations. The new hire, Matt Rhule, hasn’t been as glorified. However, it should produce better results, as Rhule enjoyed great success with Baylor before a failed try in the NFL with Carolina. While at Baylor, he took a program in big trouble both on and off the field and went from 1-11 to 11-3 in just two seasons.

Better or worse in '23: DraftKings puts Nebraska’s win total for 2023 at six, somewhat surprising considering that record would land the Cornhuskers in a bowl game for the first time since 2016. Is the fresh start under Rhule enough to make that big of a difference? It could be. Nebraska has been a top 30-type of recruiting program over the last five years, and there figures to be an experienced QB under center in dual-threat Jeff Sims, who started 23 games with Georgia Tech. In all, expect about 14 starters returning. The Big Ten West is also very winnable once again for any team that catches fire. I’ll take the bait on this one and go Over, figuring the Cornhuskers will benefit from being a bit less under the radar this season.


North Texas        

Conference: American Athletic       

New Head Coach: Eric Morris       

Career Record: 0-0      

Former Head Coach: Seth Littrell - 7 seasons    

2022 Record: 7-7 SU & 8-6 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: With the program seemingly stuck in neutral, North Texas fired Head Coach Seth Littrell this past December. For the past four seasons, he has been unable to replicate the success he had driven in 2017 and 2018. A lot of that was using recruits from the previous regime, however, and Littrell’s leadership didn’t take the program any higher. With a step-up move to the American Conference in 2023, UNT starts fresh with Eric Morris, who has helped lead high-powered offenses at schools like Texas Tech, Incarnate Word, and Washington State over the last decade or so in various roles. This will be his first FBS head coaching job.

Better or worse in '23: The first year(s) of Morris’ assignment at North Texas are going to be a challenge. Not only is the team taking a step up in play by joining the American Conference, but they will also be without QB Austin Aune, who after starting three seasons for the Mean Green, opted for the NFL draft after 2022 and landed with the Atlanta Falcons. There was some significant optimism surrounding this program last year, rightfully there is not as much heading into ’23. I don’t expect UNT to be in position for a bowl bid again this December.


Conference: Big Ten    

New Head Coach: David Braun

Career Record: 0-0   

Former Head Coach: Pat Fitzgerald - 17 seasons    

2022 Record: 1-11 SU & 5-7 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: The firing of Pat Fitzgerald happened fast and happened late. In light of a hazing scandal, the university fired its 17-year head coach for what it deemed to be a broken culture. That might explain a lot of what happened on the field last year, as clearly something was broken. You have to wonder if the behavior was there all along but the 4-20 record over the last two seasons is what tipped things over the scale. In any case, Fitzgerald is replaced for 2023 on an interim basis by the man he hired to be defensive coordinator this season, David Braun, who came over from the DC position at North Dakota State. He was part of two national titles over the four years he spent in Fargo.

Better or worse in '23: It’s almost impossible to get worse than 1-11 so I would expect that the Wildcats may have bottomed out last season. They will be riding an 11-game losing skid into their opener at Rutgers on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. This team in turmoil will be front & center in front of the country on a national TV broadcast. There are 12 starters back for ’23, including QB Ryan Hilinski, who was serviceable in the position last fall. The defense also only allowed 28.3 PPG, not typical for a one-win club. I can see at least three winnable games on the schedule and possibly more if this bunch can put the negative drama behind it.


Conference: Big Ten    

New Head Coach: Ryan Walters     

Career Record: 0-0      

Former Head Coach: Jeff Brohm - 6 seasons     

2022 Record: 8-6 SU & 5-9 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: Purdue fans probably feel like they missed out on a great window of opportunity for success under Jeff Brohm. The offenses were explosive, there was solid talent at quarterback, and the Big Ten West Division has seemingly been there for the taking for most of the last five years. Only last year did the Boilermakers make it to Indianapolis for the first time to play for a conference title. They proved to be competitive in the game as well, putting up 456 yards of offense on Michigan. Moving forward, it will be a big change, however, as the program moves on from the offensive-minded Brohm to Eric Morris, who has served as a defensive coordinator at Missouri, and most recently Illinois, since 2016.

