Lance Leipold has Buffalo in position for their second-ever MAC title and first-ever nine-win season. Somehow, that's not good enough for the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Watch List.
On Wednesday, the American Heart Association, in partnership with the Bear Bryant Awards, released a Watch List of 20 coaches for the 2018 Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award:
First, bravo for including Bill Clark. The UAB head coach wasn't among last year's group of seven finalists despite leading the Blazers to their first-ever eight-win season and second-ever bowl game in the program's first season after a two-year absence. It was arguably the most stunning omission in the award's history.
While this year's Watch List omissions aren't as egregious as excluding Clark from the 2017 finalists, they're head-scratching nonetheless. Leipold has the Bulls at 6-1 for the first time since 1959 and atop the MAC East standings entering Week 8. Their point differential ranks first in the conference and they're one of 11 FBS teams with at least three road wins.
And where is first-year Georgia Southern head coach Chad Lunsford? The Eagles 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the Sun Belt one year after going 2-10. They're allowing 17 points per game, beat defending Sun Belt co-champion Arkansas State for the first time as an FBS program, and are challenging Troy and App State for the East Division title.
The Watch List includes 15 percent of all FBS head coaches; there will be omissions. There should not, however, be omissions like Lance Leipold and Chad Lunsford this year.