The Golden Error

Al Golden was named Miami’s new head football coach after the 2010 football season.  The fact that Golden was Miami’s last minute, last resort, left fans scrambling to locate his credentials.  It didn’t take long for the public to see the success Golden had at his previous school Temple and the expectations began to go through the roof.  If you ask the surface level Miami fan to explain why Golden is the answer to their problems they would tell you, "Well just look at what he did at Temple".  So I did.

 Al Golden:

-DC Virginia 2001-2005

-Head Football Coach Temple Owls 2006-2010

-Head Football Coach The University of Miami, (FL). Present  (Sad I have to make sure you don’t think I meant OH).



Win %


DC at Virginia:   


Win % Before Golden

Win % During Golden

Differential %









The fact that the diff is -2.28% is not necessarily alarming but it can give you a quick snap shot at Golden’s earlier attempts against BCS teams rather than the MAC or non-automatic qualifying teams he faced at Temple.


HC at Temple:


Win % Before Golden

Win % During Golden

Differential %










HC Miami:


To be determined




So how did Golden increase the winning % at Temple by a whopping 24.96%?  Well, it’s easy….Take your team from the Big East and move them into the MAC and beat up on non-automatic qualifiers.

And that’s just what Golden did.  In the five years prior to Golden’s arrival, Temple competed in the Big East from 2001-2004 and was an Independent program in 2005.  In those years, Temple’s schedule had them competing against BCS teams.  39 of 56 total to be exact, (69.6%). They regularly competed against the likes of Boston College, West Virginia, Miami, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. Take a look below at Temple’s average Strength of Schedule rating during the years 2001-2005 (the lower the score, the harder the schedule):


Strength of Schedule



Temple Prior to Golden




Temple With Golden




Here is what Temple’s record looked like against teams competing in Automatic Qualifying (AQ) conferences and teams finishing the season over .500 during the five years prior to Golden’s tenure:



WP% Against AQ







WP% Against Over .500











Now, let’s look at Golden’s record against AQ opponents and teams finishing over .500 during his time as head coach at Temple:



WP% Against AQ







WP% Against Over .500




Al Golden’s WP% against AQ opponents is actually a little worse than the previous 5 years to his arrival at Temple and his WP% against teams finishing the year over .500 is a little better (hard not improve from 0.00%.

So, given the fact that Al Goden won over 40% of his game at Temple, where did his wins come from?

Overall Wins

Overall Losses

Conf. Wins

Conf. WP%

Non-Conf. Wins

Non-Conf. WP%







In addition to the above, Golden had a total of 4 wins against FCS and Non-Conference, Non-AQ teams finishing the season under .500. So, 88.89% of Golden’s wins came against the MAC, FCS, and Non-Conference, Non-AQ teams finishing the season under .500.







Let’s take a look at one final set of numbers:




WP% w/Superior Talent

WP% w/Inferior Talent

WP% w/Equivalent Talent

Al Golden



56.25 (18-14)

14.9% (2-12)

46.15% (6-7)

So, at Temple, Golden won only 53.33% of his games when had superior or equal talent.  And let’s not forget the fact that Temple recruited very well, #1 3 out of 4 years from to be exact.




The most important piece in this array of numbers and charts is this one: 


HC Miami:


To be determined


There are no crystal balls to tell us exactly what a persons success rate will be, if so I would be in Vegas making it rain.  We do however need to remember the facts and not get caught up in the surface level smack talk.  I wrote a piece a few weeks ago that titled UM’s recruiting as smoke and mirrors and I guess you can say this piece kind of claims the same about their new HC hire.  So, yes, Al Golden had a level of success at Temple, but the circumstances surrounding that jolt in wins would suggest that it was against lesser talent than what Temple had previously been playing before his arrival. 


If you look at coaches like Bobby Bowden who took a bad team and made their schedule harder rather than easier you may concede that path leads to building a teams success as opposed to just building the coaches resume.

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