College Football 2011: Which First-Year Coach Wins the Most Games Next Season
The 2011 college football season will begin with new head coaches at 21 separate programs.
Some of these programs are on the rise, some are on the decline and the rest are somewhere in between.
Several high profile schools will have a new head coach in 2011 including Florida, Miami and Michigan.
Some of these coaches will succeed, but others will struggle in their first year. All of these teams will face obstacles, and the success of their season will come down to how they deal with these obstacles.
In the coaching carousel you saw Will Muschamp leave Texas for Florida, Brady Hoke go to Michigan and Stanford replace Jim Harbaugh with in-house candidate David Shaw, along with a plethora of other coaching moves.
With that being said, which first-year coach will win the most games next season?
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Coaches That Won't Contend
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There are 21 head coaches, but the following coaches won't be in contention for having the most wins next year.
These coaches and teams can still have good years, but they won't finish the 2011 season with the most wins for new head coaches.
Hugh Freeze, Arkansas State
Pete Lembo, Ball State
John Embree, Colorado
Paul Pasqualoni, Connecticut
Kevin Wilson, Indiana
Darrell Hazell, Kent State
Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana
Randy Edsall, Maryland
Al Golden, Miami (Florida)
Don Treadwell, Miami (Ohio)
Jerry Kill, Minnesota
Dan McCarney, North Texas
Dave Doeren, Northern Illinois
Rocky Long, San Diego State
Steve Addazio, Temple
Bill Blankenship, Tulsa
James Franklin, Vanderbilt
Contender: Todd Graham, Pittsburgh
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Previous Head Coach: Michael Haywood
Previous Position: Tulsa Head Coach
Overview: Graham takes over for Michael Haywood who was fired after being the head coach for two and a half weeks following an arrest for domestic violence.
Pittsburgh went 8-5 last year and finished tied for first in the Big East conference.
There are no dominant teams in the Big East, and Pittsburgh returns a team that competed for a conference crown in 2011.
In order to do that, they will have to finish with a better record, and there is a chance they end up with nine or 10 wins.
However, there is a chance another team in the Big East comes in and dominates, but I don't think that happens until TCU joins the conference in 2012.
Contender: David Shaw, Stanford
Previous Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh
Previous Position: Stanford Offensive Coordinator
Overview: Shaw steps into the best position of all new head coaches.
What is the reason? Andrew Luck.
Although Stanford lost Harbaugh to the NFL, they did not lose Luck, who decided to come back to Stanford for his senior year.
Luck will be a top Heisman candidate next year and will be the reason Stanford wins a lot of games next year.
This will translate into a successful season for Shaw.
He was already at Stanford as the offensive coordinator, so not a lot will change with Shaw taking over.
With the schedule that Stanford has, there is a very good chance they end up with 10 or 11 wins.
Contender: Will Muschamp, Florida
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Previous Head Coach: Urban Meyer
Previous Position: Texas Defensive Coordinator
Overview: Muschamp was the head coach in waiting for the head coaching job at Texas, but he decided to forgo that opportunity to coach the Gators.
The Gators are loaded with talent in the best conference in college football, but so is everyone else.
Muschamp is a great coach, as seen through the results of the Texas defense.
The only problem for Muschamp is the schedule he will be facing in 2011.
In the SEC, teams don't catch any breaks, and the Gators are no exception to that rule.
In Muschamp's first year, he will have to go on the road and play South Carolina, LSU and Auburn. Home games include Tennessee, Alabama and a neutral-site game against Georgia.
Welcome to the SEC.
Certainly Muschamp has the pieces in place to compete, but that schedule is brutal. Florida will most likely finish with between seven and nine wins.
Contender: Brady Hoke, Michigan
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Previous Head Coach: Rich Rodriguez
Previous Position: San Diego State Head Coach
Overview: Hoke wasn't the biggest name pursued in the offseason, but he is the best man for the job.
I'm not sure what it exactly means to be a Michigan Man, but Hoke is one of them, and he will try to lead Michigan to better results than under the direction of Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is a good coach, but he never got things going at the University of Michigan. The Wolverine fanbase hopes that Hoke is the right man for the job.
Michigan will face tough obstacles in the 2011 season including games against Notre Dame, Michigan State, Nebraska and Ohio State.
Hoke was excited to be the head coach at his first press conference as head coach, and if he can translate that onto the field, the Wolverines could have a chance at eight or nine wins.
Verdict: David Shaw, Stanford
David Shaw will be the head coach with the most wins for the 2011 season amongst new head coaches at schools.
He will battle out 20 other names, but he is in the best position to succeed in 2011 and gain the most wins.
The main reason for this is Heisman Trophy candidate Andrew Luck and the schedule they will face in 2011.
Certainly there are some tough games, but it is a very manageable schedule for them to do very well in.
The toughest games of the 2011 season include USC, Oregon and Notre Dame as well as a potential Pac-12 Championship game.
Other coaches will perform well in their first year, but David Shaw and Stanford University will do better than all of those coaches.