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College Football: Head Coaches in their First Top Five Showdown

Posted by Andrew McKillop on September 16, 2011

Post Highlights

  • Head coaches have a record of 71-67-5 (.514 W Pct) in their first AP top 5 showdown.
  • Of the 67 head coaches that lost their first AP top 5 showdown, 41 would/have never coached in a battle of AP top 5 teams again.
  • Bobby Bowden lost his first AP top 5 showdown.  Coincidentally it was to Oklahoma in the 1980 Orange Bowl.



In only his second season Jimbo Fisher has Florida State back in the AP top 5.  Fisher faces a huge task on Saturday, when No. 5 Florida State plays host to No. 1 Oklahoma.   For the first time in his head coaching career, Fisher will coach in a game featuring two AP top 5 schools.

At the surface, I would assume that head coaches in their first AP top 5 showdown would have a losing record.  But a deeper look into the numbers finds some surprising information.  Head coaches inexperienced in top 5 showdowns have a respectable record.  Check out the table below for more info.

W L T W Pct
HC’s in their First AP Top 5 vs. AP Top 5 Game 71 67 5 0.514
   vs. Higher a Ranked Opponent 38 45 2 0.459
   vs. Lower a Ranked Opponent 33 22 3 0.595
W L T W Pct
   vs. HC’s in their 2nd/3rd/… Top 5 vs. Top 5 Game 41 37 1 0.525
      vs. Higher a Ranked Opponent 26 28 0 0.481
      vs. Lower a Ranked Opponent 15 9 1 0.620



Additional Statistics

When a head coach is facing an AP No. 1 in their first AP top 5 showdown, they have a record of 16-19 (.457 W Pct).

Of the 67 head coaches that lost their first AP top 5 showdown, 41 would/have never coached in an AP top 5 battle again.

Bobby Bowden, the legendary head coach that Jimbo Fisher replaced at Florida State.  Lost his first AP top 5 showdown.  Coincidentally it was to Oklahoma in the 1980 Orange Bowl.


Reference: James Howell’s College Football Scores, College Football at Sports-Reference.com

 

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