Better or worse in '23: Morris gets only 11 starters back, third-fewest in the Big Ten. While he is a defensive guy, he will rely on the prowess of new OC Graham Harrell to keep the offense firing. And while QB Aiden O’Connell has moved on to the NFL, the cupboard isn’t completely bare, as Texas transfer and former highly-regarded recruit Hudson Card has set himself apart in spring and figures to be the new starter. Still, there is a reason that transitioning to a new head coach and new systems is a challenge and the 2023 season at Purdue figures to be a step back. The DK total is set at 5.5, meaning a third straight bowl bid is unlikely. I agree. Lean Under.


South Florida     

Conference: American Athletic       

New Head Coach: Alex Golesh       

Career Record: 0-0      

Former Head Coach: Jeff Scott - 3 seasons        

2022 Record: 1-11 SU & 5-7 ATS    

Steve's thoughts: Jeff Scott presided over the three worst seasons in South Florida football history, with the team winning just four games in his tenure. It has been a brutal run, and I can’t think of another program at this point that was in more need of a fresh start. With a vastly different, and probably weaker, AAC lined up for 2023, new head coach Alex Golesh has a chance to immediately improve his team’s record, even if they aren’t measurably better.

Better or worse in '23: Golesh served as the OC at Tennessee over the last two seasons and earned a shot at a first head coaching job by leading the Vols offense to explosive numbers. In his first season at UT, the offense went from 21.5 points per game to 39.3 points per game. Talk about making a difference. Can he have that type of impact at USF? Probably, but only if he can change things on the defensive side of the ball. The 2023 Bulls couldn’t be nearly as bad as last season when they allowed nine of 12 opponents to score 40+ points. The offense is in good shape with QB Gerry Bohanon returning. That group scored 31.7 points per game in the second half of the season. For a variety of reasons, I think things will be a little better for USF this fall.



Conference: Pac-12      

New Head Coach: Troy Taylor       

Career Record: 0-0      

Former Head Coach: David Shaw - 12 seasons  

2022 Record: 3-9 SU & 2-10 ATS    

Steve's thoughts: There were so many good moments in the David Shaw era at Stanford, and it's difficult to comprehend how badly things fell apart in recent years. Since the 9-4 season of 2018, the Cardinal didn’t win more than four games in any year, sinking to a low of 3-9 SU and 2-10 ATS in ’22. Obviously, change was needed. Insert Troy Taylor, who comes over from Sacramento State, where he led one of the more successful and overachieving programs at the FCS level. This will be his first head coaching job in FBS, but he has served as an assistant offensive coach in the Pac 12 at Utah and California previously.

Better or worse in '23: Recruiting is paramount in college football, and Stanford struggled this year in the transition from Shaw to Taylor, not surprisingly. Their overall rank on 247sports dropped to 61st in the country, very low by Cardinal standards. That’s not a great way to begin a tenure. There are also just six total starters returning, the lowest in the Pac-12 by far, and QB Tanner McKee is not one of them as he has moved on to the NFL. The DraftKings win total prop is just three and for good reason. It will take some time for this team to start being a winning football program again.


Texas State

Conference: Sun Belt   

New Head Coach: G. J. Kinne        

Career Record: 0-0      

Former Head Coach: Jake Spavital - 4 seasons  

2022 Record: 4-8 SU & 5-7 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: Texas State scored fewer than 20 points in seven of its 12 games last season, compiling a 4-8 record in the process. Clearly, a lot of offense, and hence a lot of excitement was missing from the program. So long Jake Spavital, insert G.J. Kinne, former head coach of the only Division 1 football program that scored 50 points per game last season, Incarnate Word. It might take a while, but it should make the Bobcats a more entertaining watch in the years to come.

