JONESBORO (USA Today) - Before 2011, no coach in the history of the Sun Belt Conference had moved directly from the SBC to an automatic-qualifying position. This has now happened three times in the past two years; better yet, two of the three moves have seen a Sun Belt coach leap directly to the SEC – the league on the opposite end of college football's coaching spectrum.
Here's the best part: Both SEC coaches, Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn, came from the same place. So long, Boise State. Later, Houston. Not you, NIU. Arkansas State, tucked away in Jonesboro, Ark., has become the newest hot spot for next-step coaches looking for a huge leap up the ladder.
Bryan Harsin is next. Harsin comes to ASU from Texas, where he spent the past two seasons as Mack Brown's offensive coordinator. Before Texas, Harsin spent a decade under Dan Hawkins and Chris Petersen at Boise State. If history is any indication, Harsin will win nine or more games and a conference title with the Red Wolves before making the leap. Well, let's play it safe: Let's give Harsin two years.