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Hitting the Links: Grading the Coaching Hires

Sports Illustrated ranks the new coaching hires and I critique the grades.

Andy Lyons


Stewart Mandel from ranked the new college football hires a few days ago. He was pretty generous with his grades. Let's take a look at where he slotted these new leaders.

Bryan Harsin, Boise State: A

Okay, the Broncos probably weren't going to go out and get a big name hire and Harsin fits really well for them. I think this job has been elevated to the point where someone a little more proven--someone with more than 1 season as a head coach--to give out such a high grade.

Chris Peterson, Washington: A

Yeah, the Huskies nailed this one.

James Franklin, Penn Sate: A

Is there a huge gap in between A and A+ for Mandel or something? I know we have to look at Penn State through the lens of some of their current institutional difficulties and maybe Franklin is a good fit to get through these lean years. Still, an A hire should be knocking the socks off people and I don't think Franklin is that guy.

Charlie Strong, Texas: A-

Well at least we've got the minus in there now. I feel like if you're handing out a grade of A you're basically saying this coach is either about to become one of the best in the country or very productive relative to the school's history. Maybe that's just my interpretation. I like the Strong hire at Texas, but not that much.

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: B+

This is a solid hire but I wouldn't give it such a high grade. Mason's never been a head coach before, his resume pre-Stanford is just okay, and he's stepping into a rough situation at Vanderbilt with the loss of James Franklin.

Dave Clawson, Wake Forest: B+

I'll buy this grade for the exact same reasons Mandel pitches: Clawson has turned around 3 separate programs. It'll always be an up-hill battle in Winston-Salem but the ACC isn't terribly difficult right now and he can get into DGT™ territory pretty quickly.

Steve Sarkisian, USC: C+

The very definition of an average hire. I still think the Trojans will do pretty well with Sark though.

Bobby Petrino, Louisville: D

Whoa, that's harsh! I feel like however strange it feels to have Petrino back he's the perfect fit for a Louisville program transitioning to the ACC. Who cares if he's not there in 5 years? Will Franklin be at Penn State then either?

Here's what Mandel had to say about Diaco at UConn among his "best of the rest" group:

The 2012 Broyles Award winner impressed many in the industry during his four seasons as Brian Kelly's defensive coordinator at Notre Dame.

If you had to pick right now, who is the more successful head coach by 2020, Bob Diaco or Chuck Martin?


Here is a MUST READ from SB Nation's Bill Connelly on the most important stats in college football. Seriously, read it.

Stanford has promoted outside linebackers coach Lance Anderson to defensive coordinator.

Florida State also promoted its linebackers coach Charles Kelly to defensive coordinator.

Cincinnati DC Art Kaufmman is taking the same job at California. He's got a lot of work to do.

Tulane opted out of a 4-game series with Georgia Tech. Now the Yellow Jackets need to find an opponent for week 2 in 2014.

The ACC has released its full 2014 schedule.

Heart warming story at Rutgers where Eric LeGrand has completed his degree.

Wisconsin extended head coach Gary Andersen through the 2019 season.


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