5. Doc Holliday, Marshall
The 62-year-old keeps on rolling with strong team after strong team. The 3-9 clunker in 2016 now looks like a complete and total aberration, going 17-9 in the two years after it and with five seasons with eight wins or more in the last six. He might only have one Conference USA title – 2014 – but how does he do in bowl games? 6-0.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 7
– 2019 Marshall Preview
4. Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech
It’s his 20th season as a head coach. and he’s on a good run at Louisiana Tech with five straight winning campaigns with five straight bowl victories. He put together a killer defense in a rebuilding year, but it would be nice to get the Bulldogs back among the C-USA elite, where they were at from 2014 to 2016.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 5
– 2019 Louisiana Tech Preview
3. Butch Davis, FIU
He’s still really, really, really good. So what if he’s 67? He’s got one of the league’s best teams going into the season, and in his first two years with the program he has won as many games – 17 – as FIU won from 2012 to 2016. He still needs to raise the talent level a bit, and he has to beat Florida Atlantic after getting rocked in his two tries, but he’s everything the program could’ve hoped for.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 6
– 2019 FIU Preview
2. Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic
Let’s just see what he does after that weird 5-7 clunker of last season. For the first time in Kiffin’s 6.5 season career – underappreciated , by the way – he finished with a losing season. He had two chances to win and go bowling, but lost the last two games to go 5-7. He’s still fantastic, and he’s doing a great job of bringing in the talent, but FAU has to be a player again.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 1
– 2019 Florida Atlantic Preview
1. Bill Clark, UAB
Hey, nice job reviving the program from its coma and winning 19 games and a Conference USA title in two years, but … but … it’s still amazing what he was able to do. He has to come up with a rebuilding job now with a slew of the key parts gone, but if he could do that with the Blazers two years ago, this is nothing.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 3
– 2019 UAB Preview