2021 New College Football Head Coaches: Lowered Expectations … But Go Bowling
These four coaches are taking over okay situations. There’s no need for a total gut job, but there’s a ton of work to be done. However, with a little luck, a bowl game is possible.
Blake Anderson, Utah State
Top Lines of the Resumé: Two-time Sun Belt championship head coach at Arkansas State.
– Took ASU to six bowl appearances in his first six seasons before missing out in 2020.
Realistic Expectations In Year One: Come up with a winning record. The schedule isn’t easy, but getting to six wins isn’t asking for the world even coming off a mystifying 1-5 season. It wasn’t all that long ago when Utah State went 11-2 in 2018.
Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: At least three bowl games, maybe four, and at least one appearance in the Mountain West Championship.
Bret Bielema, Illinois
Top Lines of the Resumé: Three-time Big Ten champion head coach at Wisconsin.
– 2006 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Realistic Expectations In Year One: Go bowling – or get close. Beat UTSA. Beat Charlotte. Win four more games among Nebraska, Maryland, at Purdue, Rutgers, and win an upset here or there.
Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Three bowl games, one push to at least make fans think there’s a shot at a Big Ten West title, beat Wisconsin at least twice, beat Northwestern at least three times.
Jedd Fisch, Arizona
Top Lines of the Resumé: NFL offensive coordinator at Jacksonville for two seasons and Minnesota for a season.
– Interim head coach at UCLA for two games in 2017 – he went 1-1.
Realistic Expectations In Year One: Set the foundation for an Arizona team that actually plays defense while showcasing a consistently dangerous offense. Come up with a differentiating factor that’s good enough to win five games going into the showdown with Arizona State to close out the season.
Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: Four bowl appearances, one Pac-12 South title, three wins over Arizona State.
Will Hall, Southern Miss
Top Lines of the Resumé: 31-9 at West Georgia with four D-II Playoff appearances
– Gulf South Coach of the Year: 2011, 2012
Realistic Expectations In Year One: Get to a bowl game. Southern Miss had five straight winning seasons before the 2020 clunker, and it’s got enough good parts – and a WAY easy schedule – to demand nothing less than six wins.
Realistic Expectations Over Next Five Years: The 41-year-old new head man brings his offensive coaching talents to the Golden Eagles with a fun style that brings at least one Conference USA title and bowl games over each of the next five years.