Everyone wants to talk and read about the FBS teams, mostly the same 5-6 teams (Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, and the rest of the SEC). But we want to talk about the FCS. There are a lot of exciting players and coaches in the FCS, many of whom fans have heard of and might have forgotten about.
This is the first of a multi-part FCS preview, looking at players, coaches, and potential upsets.
Part one is a look at 10 head coaches to know. Part two is a look at 10 QBs to know
Chris Kleiman, North Dakota State
Where do we start with Kleiman – he is 54-6 in 4 seasons, with 3 championships since replacing former coach Craig Bohl. In that time, he has also coached Carson Wentz and now is grooming QB Easton Stick (more on him in our next FCS preview)
Mike Houston, James Madison
Houston will likely be on several teams’ short list following the 2018 season. In two years at James Madison, he is a combined 28-2, with a 1-1 record in National Championship games (winning in 2016).
Brock Spack, Illinois State
Spack has been at Illinois St since 2009, and has a record of 66-40. He has lost in 4 separate playoff seasons – quarterfinals in 2012 and 2015, first round in 2016, and championship in 2014. Spack could be an option in the MAC or possibly even a low level Big Ten school like Illinois
Michael Haywood, Texas Southern
Haywood is best known for his two years at Miami Ohio (2009-2010) and than accepting the Pittsburgh coaching job in 2010. Two weeks after accepting the job, he was arrested for domestic violence and immediately terminated. Haywood has barely gotten a sniff since that incident, but resurfaced at Texas Southern in 2015, where he is 6-16 through two seasons.
Paul Petrino, Idaho
Yes, it’s that Petrino. Paul is the younger brother of the more known Bobby (current Louisville coach). Petrino has been at Idaho since 2013, after working with his brother at Arkansas. He is 19-41 in 5 years at Idaho, which did include a bowl win in 2016. He is a little more well known as he has experience coaching in FBS, as recently as 2017, with Idaho! 2018 will be Idaho’s first season in FCS
Dan Hawkins, UC Davis
Hawkins has 10 years of FBS head coaching experience – 5 with Boise State and 5 with Colorado from 2001-2010. Since 2010 he has worked as an announcer and some experience coaching in the CFL. In 2016, he accepted the job at UC Davis. His first game in 2018 is against San Jose State, and there’s a decent chance the Aggies can pull the upset.
Mike Minter, Campbell
If this name sounds familiar that’s because it should – Minter spent 10 years in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers, before retiring 2006 after recording 780 tackles, 11 sacks, 17 interceptions, and 4 touchdowns. After just two years as an assistant, Minter got the head job at Campbell in 2013 and is 24-32 entering year 6.
Mike London, Howard
London had a successful run at Richmond from 2008-2009, going 24-5, winning the FCS championship in his first year in 2008 and losing in the quarterfinals in 2009. After that he spent 6 long, mostly miserable years at Virginia going 27-46, winning just 14 times in 48 chances in ACC play. Last year was London’s first at Howard, where he went 7-4, including a win over UNLV in a largest Vegas spread upset in college football history (-45.5)
Bo Pelini, Youngstown State
Pelini is best known for losing 4 games every year, which in many cases would be fine, except at Nebraska the expectations are much higher. Pelini is entering his fourth year at Youngstown State, and lost the Championship game in 2016.
John Garrett, Lafayette
The younger brother of Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, John has extensive history as a player and an assistant coach. 2017 was his first as a head coach, going 3-8 with Lafayette.