National Championship Rivalry & Bowl Trends

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Fergodsakes.com has reviewed the record of every coach who won a National Championship in the just-concluded BCS era. Specifically, trends in total number of wins, records against rivals, and records in bowl games were evaluated. How does Brady Hoke compare?

Wins

In terms of wins through 39 games, Hoke is behind pace of the national championship coaches:

Trendline Graph thru 39 games

Hoke’s trendline was parallel to the national championship coaches until the disastrous 2-6 ending to the 2013 season. Through Hoke’s first 31 games as Michigan Head Coach (through the Minnesota game in 2013), Hoke was 24-7; the BCS era national championship coaches averaged 24.3 wins through their first 31 games. The numbers were in Hoke’s favor; his trendline was good when compared with the elite coaches in the land. The final eight games of 2013 did, unfortunately, occur, and at this point Hoke’s 26 wins in his first 39 games is well below the national championship coach average of 30.6 wins at the same juncture.

Rivalries

Brady Hoke’s Michigan teams are 1-2 against Ohio State. Among National Championship coaches in the BCS era, only Nick Saban at LSU and Gene Chizik at Auburn had just one win in their first three rivalry games; all others had at least two wins in their first three rivalry games (Tennessee’s Phil Fulmer was 1-1-1 in his first three games against his main rival before overtime was instituted).

Nat Champ 3 games v rival pre 2014 season

What about 2014 against Ohio State? Should Michigan lose to the Buckeyes, Hoke will of course be 1-3 against them in his first four attempts. Has there been a Head Coach in the BCS era who won a National Championship despite winning just one of his first four games against his biggest rival? The answer is yes. There is only one. Gene Chizik with Auburn won a National Championship despite winning just one of his first four games against Alabama – that one being the incredible Cam Newton comeback victory. Chizik never got to face Alabama for a fifth time, as he was fired after his fourth season at Auburn as the program cratered.

Nat Champ 4 games v rival

Bowl Games

Brady Hoke is 1-2 in bowl games as Head Coach at Michigan. Among National Championship coaches in the BCS era, only Mack Brown and Bobby Bowden won just one of their first three bowl games.

Nat Champ 3 Bowl Games

Looking ahead to Michigan’s 2014 season, every single National Championship coach won at least two of his first four bowl games.
Nat Champ 4 bowl games pre 2014 season

If past performance is any indicator of future results, according to the numbers, a victory over the Buckeyes this November and a corresponding bowl game victory are paramount for Hoke’s National Championship aspirations with Michigan.

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Brady Hoke and Ohio State Rivalry

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Brady Hoke is of course 1-2 as Michigan Head Coach against Ohio State. How does this compare among Michigan Head Football Coaches who have coached three games against Ohio State? Let’s take a look:

3 Rivalry Games L OSU

Moeller and Oosterbaan each had two wins and a tie against OSU in their first three games against the Buckeyes, accounting for the graph to reflect 2.5 wins for each.

Interestingly, the sum of the scores of Hoke’s first three games as Head Coach against OSU is 102-102.

How does Coach Hoke compare with National Championship Coaches in the BCS era in their first three games against their biggest rival?

Nat Champ 3 Games v Rival L OSU

The rivals for certain schools are difficult to determine, and there is disagreement even among their most ardent supporters as to who is the biggest rival. Here are the schools and rivals used for these data:

Tennessee (rival is Alabama)
FSU (rival is Florida)
Oklahoma (rival is Texas)
Miami (rival is FSU)
LSU (rival is Auburn)
USC (rival is UCLA)
Texas (rival is Oklahoma)
Florida (rival is FSU)
Auburn (rival is Alabama)
Alabama (rival is Auburn)

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Brady Hoke Wins Comparison v National Championship Coaches

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Following the Outback Bowl, a number of fans seemed to think that Brady Hoke was not the man for the Michigan football coaching job. There have always been knee-jerk reactionary fans, and there will always be some fans upset with Coach X, regardless of what Coach X has done; however, the sheer number of those disappointed in Hoke after the South Carolina loss was simply baffling.

As a result, Fergodsakes.com searched for some way to objectively measure Coach Hoke’s on field results. Today’s Part Two is comparing Coach Hoke’s Michigan head coaching career to date against the coaches who have won a National Championship in the BCS era, using the on field criteria of:

  • Total number of wins through 26 games as Head Coach at the school where National Championship was won,
  • Wins against the top rival in first two games
  • Bowl wins in first two bowl games

Part One compared Coach Hoke to past head coaches of Michigan football, the winningest program in college football history.

The First 26

Brady Hoke has won 19 of his first 26 games as Head Coach of Michigan. How do Hoke’s 19 wins in 26 games stack up among all coaches who have won at least one national title in the BCS era? Here’s the chart:

Nat Champ First 26 Games

Hoke is right in the middle, as six coaches have won more than his 19 out of 26, and six have won less. Former Michigan offensive lineman (senior with Team 96) and Offensive Line Coach (1987-94) Les Miles is at 22 along with Urban Meyer from his Florida days. Interestingly, Nick Saban had 18 wins in his first 26 games at both LSU and Alabama.

The average number of wins for these National Championship coaches in their first 26 games is 20. The median is 19.5, and the mode is 18.

Against Biggest Rival

Hoke is of course 1-1 against the Buckeyes. How have National Championship coaches performed in their first two games against their biggest rival?

Nat Champ First 2 Rivalry Games

Only Phil Fulmer with Tennessee failed to get even one win in his first two games against his rival. Five coaches won twice, and six won once.

The average number of wins for these National Championship coaches in their first two rivalry games is 1.33. The median is 1, and the mode is 1.

Looking ahead to the Michigan-OSU game in 2013, of the 12 national championship coach/school combinations, 9 of the coaches won two of their first three games against their rival. Only Fulmer, Chizik, and Saban with LSU won only one of their first three games against their rival. Hoke will look to join the two-win club come November.

It should be noted that the rivals for certain schools are difficult to determine, and there is disagreement even among their most ardent supporters as to who is the biggest rival. Here are the schools and rivals used for these data:

  • Tennessee (rival is Alabama)
  • FSU (rival is Florida)
  • Oklahoma (rival is Texas)
  • Miami (rival is FSU)
  • LSU (rival is Auburn)
  • USC (rival is UCLA)
  • Texas (rival is Oklahoma)
  • Florida (rival is FSU)
  • Auburn (rival is Alabama)
  • Alabama (rival is Auburn)

Bowl Games

No Michigan Head Coach has ever gone 2-0 in his first two bowl games.

Nat Champ First 2 Bowl Games

Only four National Champion coaches in the BCS era have gone 2-0 in their first two bowl games.
The average number of wins for these National Championship coaches in their first two bowl games is 1.25. The median is 1, and the mode is 1.

Summary

  • Hoke Wins in first 26 games: 19. Average for BCS-era National Championship coaches is 20. Median is 19.5; mode is 18.
  • Wins in first two games against OSU: 1. Average for BCS-era National Championship coaches is 1.3. Median is 1; mode is 1.
  • Wins in first two bowl games: 1. Average for BCS-era National Championship coaches is 1.25. Median is 1; mode is 1.

Sources: Official school football websites

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