By Bill Trocchi, SI.com
When a new coach is hired, optimism is almost always in the air. Bobby Petrino had the Arkansas media calling the Hogs at his opening press conference. Saturday night, it was almost calling for his head.
Here is a look at how the 18 new coaches fared in their debuts, and a quick look at their predecessor's debut.
David Cutcliffe, Duke -- The Blue Devils scored the first four times they had the ball and defeated James Madison 31-7.
Predecessor's Debut: Ted Roof lost 27-12 to Navy in 2004 on his way to a 2-9 record.
Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech -- The Yellow Jackets smoked Jacksonville State 41-14 and operated the triple option with aplomb.
Predecessor's Debut: Chan Gailey defeated Vanderbilt 45-3 in 2002 on his way to a 7-6 record.
Kevin Sumlin, Houston -- Case Keenum threw five TDs as Houston crushed Southern 55-3, building on last year's 8-5 season.
Predecessor's Debut: Art Briles defeated Rice 48-14 in 2003 on his way to a 7-6 record.
Houston Nutt, Ole Miss -- Nutt implemented his 'Wild Rebel' formation and Ole Miss rolled to a 41-24 win over Memphis, piling up 438 yards and five touchdowns.
Predecessor's Debut: Ed Orgeron defeated Memphis 10-6 in 2005 on his way to a 3-8 record.
Ken Niumatalolo, Navy -- The Middies topped Towson 41-13 as running back Sun White ran for an eye-popping 348 yards.
Predecessor's Debut: Paul Johnson defeated SMU 38-7 in 2002 on his way to a 2-10 record.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska -- The Huskers easily topped Western Michigan 47-24 to win their opener for the 23rd straight year.
Predecessor's Debut: Bill Callahan defeated Western Illinois 56-17 in 2004 on his way to a 5-6 record.
Larry Fedora, Southern Miss -- Damion Fletcher ran for 222 yards as Southern Miss whipped Louisiana-Lafayette 51-21.
Predecessor's Debut: Jeff Bower defeated Delta State 25-7 in 1991 on his way to a 4-7 record.
Rick Neuheisel, UCLA -- The Bruins pulled out a dramatic 27-24 overtime win against No. 18 Tennessee.
Predecessor's Debut: Karl Dorrell lost 16-14 to Colorado in 2003 on his way to a 6-7 record.
Bill Stewart, West Virginia -- Pat White tossed five touchdowns passes as WVU pounded Villanova 48-21.
Predecessor's Debut: Rich Rodriguez lost 34-10 to Boston College in 2001 on his way to a 3-8 record.
Still Reason For Optimism
Jerry Kill, Northern Illinois -- The Huskies had Minnesota on the ropes before falling 31-27 on the road.
Predecessor's Debut: Joe Novak lost to Maryland 30-6 in 1996 on his way to a 1-10 record.
Steve Fairchild, Colorado State -- The Rams, who had lost 16 of 19, lost 38-17 to Colorado in a game that was closer than the score indicated.
Predecessor's Debut: Sonny Lubick lost to Oregon 23-9 on his way to a 5-6 record.
Can I Have A Do-Over?
Bobby Petrino, Arkansas -- The Razorbacks drove 83 yards in the final minute to rally past Western Illinois 28-24.
Predecessor's Debut: Houston Nutt defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 38-17 in 1998 on his way to a 9-3 record.
Art Briles, Baylor -- The Bears were heavy underdogs to Wake Forest, but still didn't put up much fight in a 41-13 loss.
Predecessor's Debut: Guy Morriss lost 24-19 to UAB in 2003 on his way to a 3-9 record.
Greg McMackin, Hawaii -- Hawaii trailed 56-0 after three quarters en route to a 56-10 loss at Florida.
Predecessor's Debut: June Jones lost 62-7 to USC in 1999 on his way to a 9-4 record.
Rich Rodriguez, Michigan -- The spread offense didn't take hold as the Wolverines lost 25-23 to Utah at the Big House.
Predecessor's Debut: Lloyd Carr defeated Virginia 18-17 in 1995 on his way to a 9-4 record.
June Jones, SMU -- The Mustangs had five turnovers and gave up 466 yards in a 56-27 loss to Rice.
Predecessor's Debut: Phil Bennett lost to Navy 38-7 in 2002 on his way to a 3-9 record.
Mike Sherman, Texas A&M -- The Aggies were shocked 18-14 by Arkansas State, failing to score on their final eight possessions.
Predecessor's Debut: Dennis Franchione defeated Arkansas State 26-11 in 2003 on his way to a 4-8 record.
Paul Wulff, Washington State -- Poor special teams and offense doomed the Cougars in a 39-13 loss to Oklahoma State.
Predecessor's Debut: Bill Doba defeated Idaho 25-0 in 2003 on his way to a 10-3 record.