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"Covering College Football Coaching from Miami to Honolulu"







Age:  53

School:  Baylor

Alma Mater:  Texas Tech, 1979

Conference:  Big 12

Salary:  $1,800,000

Official Bio:

Years Coaching:  5

Career Record:  34 - 28   .548

Years at School:  1

Record at Baylor:  0 - 0  .000

2007 Record:  8 - 4   .667   (Houston)

2007 Cost per Win:  $68,750




December 2008 Buyout:  $1,600,000


Year School Record Bowl
2003 Houston 7-6 Hawaii
2004 Houston 3-8  
2005 Houston 6-6 Fort Worth
2006 Houston 10-4 Liberty
2007 Houston 8-4 Texas
Career   34-28 .548
  Baylor 0-0 .000


Date Opponent Location 2008 CHS Prediction Result
8/28/08 Wake Forest Waco, TX L  
9/06/08 Northwestern State Waco, TX W  
9/13/08 Washington State Waco, TX W  
9/19/08 at Connecticut Hartford, CT L  
10/04/08 Oklahoma Waco, TX L  
10/11/08 Iowa State Waco, TX L  
10/18/08 at Oklahoma State Stillwater, OK L  
10/25/08 at Nebraska Lincoln, NE L  
11/01/08 Missouri Waco, TX L  
11/08/08 at Texas Austin, TX L  
11/15/08 Texas A&M Waco, TX W  
11/29/08 at Texas Tech Lubbock, TX L  
   Coaches Hot Seat Prediction   3-9  


Coaches Hot Seat Analysis

It is not very often that when traveling on business that on multiple occasions a high school football coach will catch a traveler's attention, but that is exactly what happened to a couple of us while visiting the Dallas, Texas area in the 1999s.  That high school coach was Art Briles, who was then the head football coach at Stephenville High School in Stephenville, Texas, and the reference to Briles that we heard were almost always to a "spread offense" that he was running, which was piling up tons of yards and plenty of points.  It is very hard for a successful high school football coach to transition to the college game, so a few of us took note when Briles joined Mike Leach's staff at Texas Tech, and when he took over as the head coach at Houston in 2003, only four years removed from Stephenville High School.  That was quite a rise for Art Briles, but he has proven himself on every level, and more importantly he has shown that he can handle the public relations and media side of being a head football coach in college, which is huge part of the job.  In the last few months we have watched several football games of when Briles was at Houston, and his team's are just very well coached, and the offense he ran at Houston has an uncanny knack of getting people into space with the football.  We watched the Houston-Alabama game from 2007 recently, and Houston had every opportunity in the world to beat the Tide in Tuscaloosa, and watching that game makes us believe that Briles may be one of the few men that can take on the very tough challenge that is Baylor football and succeed.


In the last 6 years Baylor has won 21 football games.  That is just an amazing number for a BCS conference school and since Art Briles has been coaching football in Texas for almost 30  years, he surely realizes the size of the mountain he has to climb in Waco.  Briles brings three things to Baylor that will hold him in good stead, the first being a very unique and flexible offensive system that will allow Baylor to compete against teams that have more talent than the Bears.  The second thing Briles brings to Baylor is a no-nonsense attitude that has surely already ended any foolishness in Waco, and gotten everyone on the Bears team to focus on what they need to do to play winning football.  The last thing that Briles brings to Baylor is a vision, and one should never underestimate the importance of a clear vision to football players on how a football team is going to get from where they are to where they want to go.  College football players pay a huge price to get themselves ready to play the game of football, and it is terribly demoralizing to individual players and to the team if the head coach does not have a vision to where he wants to take the program.  A compelling and constantly updated vision for a football program is important for current head coaches, but it is especially important for new coaches that are taken over troubled and demoralized football teams.  As former North Carolina head coach Bill Dooley said, "In turning a program around, the hardest thing to do is convincing players that they can win."  From what we have heard from people around the Baylor football program, Briles is already well on his way to convincing his players that they can win football games, and there is little doubt among the team about the offense, the attitude, and plan that Briles has for the Baylor football program going forward.  Turnarounds don't happen overnight, and year 1 under Art Briles at Baylor will be one of the most interesting teams to watch of 2008. 


