Coaches are as important to college football as even the best blue chip recruits, so before you place your bets, you better know your coaches. This is especially true in today’s game given how much it changes and evolves from season to season. The funny thing is many head coaches aren’t necessarily hired because of their statistics as a coach like say a baseball player or a QB. This is a little bit shocking given the financial impact a good or bad coaching hire can have on a university No, most coaches are hired for who they know, where they are from, or what they did in one year of their career. Although this shouldn’t be enough alone to hire a coach, many times it appears to be the very reason they got the job. It’s up to us as cappers to determine if these coaches were good hires. And the best way to do that is to simply look at their true overall statistics as a coach.
Know Your Coaches Tendencies
Just as important as a coach’s statistical history is his tendencies as a coach. What kind of coach are we dealing with? An aggressive offensive-minded coach, or a conservative defensive coach? Is he a pointspread-conscious coach, or is he a coach that is just out for a win, and will ease off the gas pedal and go into conservative mode when his team gets a lead?
I can name many examples of aggressive coaches. I know back in the day Woody Hayes didn’t feel sorry for any opponent his team played, especially Michigan. Lou Holtz was an assistant on Hayes staff back in the late 60′s. And Holtz recalled the time they beat Michigan 50-14 in 1968. After Ohio St. scored their last touchdown they went for a two-point conversion. Holtz said that after the game they asked coach Hayes why he went for two, and he replied “because they wouldn’t let me go for three.” So you definitely have to be aware of the “hate factor” in college football. Some coaches simply don’t like any opponent played on a Saturday afternoon on their home turf. And running up the score whenever possible is simply a no-brainer for them.
Several modern day coaches come to mind when it comes to being point spread conscious. Mike Leach actually used to keep his first units in to the end of their home games against their cupcake competition if he hadn’t yet reached the point spread. Urban Meyer has never been accused of feeling sorry for any team. Bob Stoops teams in Norman have put up some big numbers in the past. His thinking has always been if you don’t want to get the hell beat out of you, bring a better team. I think you get the idea. There are many examples I could write on this subject. But I think the main thing to remember is to do your homework on these coaches history and their tendencies towards certain teams or spots on their schedule.
Be Aware of New Coaching Hires and Changes
I always like to keep up with both the new coaching hires and new coordinator hires. The best site that I’ve seen on the net for keeping you informed of the latest news on these coaches is CoachingSearch.Com.This site with it’s up to date coaching search ticker will tell you all you need to know about coaching moves, which are much more plentiful during the off season than most of the public is aware of. I can’t stress enough how important some of these moves can be. So pay attention to this site. It can be especially helpful when you’re capping these early games in the first month of the season when a team is still breaking in a new or coordinator or staff.
When capping a game it is also important to look at these coaches head to head records against each other, or their home records as opposed to their away records as coaches. You will be surprised, there can be some big differences between the two. There are coaches who are terrific in the role of revenge, or off a loss. This isn’t an up to date list, but here are a few example stats of some of the name coach’s records off a loss and with revenge up until 2010. All of these stats are ATS:
Jim Tressel (off a loss) 12-5 (with revenge) 12-4
Bob Stoops (off a loss) 15-7 (w/revenge) 8-7
Bill Snyder 40-19 & 51-25
Kevin Sumlin 5-3 & 5-0
Gary Anderson 5-2 & 6-1
Urban Meyer 7-2 & 7-3
Art Briles 8-4 & 9-5
Frank Beamer 41-32 & 43-19
Kirk Ferentz 30-17 & 23-21
Greg Schiano 28-20 & 26-21
Jim Grobe 25-22 & 25-17
Then you also have your coach’s that aren’t so good ATS in all of these roles, such as:
Mack Brown (off a loss) 15-8 (with revenge) 6-15
Dave Wannstadt 9-12 & 12-7
Les Miles 7-6 & 2-7
Nick Saban 1-6 & 6-4
Just to name a few. Keep in mind that these are ATS records, not necessarily wins or losses after a loss. But you get the idea. And as cappers we are only concerned about the ATS stats. Another good site that I found helpful past season was Coaches By The Numbers. This is a pay site, but it’s a small fee, and you basically only need it for about 4 months out of the season. This site has just about everything you need to know about a coach’s stats. And the ones that are on hot or cold ATS runs. Their history against other coaches and teams, etc. Plus there are many links you can go to. A very informative site to say the least.
I can’t express enough how important coaching can be in football. Especially college football where these coaches are not only the father-figure, but the glue that holds the team together, and the personality that the team eventually becomes. Just use your common sense. When you see these new coaches and you are trying to predict their ultimate success, does he look like the dynamic figure and type A personality that is going to be a mover and shaker in college football? Or does he have the look and sound of just a plain Jane run of the mill head head coach? I can name plenty of these kinds of coaches. Wannstadt and Zook come to mind. Compare those kinds of personalities to the Brian Kelly’s and the Brady Hoke’s out there. Or the up and coming less known fiery coaches like Paul Rhoads. If these coaches don’t look like they have that fire inside them, I am very apprehensive about putting my well earned money down on them. But when they have that something special about them, it can many times be the one thing it takes for me to tilt my opinion on a game.
What do you think? How much emphasis do you place on coaching when analyzing a game? What other thoughts or ideas do you have that I might have missed here? Leave your questions and comments below.