Power Ranking the College Football Schools with New Coaches
The college football landscape is constantly changing, particularly when it comes to head coaches.
Heading into the 2012 college football season, 28 of the 124 FBS schools will welcome a new head coach.
Some teams obviously have higher expectations than others, as some are on probation or in the rebuilding phase.
With 28 new head coaches, why not rank those 28 teams to determine who has the best chance to succeed at his new job?
28. Akron, Terry Bowden
Terry Bowden is a relatively high-profile name for somebody at Akron, but with that being said, it is going to take some time for him to rebuild this program.
The Zips only won one game last season, and simply put, there just isn't a lot of talent on the roster this year.
Bowden has had success in recent years at North Alabama and, more notably, Auburn about 15 years ago.
He will need a lot of luck this year for the Zips to win more than a few games.
27. New Mexico, Bob Davie
Bob Davie is another big-name head coach at a program that leaves a lot to be desired.
Similar to Akron a year ago, New Mexico only won one game last season and brought in a high-profile coach to try to get them on track.
Davie is most notably known for his success at Notre Dame, but he has not coached in over a decade.
He will definitely have his hands full in 2012 with the Lobos.
26. Memphis, Justin Fuente
Justin Fuente is a new name in the college football world, and he could be one of the rising young coaches.
He was the offensive coordinator at TCU the past few years and takes over his first head coaching job at Memphis this year.
The Tigers won only two games last season. While they may be a step above the first two teams on the list, they are still not likely to win more than a few games in 2012.
Fuente does have a chance to get the program turned around, though.
25. Florida Atlantic, Carl Pelini
Carl Pelini may be a recognizable name because of his brother Bo, who is the head coach of Nebraska.
This is his first head coaching job, and he takes over a team that was only able to win one game last season and finished last in the Sun Belt.
There is certainly plenty of work to do here, but Pelini may be up for it.
A handful of wins in 2012 would be asking a lot, though.
24. Tulane, Curtis Johnson
Curtis Johnson is also taking his first head coaching job, and he comes from the NFL, as he was the wide receivers coach for the New Orleans Saints the past six years.
Tulane went 2-11 a year ago and has a relatively favorable schedule in 2012, which should help them get a few more wins than the two from a year ago.
Still, the Green Wave will have their hands full in Conference USA. Doubling their win total would be quite an accomplishment.
23. Colorado State, Jim McElwain
Colorado State is the first team on the list with three wins last season, and they welcome new head coach Jim McElwain.
McElwain spent the past four seasons as the offensive coordinator for Alabama. The Rams will not have the success of the Crimson Tide, but may win five or so games with a good season.
The Mountain West Conference will be a little less competitive with TCU no longer in the mix.
22. UAB, Garrick McGee
Garrick McGee was the offensive coordinator at Arkansas the past two seasons and will be taking his first head coaching job at UAB.
The Blazers only won three games last season. With Conference USA getting more and more competitive, things are not going to be easy in 2012.
If everything goes right, UAB will find themselves near the middle of the pack in the conference.
21. Massachusetts, Charley Molnar
UMass will be entering their first year at the FBS level, and they welcome a new head coach to lead them.
Charley Molnar was the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame the past two seasons. This will be the first head coaching job of his career.
While the Minutemen only went 5-6 last year, the competition will get much tougher entering the MAC.
Still expect them to win four or five games and finish above a few teams in the conference.
20. Penn State, Bill O'Brien
The happenings at Penn State have been well documented. Before they were put on probation for major violations, the Nittany Lions would have been a top-five team on this list.
With what has happened in the past few weeks, though, the Nittany Lions will have trouble winning more than four games this season.
Multiple players are transferring, and there is not much hope since they are not bowl-eligible for four years.
19. Hawaii, Norm Chow
Norm Chow has been around for quite some time. He has been an offensive coordinator for more than a decade at various universities as well as in the NFL.
He now takes his first head coaching job and inherits a six-win Hawaii team that plays in one of the weakest conferences in the country.
They have a shot at a winning season in 2012 and may be the first team on the list to be bowl-eligible.
18. Kansas, Charlie Weis
While Kansas likely has more talent than all the teams on the list so far, that will not necessarily show on their overall record.
The Big 12 is very strong, and there are only a few games head coach Charlie Weis and the Jayhawks have a legitimate shot to win.
They may only come out with three or four wins, as it is going to take some serious rebuilding to get out of the basement in the Big 12.
17. Mississippi, Hugh Freeze
Ole Miss is in a similar situation to Kansas in that the competition is so tough, it is hard to imagine them winning more than a few games.
Last season, they went 2-10 and 0-8 in the SEC. New head coach Hugh Freeze led Arkansas State to a 10-2 record and a Sun Belt championship in his only season as an FBS head coach in 2011.
The Rebels should easily win more than the two they did last season, but a winning record is likely still a few years off.
16. Washington State, Mike Leach
Washington State won four games last season. With some talent coming back, new head coach Mike Leach should be able to improve on that in 2012.
Star wide receiver Marquess Wilson is one of the best in the country, and he will be a big-time weapon with which Leach can work.
With the success he had at Texas Tech, Leach should have no trouble turning Washington State into a winner within a few years.
15. Fresno State, Tim DeRuyter
Tim DeRuyter will be taking over a 4-9 Fresno State team with some talent coming back, led by quarterback Derek Carr.
