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New Coaches winning early


Coach Deion Sanders started the season by proving the world wrong, as he led his Colorado Buffalos to a win in Fort Worth, Texas. He wasn't the only first-year head coach to start the new season successfully. So, who else did?


This last off-season, 25 head coaches have found new teams, and 16 started their season with a win, with only three losing but were still able to cover the spread.


Coaches that fell short of both winning and covering the spread in their opening game include:

  • Navy Head Coach Brian Newberry (42-3 Loss to Notre Dame)

  • Kent State Head Coach Kenni Burns (56-6 Loss to UCF)

  • Purdue Head Coach Ryan Walters (39-35 Loss to Fresno State)

  • USF Head Coach Alex Golesh (41-24 Loss to Western Kentucky)

  • North Texas Head Coach Eric Morris (58-21 Loss to Cal)

  • Northwestern interim Head Coach David Braun (24-7 Loss to Rutgers)


Game One Winners:

GJ Kinne

While all the media was talking about Coach Prime and Colorado, there was another huge upset happening: the Texas State Bobcats beat the Baylor Bears (42-31) as a 26.5-point underdog. For anyone wondering, Colorado was only a 21-point underdog. What was the main factor for both teams? The transfer portal!


Both teams had more incoming athletes via the portal than any other program.


This was the Bobcats first ever win against a Power 5 opponent since joining the FBS in 2012.

Jamey Chadwell

With Hugh Freeze leaving Liberty for the Auburn job, the Liberty Flames hired one of the brightest new coaches in the game. For the past six seasons, Jamey Chadwell had been turning Coastal Carolina into one of the strongest teams in the Sunbelt conference.


In game one with the Liberty Flames, they beat Bowling Green 34-24 while the defense snatched five interceptions. Hopefully, the offense can look as good as the defense in week two against New Mexico State.


Luke Fickell

While at Cincinnati, Fickell became arguably the most decorated group of five (G5) head coach in the country. He did this by reaching the College Football Playoff as the first and only group of five team since the start of the playoff era.


After getting plenty of calls and job offers, he ended up taking the Wisconsin job. Knowing the expectations were high, Coach Fickell kicked his Badgers campaign off with a 38-17 win over Buffalo.


Wisconsin also hired Phil Longo from North Carolina to hopefully kick-start this offense, but with Tanner Mordecai throwing only one touchdown and two interceptions, the passing game was far from desirable.


The running game, however, was a completely different story as running back's Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen rushed for 140+ yards each.

Hugh Freeze

After Auburn fired the worst head coach (for Auburn) in modern history, they decided to give Hugh Freeze his second chance.


After being hired, he quickly got the Auburn fans behind him by bringing in a top-five transfer class, much like GJ Kinne and Coach Prime. He utilized the transfer portal perfectly. The only downside is trying to get so many new faces to mold so quickly.


In game one against a far inferior opponent in UMass, the team looked good winning 59-14. Can they do the same against fellow SEC teams?


Jeff Brohm

With nine years of prior FBS head coaching experience, Jeff Brohm seemed to be the perfect fit for the Louisville Cardinals. Throughout his tenure with both Western Kentucky and Purdue, he consistently made it to the postseason bowl games.


In his first game, Jeff Brohm led his Cardinals to a comeback win against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.


Tom Herman

Coach Herman is just another name on the list of well-known coaches who have made their way to Florida Atlantic. Other coaches include Lane Kiffin and Willie Taggert.


While Coach Tom Herman was coaching at Texas, he was highly recruiting a quarterback named Casey Thompson. Later Casey Thompson would not commit to Texas but rather commit to Nebraska. After never really finding his footing as a Cornhusker, Casey Thompson decided to give Tom Herman his chance by following him to Boca Raton Florida to play for Florida Atlantic.


In game one FAU beat Monmouth 42-20 while Casey Thompson threw for five touchdowns while spreading the rock to seven different receivers.


Biff Poggi

Coach Poggi is a great high school football coach, as he won 13 titles with Gillman High School and helped create Saint Francis Academy football in Maryland. He stuck with a ton of the players at Saint Francis Academy - when you go through the Charlotte 49ers roster, you see a ton of kids from the Academy. 22 active players to be exact, including starting running back Durell Robinson.


