First, a reader request
We didn't link earlier pairings, so we are doing that at the bottom. I hope this helps.
Aaaand heeeere we go
You knew this one was out there, just waiting to be sprung on you.
P. J. Fleck, the Energizer bunny, the wunderkind. The guy people mistake for the "gopher" at the conference. It's time to face the electorate. And I'd say it is some formidable competition.
Knockout Round 8
PJ Fleck, Western Michigan, Head Coach
He's 34. He works constantly - it cost him a marriage. He's a relentless and dynamic recruiter. He's worked at Rutgers for two years under Schiano and followed him to Tampa Bay. But he's a midwestern guy (raised in Illinois, played at Northern Illinois). He is known as a "turnaround" coach, the guy who will come in and change things, outhustling and outworking everyone else. This, his third year at WMU, ties for the longest he has stayed at any place as a coach. His three year record with the Broncos: 2013: 1-11 2014: 8-5 2015: 6-3 (going into Thursday's game against 7-2 Bowling Green), and 2015 includes a 38-12 loss to Ohio State
For more on Fleck, check here
Bobby Wilder, Old Dominion, Head Coach
He's had one head coaching job...and he's 56-25 over seven years. He played at Maine, and most of his coaching experience is with the Black Bears(two years as a GA with Boston College). He's worked on both sides of the ball, but was the OC for seven years at Maine.
About that one head coaching job: he was hired to resurrect the ODU program that had been defunct for 69 years. And he was 6-6 in his first year. Rebuild, anyone?
So, no New Jersey roots for the 51-year old. But he's from the northeast (born and raised in Maine), and he has eight players from NJ on his roster, along with another 18 from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and DC. And remember: he left being a lifelong Maine-iac to build a program from scratch in a place 682 miles from where he knew best.
For more on Wilder, check here.
Up next - and last: Canada vs. Withers
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