Better or worse in '23: Texas State hasn’t had a winning record since 2014. Spavital actually got the program to four wins in each of his final two seasons. Those were the best in-season totals for the program since the 7-5 campaign nine years ago. Theoretically, the program is trending upward. I wouldn’t be surprised if that pattern continues under the leadership of a young, energetic offensive mind like Kinne, who is just 34 years old. One of his first moves was to add Auburn transfer QB TJ Finley, a huge athletic specimen at the position. This should be an interesting situation to watch.



Conference: American Athletic       

New Head Coach: Kevin Wilson     

Career Record: 26-47   

Former Head Coach: Philip Montgomery - 8 seasons 

2022 Record: 5-7 SU & 3-8-1 ATS  

Steve's thoughts: Tulsa underachieved last season, the final one in the eight-year tenure of HC Philip Montgomery. The Golden Hurricane had a good supply of starters returning from their 7-6 bowl-winning team of 2021, including QB Davis Brin, but they wound up just 5-7 after being upset three times. They were also just 3-8-1 ATS, a sure sign of a team not playing to its potential. Montgomery was subsequently fired, and Brin transferred to Georgia Southern. Hence the slate is virtually wiped clean for new head coach Kevin Wilson, who most recently served as the offensive coordinator at Ohio State since ’17. Prior to that, he served six seasons as HC at Indiana.

Better or worse in '23: Wilson has proven to be a far more effective offensive coordinator than head coach in his experience with Big Ten programs over the last decade-plus. He is riding some solid momentum however having just led one of the nation’s most explosive offenses. It’s been about seven years since Tulsa was prolific on that side of the ball. I eventually think his team could get there as the AAC has been weakened, but this will be a transitional year for Wilson with new systems and a new quarterback in play. Games in Week 2 at Washington and Week 3 at home versus Oklahoma figure to be play against games on my Stability Mismatch system.



Conference: American Athletic       

New Head Coach: Trent Dilfer       

Career Record: 0-0      

Former Head Coach: Bryant Vincent - 1 season

2022 Record: 7-6 SU & 4-9 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: The hiring of Trent Dilfer at UAB will be one of the most interesting coaching transitions to follow in ’23. Dilfer comes over with plenty of football experience, having played in the NFL and owning a Super Bowl ring, and having served as an ESPN analyst for many years afterward. His only coaching experience however has been at the prep school level since 2019 at Lipscomb Academy in Tennessee. He is a big name though, and often that’s a big benefit in recruiting.

Better or worse in '23: Dilfer’s job isn’t going to be easy, as not only does he lack head coaching experience, but he also is replacing an interim coach in Bryant Vincent whom the players really got behind. On top of that, UAB is moving from CUSA to the AAC in 2023. There will definitely be a lot new this fall for this program that has earned bowl bids in every season since returning from the college football dead back in 2017. I wouldn’t be surprised if that streak comes to an end. Keep an eye on the progress of former four-star transfer QB Jacob Zeno from Baylor. He should get the opportunity to strut his stuff for Dilfer this fall.



Conference: Mountain West  

New Head Coach: Barry Odom      

Career Record: 25-25   

Former Head Coach: Marcus Arroyo - 3 seasons        

2022 Record: 5-7 SU & 7-5 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: It seems so difficult to comprehend that a football team out of Las Vegas can’t find consistent success. UNLV has been to just four bowl games over the last 40 seasons, despite being in a locale and stadium that would figure to be a gold mine for recruiting while playing in a middle-of-the-road conference. This past season, the Runnin’ Rebels were close, finishing 5-7, their best record since 2017 and a five-win improvement over just two years prior. Still, it wasn’t enough, as a 1-6 collapse cost Marcus Arroyo his job. This time around, the school went for experience in hiring Barry Odom, a former head coach at Missouri. If you recall, UNLV plucked Arroyo from a local high school. 

