College Football Betting: Keys for Three Big 12 Head Coaches
Today we look at three college football head coaches in the Big 12 and what it will take — or the change in direction needed — in order to get their respective programs over the hump in 2020. Click here for the Big Ten.
Texas – Tom Herman
Herman is one weird cat. He thrives as a underdog, plays better away from home, and will absolutely play to the level of lesser competition. He does everything backwards and also very similar to former head coach Charlie Strong who was fired for replacing coordinators too often and not recruiting at a top 10 level.
Herman has it all in 2020 with weapons on offense, a now seasoned defensive line, and a three-year senior starting quarterback. He even has the perfect schedule with chances to leapfrog big schools with victories — and of course the potential to give that success right back by losing to Kansas in overtime or some other insanely weak opponent.
All kidding aside, Herman has two large weaknesses dating back to his days at Houston. He chooses very gamble-heavy packages and defensive coordinators that also like to gamble for takeaways. His quarterbacks also take loads of hits due to the high frequency of designed runs. Greg Ward Jr. at Houston or Sam Ehlinger (163 rushing attempts in 2019), it makes no difference as they will take a beating and eventually miss time.
The Longhorns season is complete in my eyes. They are easily top 15 right now and have playoff potential but two big ifs have to happen. Ehlinger cannot be the leading rusher again — if they’re smart he is strictly a decoy in all non-close games. The second is so trivial with a new defensive coordinator and six future NFL quality players in place all with at least a year of experience – take that 65% blitz rate from the last two years and toss it. You really don’t need to lose a shootout versus an offensively lifeless TCU. When you need 50 points to beat Kansas by two at home this is unfortunately not a quick fix.
TCU – Gary Patterson
Can Patterson stop trying to emulate former Kansas State Head Coach Bill Snyder for one season? If he can there’s the chance for huge success. If you don’t follow recruiting, you may have missed that TCU somehow signed the #1 overall running back in the nation and arguably their biggest signing in program history in Zach Evans. Evans chose TCU over Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State. The offense now has Evans and two 4-star quarterbacks in Max Duggan (who was impressive for an underclassman last year) and Matthew Baldwin.
There is real potential to score in 2020 and beyond but again we have a “defense wins games” philosophy. We also have 107th slowest tempo and a lack of wide receiver talent. What development that did take place throughout the program over the last four seasons was seemingly all focused on defense. That defense will still feature a host of NFL potential players but, the fact remains, TCU lost five games by a touchdown or less. They now have a once-in-a-generation talent in Evans and two solid quarterbacks. If they can find a way to play a little faster and use both the run and pass effectively, there is massive potential right out of the gate.
Iowa State – Matt Campbell
Campbell has made me a lot of money, but it was mostly during his tenure at Toledo. He’s a smart coach who has utilized defense brilliantly despite having an offensive background. He saw the Big 12 as this shootout conference upon arrival and, despite having NFL running backs and receivers, he made opposing teams play his style. As a result, ISU has quietly overachieved by producing 8, 8, and 7 wins the last three seasons.
The problem in 2020 is that Campbell has lost too much on defense to attempt to play the 21-20 type of games he succeeded with the past two seasons. He has weapons galore on offense, including a sure fire NFL tight end in Charlie Kolar and veteran quarterback Brock Purdy. Campbell has to be able to go back to Toledo Matt (30+ ppg all four seasons) and right away.
The Kingsbury, Holgerson and Briles eras are over and now even Oklahoma State is playing defense. Points will be a premium. Iowa State has somehow accumulated offensive weapons but need to overhaul its entire system. They do they face the easiest schedule in the Big 12 and have the luxury of playing all highly-ranked opponents at home, with the exception of Texas. If they succeed on offense they could breakthrough that nine-win ceiling rather easily.