First Year Head Coach Rankings: How Did The New Guys Do?

First Year Head Coach Rankings: How Did The New Guys Do?

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First Year Head Coach Rankings: How Did The New Guys Do?

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5. Chad Lunsford, Georgia Southern (10-3)

Okay, so this isn’t all that fair considering he had a big chunk of 2017 to get going, but with the pressure on, he came through. The offense was back to being the unstoppable option attack that the school used so well over the years, there was a blowout win over Appalachian State, and the bowl win over Eastern Michigan was a thriller. The team went from 2-10 to 10-3.

2019 Expectation: The offense needs to be even more consistent, and the team needs to win the Sun Belt title.

4. Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State (8-5)

Yeah, this was Dan Mullen’s team, and yeah, the bowl loss to Iowa was a disappointment, but Moorhead kept the ship afloat in the brutal SEC West. Look at who this team lost to before the bowl: at Kentucky, Florida, at LSU, at Alabama. That’s more than forgivable. The D allowed 101 fewer points and was among the nation’s best.

2019 Expectation: More O, not quite as much D, and while this might not seem like a big deal, another eight-win season and a bowl appearance.

3. Josh Heupel, UCF (12-1)

How the heck was anyone supposed to follow that? This wasn’t nearly as good a team as the 2017 version, the “national championship” mocking and arguing was relentless, and superstar QB McKenzie Milton was lost for the season with a devastating knee injury. Heupel and the team rallied, rolled to another AAC title, and finished the regular season unbeaten.

2019 Expectation: The bar has been set way, way too high. Going unbeaten and getting back to a big bowl is the goal, but winning another AAC title would be more than enough.

2. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M (9-4)

Fisher wasn’t hired to win the national championship in 2018. He was hired to make A&M a consistent superpower that should be deep in the hunt for SEC titles and a whole lot more. With two more wins than last year’s team, a four-game winning streak to close out the year, and with the losses to Clemson, at Alabama, at Mississippi State and at Auburn, this was a terrific first season.

2019 Expectation: Yeah, this season showed that really, really big things should be coming under Fisher. Winning the SEC West is a bit too ambitious, but double-digit wins has to be the goal.

1. Dan Mullen, Florida (10-3)

After Florida went 4-7 in 2017, and appeared lifeless and without any hope for the offense, in came Mullen. He instantly changed around the culture, and … he instantly lost to Kentucky. There was a clunker to Missouri and a blowout loss to Georgia, but the team rolled through the final month, whacked Florida State, and destroyed Michigan in the Peach.

2019 Expectation: Win the SEC East title. It’s still Georgia’s division for the taking, but one victory in Jacksonville changes all of that. This might still be around the fourth-best team going in the conference right now, but now the pressure is on.

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