Better or worse in '23: Is Odom the right guy to finally build UNLV football to its potential? Time will tell, but the entire sports landscape in Las Vegas has grown tremendously in recent years, and the emergence of this football program would only add to the fervor. The starting QB is back in Doug Brumfield, who had a decent season in 2022. The schedule is also quite manageable, and this team did show some progress last year, particularly early, and three of their last losses were by seven points or less. Another fast start is possible with a relatively easy schedule early. If the Rebels can avoid another late collapse, I could see this team in a bowl game in December.


Western Michigan       

Conference: MAC        

New Head Coach: Lance Taylor     

Career Record: 0-0      

Former Head Coach: Tim Lester - 6 seasons     

2022 Record: 4-8 SU & 5-7 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: Last year, I actually called for the demise of the Western Michigan football program after a fairly long run of success. It had seemed to be in doing a recruiting study that the program had become lazy, and the standards had bottomed in recent years. The Broncos were also bringing back a rather inexperienced team. That turned out to be prophetic as WMU sunk to 4-8, its worst season since 2013. Consequently, Tim Lester was removed and replaced by Lance Taylor. If you aren’t familiar, Taylor has coached at some high levels previously, serving for two different NFL teams and five different FBS schools, including, most recently, Louisville. He was the offensive coordinator there.

Better or worse in '23: This will be Taylor’s first head coaching job at any level, and it figures to be a challenge. WMU has a recent history of winning quite a bit in the MAC, but as I indicated earlier, the recruiting grades in recent years have been trending downward. That’s not a good sign for an instant turnaround. There also isn’t a returning full-time starter at QB or Power 5 transfer at the key position in for this first season either. New coach, new systems, new QB, downward recruiting trend…it all adds up to continued struggles for the Broncos in ’23.



Conference: Big Ten    

New Head Coach: Luke Fickell      

Career Record: 63-25   

Former Head Coach: Paul Chryst - 8 seasons    

2022 Record: 7-6 SU & 6-7 ATS     

Steve's thoughts: There is no other program in college football that is making a bigger transition in 2023 than Wisconsin, who moves on from Paul Chryst/Jim Leonard to Luke Fickell. There might not be another team across the landscape where the excitement level for the coming year(s) is higher as well. Why is that? Well, the Badgers turn to an Air Raid offense in ’23 under new OC Phil Longo after years of a dedicated rushing attack, one that has essentially defined the program over the last 30 years.

Better or worse in '23: This is a tough one for me to call for the coming season, as theoretically, the Badgers have so much going for them, heightened recruiting standards, including transfers in for ’23, renewed enthusiasm, the most returning starters in the Big Ten including highly regarded RB Braelon Allen, and they play in one of the weakest divisions of the Power 5 conferences. Still, this big of a transition is never easy, and rarely does it take off in year one. I am anticipating the defense still being strong, the better unit by far. In the spring game, the new offense struggled behind SMU transfer QB Tanner Mordecai. I anticipate growing pains here and the DraftKings win total prop has dropped from 9 to 8.5 since I first saw it. Both might be a bit overzealous.

I’ve mentioned some of the key coordinator changes in my analysis above but here is the complete list of changes for 2023. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the names and are intrigued by any season-win total wager opportunities for those teams, I would encourage you to just do a quick internet search on them. I only reference changes when an entire position is taken over. This does not include when one of two co-coordinators leaves and the other stays.


Offensive coordinator changes for 2023

These are all of the offensive coordinator changes for the 2023 season, with 65 in all, almost half of the nation’s 133 teams. The most influential situations figure to revolve around the situations at Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio State, all of whom figure to be in the national title hunt once again. The move at Wisconsin is also very curious, as the Badgers transition from a long-run power-rushing attack to an air raid style under Phil Longo.