Coaches Hot Seat Bottom Line

We predict that Art Briles and Baylor will have a 3-9 record in 2008.  In the opening game of the season in Waco against Wake Forest, Art Briles will be able to point to the Demon Deacons as the type of football program that Baylor can become.  Both Baylor and Wake Forest are private, religious-associated schools and as Briles watches Jim Grobe's team in week 1, he will surely be imagining the type of football team he can build in Waco.  In what should be an interesting game to watch, we see Wake Forest getting the win over the Bears, which drops the Baylor record to 0-1.  In week 2 Northwestern State visits Baylor, and this should be the first win in the Art Briles era with the Bears.  After two games, Baylor is

1-1.  In week 3, Paul Wulff brings his new Washington State team to Waco, and playing a game deep in the heart of Texas will be quite a shock for the Cougars, especially in September.  This is a game that both teams and coaches will really need to win, because wins for Washington State and Baylor will probably be few and far between in '08.  In a close game, we lean towards Baylor getting the win with the home field advantage, which raises the Bears record to 2-1.  In another fascinating non-conference game, Baylor travels to New England to play UConn in week 4.  The UConn Huskies surprised in 2007, and they have lots of starters back from a 9 win team, and UConn should have too much experience for Baylor in this game.  After four games, Baylor is 2-2.  The Big 12 season gets underway in week 5 with the mighty Oklahoma Sooners arriving in Waco, and the difference in talent between Oklahoma and Baylor will be palpable.  Oklahoma might really get their offense rolling in this game, and if the Sooners are motivated on defense they should be able to shut down the Baylor offense as well.  OU has too much for BU, and thus Baylor's record drops to 2-3.  Gene Chizik and Iowa State arrive in Waco in week 6, and this is one of the Big 12 games on Baylor's schedule that they have a real shot of winning.  In a very close game, we give the slightest of advantages to Iowa State, and a loss to the Cyclones drops the Baylor record to 2-4.  Baylor travels to Oklahoma State in week 7, and Stillwater is a very difficult place to play for all teams, but especially for Big 12 teams that OSU has the talent advantage on.  In a closer game than expected, OSU gets the win over the Bears, which drops the Baylor record to 2-5.  Baylor visits Lincoln, Nebraska in week 8 to play Bo Pelini and the Huskers, and this should be an interesting game to watch on both sides of the ball.  Baylor's spread offense may give Nebraska some problems in the first half, but the Huskers should pull away for the win in the 2nd.  After 8 games, Baylor's record drops to 2-6.  The Missouri Tigers visit Waco in week 9, and Briles will certainly know the offense that Mizzou will be running very well, because it is very similar to what he has run in the state of Texas for years.  Baylor doesn't have the talent to hang with Missouri, so another loss drops the Baylor record to 2-7.  In week 10 Baylor travels to Austin to play the Texas Longhorns and Texas is another one of those Big 12 teams that is just loaded with talent.  This game shouldn't be close, and yet another loss drops the Baylor record to 2-8.  In week 11, Texas A&M visits Waco, and no doubt many Baylor fans remember well the 2004 win against A&M.  With two first year coaches in Briles and Sherman, we see a close game, with Baylor getting a slight upset and a big win, which raises the Bears record to 3-8.  In week 12 Baylor travels to Lubbock to play Mike Leach and Texas Tech, and this will be a homecoming game of sorts for Briles.  Texas Tech might be playing for a big postseason trip, but this will be a fun game to watch as the ball should be in the air on about 75% of the plays.  In the end, the Red Raiders will have too much for Baylor, and that will drop the Baylor regular season record in 2008 to 3-9.


Not much is expected from Art Briles in year one at Baylor, because there is not enough talent nor enough confidence inside of his players yet to pull off many upsets, and since the Bears will be an underdog to most teams they play, the expectations cannot be too high in '08.  The future is what is important for Briles and Baylor, and the expectations in the coming years will certainly be to move the Bears to a perennial winning football program, and with reasonable non-conference schedules (not like 2008) that will certainly be a possibility, and probably a certainty under Briles.  Winning football seasons at Houston was an impressive accomplishment by Briles, but turning Baylor into a winner would be a minor, no make that a major miracle, and that will give all of us an opportunity to see just how good of football coach Art Briles really is.  We would bet on Briles at this moment.


2008 Coaches Hot Seat Prediction:    3-9


Will Art Briles be back for the 2009 season?      YES










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