Charlotte didn't start the Biff Poggi era with a powerhouse by any means but they did get a win against FCS opponent South Carolina State 24-3.

Barry Odom

Most people will remember Coach Odom as the head coach of Missouri, but for the past three seasons, he has been with Arkansas as the defensive coordinator.


To get back to the head coaching level, Coach Odom went out west and took the UNLV job. One problem is Barry Odom has no experience out west and has to quickly build relationships to help with recruiting.


UNLV kicked off the season with a 44-14 win over Bryant, but the passing offense looked abysmal as neither quarterback threw a touchdown or reached the 100 yards of passing mark.


Trent Dilfer

Dilfer has plenty of playing experience but severely lacks collegiate coaching experience. For the past four years, Coach Dilfer has led the Lipscomb Academy Mustangs and even won the Tennesse AA title in 2021 and 2022.


UAB started the season with a 35-6 win over North Carolina A&T. Both sides of the ball looked great in the opener as quarterback Jacob Zeno threw for 291 yards and went 38/41 in the air while giving thirteen different wide-outs completions.


Troy Taylor

Taylor has spent the last four seasons at Sacramento State, where he took a 2-8 team to an undefeated (regular season) team in only three seasons due to Covid canceling the 2020 season. After an undefeated season in 2022, Coach Taylor caught the eyes of Stanford, where he would eventually accept the job and take over the Cardinals.


The first game of the Troy Taylor era was a success as the Stanford Cardinals beat the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii 37-24.


Zach Arnett

Arnett was given the opportunity of a lifetime when Mississippi State named him the Head Coach after the unfortunate passing of Mike Leach. For the past few seasons, Arnett has been nothing more than the defensive coordinator. Prior to Mississippi State, he had no FBS head coaching experience.


In game one against an inferior opponent in Southeastern Louisiana, the Bulldogs looked as dominant as they should have, as they won 48-7. Can the Bulldogs be successful without the Mike Leach air raid offense?


Scott Satterfield

Satterfield had a less-than-desirable run as the Louisville head coach, as he went only 25-24. However, before that, he was the Head Coach of App State while they transitioned to the FBS. Once joining the FBS, App State never won less than seven games under Coach Satterfield.


Cincinnati fans have very high expectations for their team as Coach Fickell just took them to the playoffs in 2022. With a fanbase hungry for success, Scott Satterfield started off on the right foot by beating Eastern Kentucky 66-13.


With an experienced Head Coach like Satterfield, transitioning to the Big 12 could be a lot smoother than with other coaches at the helm.


Lance Taylor

Taylor has spent most of his career as a running back coach and has developed guys like Heisman Trophy runner-ups Christian McCaffery and Bryce Love while at Stanford. Last season, he was the offensive coordinator for Louisville, coaching under Scott Satterfield.


In game one against Saint Francis (PA), Western Michigan and Lance Taylor did what they know best. They ran the rock for 339 yards and dominated at the line of scrimmage. Western Michigan won 35-17.

Kenny Dillingham

Kenny Dillingham is the youngest head coach in the entire FBS. At only 32 years old, Kenny Dillingham has already made his way around the college football scene as the offensive coordinator/QB coach for big programs such as Auburn, Florida State, and, most recently, Oregon.


Coach Dillingham made his first "head-turning" decision before his first game as head coach, when he named true freshman Jaden Rashada the starting quarterback.


In the first win of the season, Arizona State pulled out a very close win against Southern Utah 24-21. Jadan Rashada struggled, completing 18/31 for only 236 yards.


Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson has spent multiple years working with quarterbacks at Ohio State, including CJ Stroud and Dwayne Haskins. This helped in the first game of his tenure at Tulsa, as he found a star in backup QB Cardell Williams after benching starter Braylon Braxton when he threw his second interception. Cardell Williams completed 13/14 passes and threw for three touchdowns with 233 yards in Tulsa's 42-7 win over Arkansas Pine Bluff.

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