DeRuyter served as the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M the past two seasons. His new Bulldogs squad should be able to finish near the top of a weak WAC.
There are a few tough non-conference games once again, but a six- or seven-win season is not out of the question.
14. UCLA, Jim Mora Jr.
Everybody knows about the UCLA collapse last season, but that does not take away from the fact that they won six games.
Jim Mora Jr. has spent a lot of time in the NFL, including two head coaching jobs. He has never been a head coach at the collegiate level, however.
The Bruins should have enough coming back to post a season similar to the one they did in 2012.
13. Arkansas State, Gus Malzahn
Arkansas State was impressive last season, winning 10 games.
That success led to the departure of Hugh Freeze, their former head coach who took over at Ole Miss.
Gus Malzahn was the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Auburn the past three seasons. He has never been a head coach at the collegiate level.
The Red Wolves will be good next year, but 10 wins again is asking a lot.
12. Arizona, Rich Rodriguez
Rich Rodriguez is one of the more high-profile coaches taking over a program in 2012, and he inherits an Arizona team that only won four games in 2011.
With his experience and offensive system, Arizona should have no trouble excelling in the Pac-12 next season and beyond.
Two competitive home games to start the season against Toledo and Oklahoma State will go a long way toward determining if the Wildcats can get back to a bowl game.
11. Pittsburgh, Paul Chryst
Paul Chryst joins Pittsburgh after spending seven seasons as the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin.
He has the potential to be quite a coach, and there is sill some talent around at Pittsburgh.
The Panthers have three non-conference cupcakes and should be able to win seven games in 2012. Even though this is just his first head coaching job, Chryst has been around for quite some time.
10. North Carolina, Larry Fedora
North Carolina won seven games last season, but they will lose a lot on the defensive side of the ball. With that being said, new head coach Larry Fedora not only brings experience but also success.
He spent the last four seasons rebuilding the Southern Miss program, going 34-19 over that span.
North Carolina is on probation, so there are some questions, but this program will be in good hands for a while with Fedora in charge.
9. Arizona State, Todd Graham
Arizona State was a six-win team a season ago, and they should be better this season.
Todd Graham is taking over his fourth program in the past seven years. He has only had one losing season during that span.
Look for the Sun Devils to remain in the middle of the Pac-12 for a few seasons.
8. Houston, Tony Levine
Tony Levine takes his first head coaching job at any level and inherits a Houston squad that has had a ton of success in recent years.
Last season, they won 13 games, and Levine led them to their bowl game domination over Houston after taking over for Kevin Sumlin.
The Cougars do lose a lot, including quarterback Case Keenum, but double-digit wins are still a possibility in 2012.
7. Toledo, Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell is an extremely young head coach who takes over a Toledo program that was in excellent hands under Tim Beckman.
They won nine games last season, and there is talent coming back, including star quarterback Terrance Owens, who can do a little bit of everything.
Road trips to Arizona and Wyoming to start the season will give Toledo a shot to crack the top 25 at some point if they can pull off an upset or two.
6. Illinois, Tim Beckman
The disappointing end to the Illinois season has been well documented, but head coach Tim Beckman will not let that happen again in 2012.
Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will be back and should be much improved.
Beckman was 21-16 at Toledo and improved his record every year, despite playing a challenging schedule.
A showdown at Arizona State in Week 2 is a huge non-conference game.
5. Texas A&M, Kevin Sumlin
Kevin Sumlin has been one of the hottest young coaches in college football, and he waited around at Houston longer than expected for the job he wanted.
He takes over Texas A&M and joins the SEC. Welcome to the big time.
The Aggies are very talented and running back Christine Michael will be a force, but the challenges that come with the SEC mean a bowl season will be a success for the Aggies in 2012.
4. Southern Mississippi, Ellis Johnson
Ellis Johnson has been around for quite some time, and this is his first job at the FBS level as a head coach.
He served the past four seasons as the assistant head coach for South Carolina.
Larry Fedora built the Southern Miss program over the past few years, and they are in very good hands with plenty coming back to contend for the Conference USA title in 2012.
3. Rutgers, Kyle Flood
Kyle Flood spent the past six seasons as the offensive line coach at Rutgers. He took over the program when Greg Schiano bolted for the NFL.
Surprisingly, Rutgers had a solid recruiting class and looks to be in very good hands. They, along with Louisville and Cincinnati, will likely compete for the Big East title.
Rutgers has an interesting road game at Arkansas in Week 4, and it has a legitimate shot to win nine games if everything goes right.
2. Ohio State, Urban Meyer
Ohio State is the first team on the list who will likely be in the top 25 for most of the season.
They certainly have the highest-profile head coach of anybody on the list and will likely be a national power in the years to come.
Ohio State has a favorable schedule with an outside shot to win as many as 10 games if everything goes right.
Either way, they are still a year off from being bowl-eligible.
1. Arkansas, John L. Smith
There is no question that Arkansas has more talent right now than any program on this list and is one of the top 10 teams in the country.
It is yet to be determined how long interim head coach John L. Smith will be there, but with Knile Davis coming back and quarterback Tyler Wilson one of the best in the country, the Razorbacks are a contender for the SEC title.
Whether or not Smith comes back after 2012 is yet to be determined, however.
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