The Value Of Inexperience: Bowl Teams With Brand New Coaches Are Winners Against The Spread

Last week we compiled a list of Bowl team coaching changes to aid our bowl pick’em analysis. We’ll be updating that list throughout the week, but today we thought we’d take a quick look at how new coaches have done in their bowl games.

You might think that teams with new coaches would struggle in their bowl games, but according to the data, they’ve been just fine.

Since 2003, there have been 14 coaches who made their head coaching debut in a bowl game, plus one case (Jeff Quin in 2009) where an interim coach had only a single game of previous experience — three years ago in another bowl game. Here are all 15, along with their results [SU = straight up, ATS = against the spread, OU = over/under].

Bo Pelini2003NebraskaAlamoWINWINUnder
Charlie Strong2004FloridaPeachlosslossUnder
Kent Baer2004Notre DameInsightlosslossOver
Frank Spaziani2006Boston CollegeMeineke Car CareWINlossOver
Jeff Quin2006Central MichiganMotor CityWINWINUnder
Reggie Herring2007ArkansasCottonlosslossUnder
Jon Tenuta2007Georgia TechHumanitarianlosslossOver
Ken Niumatalolo2007NavyPoinsettialossWINOver
DeWayne Walker2007UCLALas VegaslossWINUnder
Steve Stripling2009Central MichiganGMACWINpushOver
Jeff Quin2009CincinnatiSugarlossWINOver
Ruffin McNeill2009Texas TechAlamoWINWINOver
Jeff Stoutland2010Miami FLSunlosslossOver
Lance Guidry2010Miami OHGoDaddyWINWINOver
Tom Matukewicz2010Northern IllinoisHumanitarianWINWINOver

The key points:

  • New head coaches have a straight up bowl win loss record of 7-8. Bowl games are designed to be close matchups, and these guys are often taking over because the old coach got fired, so that 7-8 straight up record doesn’t seem bad at all.
  • New head coaches are 8-6-1 against the spread in bowl games. Though it’s by a slim margin, these new bowl game coaches actually have a winning record against the spread. It’s definitely not a large enough edge to conclude that new coaches are a good bet, but it does show that there’s no reason to avoid betting on them as a rule.
  • Games involving new coaches have gone Over the total 10 times, and Under only 5 times. This is still a small sample size, so don’t take it as a given that it will continue. But if it is real, what might cause it? Perhaps teams with new coaches make a few more mistakes than normal. A single mistake on the defensive end can lead to a touchdown, while a single mistake on offense usually leaves a team with a chance or two to make up for it.

So which games this year are affected by these trends? Be sure to check out our list of bowl team coaching changes to find out.

Finally, if you’re going to compete in a Bowl Pick’em or are planning on wagering on some of the games, make sure to check out our 2011-2012 college football bowl games section, complete with bowl predictions, bowl betting picks, and bowl pick’em advice and picks.