AKRON: Billy Fessler replaces Joe Moorhead

ALABAMA: Tommy Rees replaces Bill O'Brien

APPALACHIAN ST: Frank Ponce replaces Kevin Barbay

ARIZONA ST: Beau Baldwin replaces Glenn Thomas

ARKANSAS: Dan Enos replaces Kendal Briles

ARKANSAS ST: Logan Kilgore replaces Keith Heckendorf

ARMY: Matt Drinkall / Drew Thatcher replaces Brent Davis

AUBURN: Philip Montgomery replaces Eric Kiesau

BOISE ST: Bush Hamdan replaces Tim Plough

BOSTON COLLEGE: Steve Shimko replaces John McNulty

BOWLING GREEN: Greg Nosal / Max Warner replaces Terry Malone

BUFFALO: DJ Mangas replaces Shane Montgomery

CALIFORNIA: Jake Spavital replaces Bill Musgrave

CHARLOTTE: Mike Miller replaces Mark Carney

CINCINNATI: Brad Glenn replaces Gino Guidugli

CLEMSON: Garrett Riley replaces Brandon Streeter

COASTAL CAROLINA: Travis Trickett replaces Willy Korn / Newland Isaac

COLORADO: Sean Lewis replaces Mike Sanford Jr.

FLA ATLANTIC: Charlie Frye replaces Brent Dearmon

FRESNO ST: Pat McCann replaces Kirby Moore

GEORGIA: Mike Bobo replaces Todd Monken

GEORGIA TECH: Buster Faulkner replaces Chip Long

HOUSTON: Dana Holgorsen replaces Shannon Dawson / Brandon Jones

IOWA ST: Nathan Scheelhaase replaces Tom Manning

KENT ST: Matt Johnson replaces Andrew Sowder

KENTUCKY: Liam Coen replaces Rich Scangarello

LIBERTY: Newland Isaac / Willy Korn replaces Kent Austin / Maurice Harris

LOUISVILLE: Brian Brohm replaces Lance Taylor

MARYLAND: Josh Gattis / Kevin Sumlin replaces Dan Enos / Mike Miller

MIAMI FL: Shannon Dawson replaces Josh Gattis

MIAMI OHIO: Patrick Welsh replaces Eric Koehler

MISSISSIPPI ST: Kevin Barbay replaces Mike Leach

MISSOURI: Kirby Moore replaces Curtis Luper

NAVY: Grant Chesnut replaces Brent Davis

NC STATE: Robert Anae replaces Tim Beck

NEBRASKA: Marcus Satterfield replaces Mark Whipple

NEW MEXICO: Bryant Vincent replaces Derek Warehime

NORTH CAROLINA: Chip Lindsey replaces Phil Longo

NORTH TEXAS: Jordan Davis replaces Mike Bloesch / Tommy Mainord

NOTRE DAME: Gerad Parker replaces Tommy Rees

OHIO ST: Brian Hartline replaces Kevin Wilson

OLD DOMINION: Kevin Decker replaces Dave Patenaude

PURDUE: Graham Harrell replaces Brian Brohm

RUTGERS: Kirk Ciarrocca replaces Sean Gleeson

SAM HOUSTON ST: Brad Cornelson replaces John Perry

SAN DIEGO ST: Ryan Lindley replaces Jeff Hecklinski

SOUTH CAROLINA: Dowell Loggains replaces Marcus Satterfield

SOUTH FLORIDA: Joel Gordon / Matt Merritt replaces Travis Trickett

STANFORD: Troy Taylor replaces Tavita Pritchard

SYRACUSE: Jason Beck replaces Robert Anae

TENNESSEE: Joey Halzle replaces Alex Golesh

TEXAS A&M: Bobby Petrino replaces Darrell Dickey

TEXAS ST UNIV: Mack Leftwich replaces Jake Spavital

TULANE: Slade Nagle replaces Jim Svoboda

TULSA: Steve Spurrier Jr. replaces Philip Montgomery

TX-SAN ANTONIO: Justin Burke replaces Matt Mattox / Will Stein

UAB: Alex Mortensen replaces Bryant Vincent

UCF: Darin Hinshaw replaces Chip Lindsey

UNLV: Brennan Marion replaces Nick Holz

UTAH ST: Kyle Cefalo replaces Anthony Tucker

UTEP: Scotty Ohara replaces Dave Warner

W MICHIGAN: Billy Cosh replaces Eric Evans / Jeff Thorne

WASHINGTON ST: Ben Arbuckle replaces Eric Morris

WEST VIRGINIA: Chad Scott replaces Graham Harrell

WISCONSIN: Phil Longo replaces Bobby Engram


Defensive coordinator changes for 2023

There were 65 offensive coordinator changes. There are much fewer on the defensive side of the ball, 48 to be exact. There aren’t as many high-profile changes in this grouping as in the offense, although Alabama does move on from Pete Golding. He will be replaced by Kevin Steele, who comes over from Miami. Lance Guidry is the new Hurricanes’ DC.

