Nick Saban (Alabama):
Prev. Season – 6-6
1st year – 7-6 (Bowl Win)
Wins – Vandy, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Tennessee
Arkansas and Vandy on the road are solid wins. They clobbered Tennessee 41-17 at home which is a huge win. Ole Miss was in the last year of the Ed Orgeron show so nothing major there.
Losses – UGA, LSU, Miss. St., and Auburn
UGA was a three point loss in OT at home and the others are within 7 points. Not bad losses in my book. No embarrassing conference losses.
Non-Conf: 3-2 (Bowl Win)
Wins – Western Carolina and UH in regular season and Colorado in their bowl game.
Opened up the Saban Era with a blowout 52-6 win over Western Carolina and held off UH by 6 at home. Beat CU by 6 in Shreveport.
Losses – Fla. St. on the road and ULa-Monroe at home.
The ULaMo loss is pretty suspect but both losses were both at 7 points.
Overall Thought – Not a stellar record but every loss was within 7 points and beat some decent teams in Tennessee and Arkansas in conference. Due to the closeness of the losses you can definitely point to something brewing. We all know how 2008 is going so no need to comment.
Butch Davis (North Carolina):
Prev. Season – 3-9
1st year – 4-8 (No Bowl)
Wins – Miami, Maryland, and Duke
Miami and Maryland are nice wins but they did have to take Duke to overtime.
Losses – UVA, Va. Tech, Wake Forest, NC State, and Ga. Tech
All of their losses were within 7 points with the exception of a 27 point loss on the road to Wake Forest. UVA and Ga. Tech were within 2 points.
Wins – James Madison
23 point win at home to open the Butch Davis era.
Losses – East Carolina, South Florida, and South Carolina
East Carolina and South Carolina were within 6 points and they got blown out by 27 in Tampa.
Overall Thought – Not a stellar record but only had 2 blowouts by more than 7 and both were on the road to pretty good teams in Wake Forest and South Florida. Record is not good but they were competitive in all but 2 games. In 2008 their only loss is a 3 point loss to Va. Tech with nice wins over Miami and Rutgers on the road and UConn and Notre Dame at home. They’re sitting at 5-1 and will likely go better than 8-4 and possibly 10-2.
Mike Dantonio (Mich. State):
Prev. Season – 4-8
1st year – 7-6 (Bowl Loss)
Wins – Indiana, Purdue, and Penn St.
Blew out Indiana by 25 at home, thumped Purdue by 17 on the road, and beat Penn St. at home by 4.
Losses – Wisconsin, Northwestern, Ohio State, Iowa, and Michigan
All of their losses were within 7 points including a 24-17 loss in Columbus to Ohio State. Loss to Wisconsin by 3 in Madison. All loses were on the road except a 7 point overtime loss to Northwestern at home.
Non-Conf: 4-1 (Bowl loss)
Wins – UAB, Bowling Green, Pitt, and Notre Dame
37 point win at home to open the Mike Dantonio era. Beat Bowling Green at home by 11 and Pitt at home by 4. Went on the road to beat Notre Dame by 17. Opened up the season by going 4-0.
Losses – Boston College
Lost by 3 to ACC runner up Boston College who had a 1st round draft pick under center.
Overall Thought – Opened up 4-0 in non-conference including wins over name programs in Pitt and ND. Blew out their first opponent at home. Conference record is a bit suspect but they had some tough road games even if it is the Big 10 but they were competitive in all of them losing by less than 7. In 2008, they’re 5-1 with a loss at Cal by 7 points to open the season. We’ll find out a lot about them this week with a home game against Ohio St. and then closing out the season at Penn St. A lot of games left to play but they control their own destiny to win the Big 10 as they’ve already matched their conference win totals from last season in the first 3 conference games.