"9. Major Applewhite, Houston
Applewhite was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach after Tom Herman left for Texas after the 2016 season. Applewhite – a former Texas quarterback – coached the Las Vegas Bowl in 2016 and went 7-5 in his first full year at the helm. The Cougars finished second in the AAC West with a 5-3 mark but four of the program’s losses came by six points or less. Prior to his tenure at Houston, Applewhite worked as an assistant at Syracuse, Rice, Alabama and with his alma mater. With Ed Oliver back for one more season, along with the emergence of quarterback D’Eriq King, Applewhite should have the Cougars in the mix to win the AAC West in 2018."