ALABAMA: Kevin Steele replaces Pete Golding

APPALACHIAN ST: Scott Sloan replaces Dale Jones

ARIZONA ST: Brian Ward replaces Donnie Henderson

ARKANSAS: Travis Williams / Marcus Woodson replaces Barry Odom

AUBURN: Ron Roberts replaces Jeff Schmedding

BAYLOR: Matt Powledge replaces Ron Roberts

BOSTON COLLEGE: Aazaar Abdul-Rahim / Sean Duggan replaces Tem Lukabu

BOWLING GREEN: Sammy Lawanson / Steve Morrison replaces Eric Lewis

BUFFALO: Robert Wright replaces Brandon Bailey

BYU: Jay Hill replaces Ilaisa Tuiaki

CHARLOTTE: Ryan Osborn replaces Greg Brown

CINCINNATI: Bryan Brown / Nate Fuqua replaces Mike Tressel

COASTAL CAROLINA: Craig Naivar replaces Chad Staggs

COLORADO: Charles Kelly replaces Chris Wilson

DUKE: Tyler Santucci replaces Robb Smith

E MICHIGAN: Taver Johnson / Ben Needham replaces Neal Neathery

FLA ATLANTIC: Roc Bellantoni replaces Todd Orlando

GA SOUTHERN: Brandon Bailey replaces Will Harris

GEORGIA ST: Chad Staggs replaces Nate Fuqua

ILLINOIS: Aaron Henry replaces Ryan Walters

KENT ST: David Duggan replaces Jeremiah Johnson

LOUISVILLE: Ron English replaces Bryan Brown / Wes McGriff

MARSHALL: Jason Semore / Chevis Jackson replaces Lance Guidry

MIAMI FL: Lance Guidry replaces Kevin Steele / Charlie Strong

MISSISSIPPI ST: Matt Brock replaces Zach Arnett

NAVY: P.J. Volker replaces Brian Newberry

NEBRASKA: Tony White replaces Erik Chinander

NEW MEXICO: Troy Reffett replaces Rocky Long

NORTH TEXAS: Matt Caponi replaces Phil Bennett / Jim Gush

NORTHWESTERN: David Braun replaces Jim O'Neil

OKLAHOMA ST: Jim Bob Clements / Bryan Nardo replaces Derek Mason

OLE MISS: Pete Golding replaces Maurice Crum Jr. / Chris Partridge

PURDUE: Kevin Kane replaces Ron English / Mark Hagen

SOUTH FLORIDA: Todd Orlando replaces Bob Shoop

SOUTHERN MISS: Dan O'Brien replaces Austin Armstrong

STANFORD: Bobby April III replaces Lance Anderson

SYRACUSE: Rocky Long replaces Tony White

TEMPLE: Everett Withers replaces D. J. Eliot

TEXAS ST UNIV: Jonathan Patke replaces Brian Gambel / Zac Spavital

TROY: Greg Gasparato / Tayler Polk replaces Shiel Wood

TULANE: Shiel Wood replaces Chris Hampton

TULSA: Chris Polizzi replaces Luke Olson

UAB: Sione Ta'ufo'ou replaces David Reeves

UCLA: D'Anton Lynn replaces Bill McGovern

UNLV: Michael Scherer replaces Keith Heyward

UTAH ST: Joe Cauthen replaces Ephraim Banda

WASHINGTON ST: Jeff Schmedding replaces Brian Ward

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