Second Year Coaching Benchmarks

As I’ve stated before, I think Butch Davis and Mike Dantonio are great measuring sticks for what Sherm should be.  I’d say they took over somwhat similar programs from a talent standpoint with the same resources.  The only real difference is they’re in easier conferences but I’d counter that with A&M has more talent to pick from when it comes to recruiting so it’s kind of a wash.

Butch Davis:

In his first year Butch Davis went 4-8 with all of his wins at home and only lost by more than 7 points twice and that was to ranked teams.  Not a great record but his team was obviously competitive in 10 of their 12 games.

So how did Butch do in 2008?  The envelope please.  8-4!!!

That’s right, Butch reversed his record and won 8 games.  He had one real stinker of a game when UNC lost to NC State at home by 31 points with the potential on the line to tie for the ACC Coastal Divison Championship even though they would have lost all head to heads so they couldn’t get to the championship game.

The other three games he lost where all by less than three points which includes 3 to eventual Coastal Co-Champ Va. Tech, 3 on the road to Virginia, and 2 on the road to Maryland.  I would say the losses to Virginia and Maryland are slight head scratchers as UNC wound up with a better record than both of those but they were on the road and they were obviously very competitive.

They’ll likely wind up in the Music City Bowl in Nashville against an SEC opponent like Vandy or in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against a Big East team like West Virginia.  Both great bowl tests for them even if the bowls aren’t that well known.

I can’t tell you how excited I’ll be in 2009 if Sherman goes 8-4 with only ONE blowout loss.  If he puts a big bowl win cherry on top then I might just get right back on that Shermwagon.

Mike Dantonio:

I don’t think most folks have any idea who this guy is but I would say Michigan State is a very comparable program to A&M.   In 2007, Dantonio took Michigan to a 7-5 record with a bowl loss to Boston College lead by Matt Ryan.  They only lost by 3 points in that bowl game.   Every other loss was less than 7 points so even in his first year he had the Spartans competitive.

So how did ol’ Mike do in 2008?  The envelope, please.  9-3 for the third place in the Big 11!!!

He did open up the  season with a loss but it was to Cal on the road in Berkley.  His other losses were flat blowouts to Ohio State by 38 at home and on the road in State College, PA by 31.  As a fan you don’t like the scores but at least it was to the top 2 teams in the conference and one was on the road.

All of this is likely good for a Capital One Bowl game appearance against Georgia which seems like it would be a HUGE test except no one has any idea what happened to UGA this year.  For A&M to duplicate this kind of season would be like losing to OU, tu, and Arkansas in 2009 to get a Cotton Bowl berth.  Folks, I’d have ZERO problems with that in year 2.

I know everyone is down on Aggie Football but honestly I don’t know why Sherm can’t duplicate something like what UNC did.  Sherm’s coming from a bigger hole but that’s his fault and if he’s going to turn this thing around I think he has to do something similar to what Butch Davis did.  He needs to win and win now and there’s proof that others have done it.  No more “woe is me” because of talent or any other lame excuse.

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