Both NC State and Boston College will have tough decisions to make at the end of 2011.
Some things just seem to work better when they are paired together: Peanut Butter & Jelly, Tom & Jerry, Laurel & Hardy, Sonny & Cher, Ben Stiller & Owen Wilson. We think we have another pairing to add to the above group: O'Brien & Spaziani. Tom O'Brien took over the head coaching job at Boston College in 1997. That same year he hired Frank Spaziani, then a defensive coordinator in the Canadian Football League, as his defensive backs coach. In 1999, O'Brien promoted Spaziani to the job of defensive coordinator. Let's take a look at some hard numbers from 2001-2006 for O'Brien & Spaziani:
|CBTN HC Stars||CBTN DC Stars||Overall WP%||9+ Win Seasons||Bowl Record||Avg. Scor. Def.||Avg. Scor. Off.|
|70.67%||4||6-0||18.77 ppg||23.21 ppg|
To say the very least, the above numbers are pretty impressive. In fact, from 2001-2006, Tom O'Brien was a top 20 head coach and Frank Spaziani was a top 20 defensive coordinator. What's even more impressive about this is the fact that from 2002-2006 Boston College had an average recruiting class of 45.20. After the 2006 season, Tom O'Brien accepted the head coaching at North Carolina State. O'Brien took long-time offensive coordinator Dana Bible with him, but Frank Spaziani remained at Boston College as the defensive coordinator for new head coach Jeff Jagodzinski. After Jagodzinski was fired after the 2008 season, Spaziani was named the new head coach at Boston College. Let's take a look at how the two have done without each other:
|Coach||CBTN HC Star Rating||Overall WP%||9+ Win Seasons||Bowl Record||Avg. Scoring Def.||Avg. Scor. Off.|
|Tom O'Brien||49.09%||1||1-1||27.69 ppg||27.44 ppg|
As you can see, without Spaziani as his defensive coordinator, O'Brien's scoring defense numbers have increased by 47.52%. His scoring offense numbers have actually increased by 18.22%, but that doesn't matter too much when you are giving up almost 48% more points per game on average. Also keep in mind that during this time, North Carolina State has had an average recruiting class of 49.80, which is virtually identical to the average recruiting class O'Brien had at Boston College. Now, let's see how Spaziani has fared as a head coach:
|Coach||CBTN Star Rating||Overall WP%||9+ Win Seasons||Bowl Record||Avg. Scor. Def.||Avg. Scor. Off.|
|Frank Spaziani||51.61%||0||0-2||20.97 ppg||21.28|
As a head coach, Spaziani is still putting up solid defensive numbers, but his offensive stats are pretty atrocious. In his thirty games as head coach at Boston College, Spaziani's team has only scored 30 or more points five times or 16.67% of the time. From 2001-2006, Boston College scored 30 or more points 42.67% of the time. So far this year, O'Brien & Spaziani are a combined 3-7 and both coaches appear to be on hot seats at their respective programs. One of the hardest questions to answer when analyzing coaches is how dependent they are on other coaches. Every coach is dependent on other coaches to some degree, but some coaches appear to be more dependent than others (see here and here).
When it comes to O'Brien & Spaziani, the numbers seem to allow for the conclusion that maybe they should have kept the band together.