2019 College Football Season

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Hachiko
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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:48 am

Image Just imagine what FIU might become when it has its act together! Just think of what might happen when recruiting kicks in!

That’s what I kept reminding myself as I was putting together info for the Panthers’ 2019 preview.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:44 am

Image Retirees come to Boca Raton to figure out how to reverse the clock a bit. It evidently comes pretty naturally to the football program there.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:51 am

Image “I tend to enjoy college football a lot more when Marshall’s good and Marshall fans are particularly chesty.”

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:01 am

Image Two years ago, in my 2017 MTSU preview, I used a premise that I wish I had saved until this season: that of MTSU as football commuter school.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:11 am

Image In 2016, the Monarchs won 10 games and the Bahamas Bowl. It was the culmination of a decade-long start-up process. And it appears the foot has since come off of the gas pedal.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:16 am

Image You have to give Mike Sanford this: he wasn’t coaching like he was about to lose his job. WKU’s now-former head coach redshirted quite a few of the more highly-touted members of his 2018 recruiting class last season, and after a rugged (to put it as kindly as possible) midseason stretch, his Hilltoppers played two of their best game of the year in their final two games.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:28 am

Image When Louisiana Tech looks good, Louisiana Tech looks great. And the way it happens, with high-level athleticism and giant chips on shoulders, feels natural. Watch the Bulldogs beat nine-win North Texas, trail LSU by three points midway through the fourth quarter, and pummel Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl, as they did in 2018, and you view them as the program with the highest upside in Conference USA.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:44 am

Image In three seasons as North Texas’ head coach, Littrell has three bowls — only Darrell Dickey has taken the Mean Green to more, and he didn’t deliver his first bid until year four — plus a division title and back-to-back nine-win seasons, all at a program that had just careened off of a cliff. UNT had gone from nine wins to five to one in the two years before his arrival, and he immediately flipped that win total back around.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:53 am

Image Rice’s stature within Conference USA has some parallels with where Stanford was in about 2007, when Jim Harbaugh took the job. The school’s history is dotted with random successes, but sustainability has been a problem. David Bailiff sustained it better than most, taking the Owls to four bowls in a seven-year span and winning the 2013 C-USA title.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:03 pm

Image You just fielded your school’s best defense since 2011’s C-USA championship team. You didn’t once allow more than 26 points in a game all year. But you went just 6-5 because your offense regressed for the third straight season. You averaged 16 points per game in those six defeats, and your No. 122 Off. S&P+ ranking was even worse than what Southern Miss produced in its 0-12 season of 2012 (113th).

So you had one giant issue to solve.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:13 pm

Image Here’s where I want to deliver a change-of-direction, one-sentence paragraph like “And now the real work begins.” I’m not above such a thing, and it could be rather apt, for reasons I’ll discuss in a moment. But how in the world do you top “stayed in town to lead a zombie football program“ from a Bill Clark Degree of Difficulty standpoint? No matter what happens from here on out, it’s not that.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:19 pm

Image When UTEP head coach Mike Price retired after the 2012 season, former Miners offensive lineman Sean Kugler came to town with knowledge of what he was getting into. He had a “build in the trenches and out-tough everyone” plan, but he couldn’t attract either the talent or the assistant coaches and went 18-36.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:24 pm

Image This is my ninth year of writing this preview series for SB Nation, which means I’ve written right at around 1,000 previews at this point. After a while, you start to find that you’re putting teams into certain boxes and using certain terms as crutches. You’ve got the Hard Jobs (and there are always plenty of those as we work our way through the Sun Belt, MAC, and Conference USA). You’ve got the Year Zero situations. You’ve got the surprise underachievers and the ahead-of-schedule overachievers and the a-year-away-from-shining builders. I see a lot more patterns than I did when I started at this.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:29 pm

Image Since 2005, college football offenses have converted on fourth-and-1 70 percent of the time. With odds like that, teams should be going for it in those situations far more than they do. And yet, it’s safe to say that, in the five scenarios above — fourth-and-1 on your side of the field, in a pretty tight game — only a small handful of teams would have gone for it twice. A much larger handful would have punted five times.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:34 pm

Image By August 2010, the First Summer of Realignment had already upturned the college football landscape. The Pac-10 had almost become the Pac-16, settling instead for a Pac-12 that included Colorado and Utah. Nebraska had announced it would move to the Big Ten, too, leaving the Big 12’s future rickety.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:40 pm

Image Facing a top-10 schedule nearly every year, Hugh Freeze won 38 games in five seasons as Ole Miss’ head coach, 7.6 per year. The Rebels averaged 4.8 wins in the eight seasons before his arrival and have averaged 5.5 since. They peaked in 2015, with 10 wins, a No. 3 S&P+ ranking (their highest since 1969), and a top-10 AP poll ranking (ditto). Based solely on the product, he was the school’s best hire since John Vaught, after whom the Rebels’ stadium is named.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:44 pm

Image After half a decade scratching, clawing, and program building, Martin took New Mexico State to a nearly unprecedented height in 2017 — the Aggies reached and won their first bowl game in 57 years. NMSU fans got to rush the field for clinching bowl eligibility in the season finale, then rushed the Arizona Bowl field as well. It was maybe my favorite pair of moments from that season.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:49 pm

Image On October 3, 2015, Clemson and Notre Dame played one of the most famous games of the decade.

The teams were, at the time, on the exact same path: national champions from the 1980s that had spent most of the subsequent decades in some phase or another of existential crisis. They had both recent recent breakthroughs — Notre Dame reached the 2012 BCS Championship, and 2013 Clemson finished in the top 10 for the first time in 23 seasons — before working through resets.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:53 pm

Image At Southern Miss in 2011, head coach Larry Fedora made him a full-time assistant when he was 26, then brought him to North Carolina the next year when he took the head coaching job in Chapel Hill.

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Re: 2019 College Football Season

Post by Hachiko » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:57 pm

Image Akron’s new head coach was born in a Cleveland suburb, attended Saint Ignatius High in Cleveland, then started for four years at Division III John Carroll in another Cleveland suburb.

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