5. Geoff Collins, Temple
He didn’t get a whole lot of national credit for getting Temple to a bowl game in a total rebuild of a debut season. He’s a defensive coach who’s turning the Owls into more of an offensive team, and it showed over the second half of last year.
– Preview 2018: Not The Old Temple Anymore
4. Major Applewhite, Houston
He’s able to recruit grad transfers and he came up with a terrific 2018 recruiting class. Can he coach them? He inherited a strong team and a great situation from Tom Herman, and lost two bowl games and has a 7-6 start. Give him time – he’ll be a good one.
– Preview 2018: A Major Move In The AAC
3. Mike Norvell, Memphis
Arizona State, here’s the guy who should’ve probably been your new head coach. The 36-year-old former ASU offensive coordinator has gone 18-8 in his first two years with one of the nation’s most dynamic attacks. Sorry, Memphis – Norvell will be a Power Five head coach next year.
– Preview 2018: Overdue For A Title Again
2. Charlie Strong, USF
Give Strong credit for walking into a pressure-packed situation with all the expectations and after the Texas problems and coming up with a ten-win season and a bowl victory – and with hurricane issues, too. Texas had to be totally rebuilt, and he went 16-21 in three years. In his last three non-Texas years as a head coach? 28-5 with three bowl wins.
– Preview 2018: It Worked, Now Do More
1. Ken Niumatalolo, Navy
Yeah, there are a few losses in a row to Army, and yeah, 2017 was the program’s second-worst season in the era, but Niumatalolo still managed to get Navy to a bowl game and win it. Nine winning seasons in ten years, four bowl victories in the last five, and all with a limited talent base to work with. The guy continues to be brilliant.
– Preview 2018: Is The Program Slipping?