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College Football Coaching Changes

College Football Betting: Pros and Cons of Coaching Changes

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper,

Coaches generally get a longer leash in college football than in the NFL, but the days of old are over. Programs are eager to win and coaches are usually the recipient of the wrath, whether justified or not. And the big hats at the universities are not the only ones with diminished patience and loyalty. Coaches themselves are more career-minded than ever before. It makes for a lot of turbulence in the NCAA football coaching ranks.

It’s impossible to make sense of it all before it plays out for a little while. But there are some things to look for that help you make better-educated picks with games involving teams with less-stable coaching situations. Initially, figure out what happened to the old coach. Why is he not there anymore? Did he take a better job? Did he retire? Those are the better scenarios. Because when a coach gets a better gig or makes a timely retirement, the team he is leaving behind is still possibly a force.

Other times, however, a coach will have been fired. Needless to say, that’s because things are not going very well. Sure, there are some irrational firings that spark outrage from time to time, but for the most part, it’s because the team is losing. But a coach could go 7-6 or 1-11 and both still suffer the same fate. In the case of the former, the coach was underachieving. He was losing key games. The team was expected to do better, but at the same time--it’s not a total disaster. A new coach could easily come in and get more out of the team.

Then there are teams that are just losing. A university can only handle so many decidedly bad seasons. So the coach gets the axe. It’s almost born out of having nothing else to do. Who else can you fire? So they go in another direction, perhaps not even so sure of what the direction is--just that it’s different from the old one. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be better. Then again, when a a team is 1-11, how worried can you be about a coaching change? It can’t get much worse.

In college football, there are certain player-coach compatibility issues that are not as prevalent in the NFL. In the pros, a coach can revamp a team pretty quickly to fit his style. An incoming college head coach is saddled by the recruiting of his predecessor, who surely recruited athletes whose playing style was conducive to his coaching style. Cycling in all the players that suit the new coach takes at least a few years to take hold. Compare the styles of the incoming and outgoing coach. A close match could make the transition less treacherous.

Sometimes you see coaches get fired mid-season in college. It doesn’t happen too often. Other times, a coach takes a new job late in the year and a team has an interim coach for their bowl game. Depending on the situation, an interim coach might be able to get the job done on the short-term. That’s especially the case if the coach was struggling. Then an interim coach can actually lend some new energy to the team. Players will be vying hard to capture the coaches’ attention and the team will improve.

Follow teams where a coach gets canned and there is still football to be played. Sure, some coaches are leaving for better gigs, but most times--a team is just doing horribly. The ceiling is a little higher for college coaches. To get canned mid-season means that team is hurting. And the odds reflect that and will continue to after the firing. You might just see a surge in play for the next few weeks.

Sure, you’d like to see your favorite college team make big-name coaching hires. But not every team can sign an Urban Meyer. Don’t be hypnotized by big-name coaching changes. Let’s not forget that there a slew of good coaches out there now who not long ago were anonymous hires that people were probably not that thrilled with. And not all sexy coaching hirings entitle a team to automatic success. Keep an open mind upon hearing bout a new head coach. We really won’t know what happens until it plays out a bit.

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