2. Jim McElwain, Central Michigan
Lost in the way the Jim McElwain era ended at Florida – getting booted after a rough 3-4 start in 2017 – was that he went 19-8 in his first two seasons, won two SEC titles on the way to SEC Championships.
Before that, he was coming off a 10-3 season at Colorado State.
Yeah, it was a strange departure from Gainesville – complete with alleged threats against him after the way the 2017 campaign started – he’s still a Power Five-level head coach, and Central Michigan got him.
The Chippewas had six straight seasons with six wins or more and went to four straight bowl games before the wheels came flying off last season.
The offense was a total disaster, failing to score more than 24 points in any game and not getting past 13 in any of the final five outings. It was a 1-11 season with the only victory coming against Maine from the FCS world.
But this year, CMU and McElwain were able to land Houston QB Quinten Dormady – who started his career at Tennessee – as a key grad transfer. The offense should be much, much better, but the defense loses a few NFL-caliber defensive backs and has to do some reworking up front.
Even with the concerns, there are more than enough winnable games to expect at least a four-win improvement, and maybe even get bowling.
The new head man will have plenty to do with that.