The only constant in life is change. And with any high profile and high paid position, demands are sometimes unrealistic and changes are inevitable. Entering this college football season there are 20 new FBS head coaches and we saw the highest of high profile programs such as Texas and USC pull the proverbial band-aid. We are going to focus on which coaches will have the most success and why.
Steve Sarkisian, USC
Sure, not everyone in L.A. is/was sold on Sark but sometimes you have to look past the name value and look at the value of the coach. Sarkisian didn’t lead Washington to any BCS bowl games, but was that really possible for anyone? The former quarterback took over a Washington team that was at rock-bottom (literally winless) and he led them to four bowl games in five years.
Why will he succeed at USC?
Although the fanbase might be sometimes fickle, Sark has the full support of Athletic Director Pat Haden, who won’t be quick to pull the trigger on a change if things start out a little rocky. USC can finally use flex their recruiting muscles with a full allotment of scholarships and although Lane Kiffin messed a lot of things up he did leave a partially full cupboard. Sarkisian is simply a better X’s and O’s coach than his predecessor(s) and the Trojans will return to Pac-12 supremacy before long.
James Franklin, Penn State
When the NCAA laid the “smack-down” on Penn State two years ago, few people thought that the Nittany Lions would be as far along as they are right now. With expectations of non-competitiveness, Penn State has been anything but that and even landed a top recruit who many feel will be a top NFL Draft pick in quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
James Franklin enters a near perfect situation as expectations in Happy Valley have been tempered. A nice change of pace as he comes from one of the toughest coaching jobs in America, an academic institution at Vanderbilt who competes in the almighty SEC. Franklin has been welcomed with mostly open arms at Penn State and he will build upon what Bill O’Brien accomplished.
Bobby Petrino, Louisville
Say what you want about Bobby Petrino (and there is plenty to say), the man can coach. Louisville rehiring Petrino signals something that we already know about major college sports- winning is all that matters.
Petrino would have obviously been better off if Teddy Bridgewater returned for another season but Louisville has money and facilities and Petrino has a proven pedigree. Bobby Petrino is begrudgingly the right man to take Louisville from the AAC into the ACC.
Charlie Strong, Texas
If Charlie Strong is given a real chance to succeed at Texas, he will. He’s a master recruiter and it’s a perfect marriage as Texas has all the resources that a coach could ever ask for. Strong is however tasked with weathering the storm of not having a ready quarterback and coaching with Mack Brown’s players.
It’s been said that Texas doesn’t recruit, it selects — and Charlie Strong will pick the right guys.
Other hires I like:
Chris Peterson, Washington – Peterson is a great coaching mind and is equipped to build upon Sarkisian’s success.
Bob Diaco, Connecticut – It’s all about your entry point, and Diaco has nowhere to go but up.
Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky – Brohm is blessed with familiarity after being promoted from within. He’s an energetic guy who will prepare for his next gig by winning at WKU.