College Football Betting: Eddie Walls Grades 2020’s Head Coaching Hires Part III
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors – Todd Graham C
Let’s be honest. Graham wins games. He is 95-61 in his career. In my mind, he didn’t deserve to be fired from Arizona State but he was always looking for a better job and more money. The smaller the school the more vigilant his agent would become. Rice, Pitt, and seemingly Tulsa were only temporary stops along the way. He will change Hawaii’s offense, be more defensive-minded, and will have to do so with a very young roster. If he loses, it will be normal regression and if he wins he will leave for a better job. I do like the program’s gamble to keep winning rather than rebuild.
Arkansas Razorbacks – Sam Pittman C-
Let’s just call Arkansas a lost cause at this point. They tried the best available up-and-coming coordinator route and it backfired. Now they will go with a 61-year-old first-time head coach. Pittman has never been an offensive or defensive coordinator, instead spending much of his 32-year coaching career as an offensive line coach. He did make two intriguing coordinator hires and inherits three great recruiting classes. There are conservative hires and wild card hires but this falls into the weird category. Pittman has nothing to suggest other schools were knocking at his door and yet here he is being paid an SEC head coach salary. I hope I am wrong here as I generally cheer for the small programs of the SEC but this seems like stopgap until they can land a bigger name.
UTSA Roadrunners – Jeff Traylor D
Traylor is a first-time head coach with four years of college football coaching experience — none of those four seasons were all that impressive. Prior to that he earned legendary status as a Texas high school coach. The problem is, UTSA just fired a guy with an identical background. I loved the direction the Roadrunners were headed under Frank Wilson at the end 2019 and to hit the reset button, particularly on offense, seems puzzling.
Michigan State Spartans – Mel Tucker D
Tucker has been fired more times than the amount of wins (5) he’s posted as a head coach. Yes, he’s only coached one season but what did we learn? While at Colorado, he focused on defense and was largely unimaginative and conservative on offense despite an NFL wide receiver and an above average quarterback. Who does this remind you of? Mark Dantonio, of course. Dantonio just posted back-to-back 7-6 seasons and never managed to rank inside the top 100 in total offense. Now you bring in the same philosophy though far less experience and pay him a top 5 salary despite that fact that recruiting is trending in the wrong direction and a massive rebuild is on the horizon. Michigan State could have gotten Dabo Swinney to at least “listen” given the buyout from Colorado and ridiculous contract.
San Diego State Aztecs – Brady Hoke F
Posting double-digit wins year in and year out was apparently too boring for San Diego State. Let’s go out and get someone who can help shine a light on the program…why?!?! Then came the Hoke hire! He was SDSU’s head coach in 2009 and 2010 and then left for Michigan only to make a fool of himself. And Hoke never won more than nine games which would technically be a mediocre season by SDSU’s recent standards. Hoke has a defensive-only background. He’s also been fired by four different schools in five seasons. Nothing makes sense about this hire. Maybe the Aztecs score more and let the defense slip some. But who would that appease?
Colorado Buffaloes – Karl Dorrell F
I had to do some digging to find info on Dorrell. Even he had to think they were joking when they called to ask for a interview. Well, here we are. Dorrell has been a wide receiver coach more than anything else since his four-year head coaching stint at UCLA which ended in 2007. His teams were offensive driven but never lived up to the expectations. He was a one-and-done NFL receiver and quarterback coach and his one season as Vanderbilt’s offensive coordinator never panned out. Colorado has talent, but it’s young and under Tucker they were building a defensive identity. The program has a reputation of panicking when it comes to coaching hires. They have a surplus of cash, their best recruiting class in a decade, and are seemingly in position to win now. But they instead went with an out-of-the-box hire that makes it seem like they are willing to take a rebuild approach.
Colorado State Rams – Steve Addazio F
This hire is laughable. I believe I was among the first to uncover what happened in Fort Collins. Urban Meyer was hired as a consultant to help CSU find its next coach. He of course recommended his good friend and former OC at Florida, Steve Addazio, who was just fired from Boston College. Addazio then hired Meyers’ stepson as director of football operations. Meyers’ stepson then hired Addazio’s son as offensive line coach from Bowling Green — one of the worst o-lines in FBS. As for Adazzio, he essentially “lost” last year’s BC team with players openly admitting they did not enjoy playing for him. He’s also an atrocious recruiter who has no ties to the area. And what’s worse is CSU was on the cusp of a breakthrough assuming one of the nation’s worst defenses managed to improve. Any other hired would have yielded a 6- or 7-win season. Instead, this hire all but ensures even more regression. And if Adazzio does manage to win, he’ll be quick to snag a bigger and better job.