Next up on our college football coaches tour is the PAC 12 conference. The PAC 12 is loaded with high profile powers, led by the USC Trojans. However, the past few years, there has been a changing of the guard out west.
Between coaching changeover and NCAA sanctions, new powers have arisen in the PAC 12 and it has created some of the most intriguing games every year. Of course Oregon vs. Stanford is a must see match up, but what makes it even better is that they’ve done it with multiple head coaches.
Stanford proved their program isn’t a one coach wonder under David Shaw. Although there was concern for Stanford after Jim Harbaugh left for the NFL, Shaw has kept Stanford afloat and even elevated the program’s stature.
There was still doubt about Stanford’s viability once Andrew Luck graduated to the NFL, but that quickly washed away with the emergence of a PAC 12 title in 2012. David Shaw followed it up with another conference title and Rose Bowl berth last season. What will the Cardinal have in store for us this season?
The USC Trojans have a new coach with Steve Sarkisian coming over from Washington. He was steadily building the Huskies back up, yet his departure is not all bad for Washington. Chris Peterson finally joined the PAC 12 after nine years with Boise State.
Jim Mora Jr. has UCLA on the right track entering his third season as head coach. The Bruins could be in the mix for a national title, so don’t be surprised when they make a run for one of the four coveted playoff spots.
Make no mistake, the PAC 12 is loaded with coaching talent, and plenty of them have offensive backgrounds. It should be an exciting match of wits every weekend during conference play.
We present to you the PAC 12 coaching rankings.
12. Sonny Dykes- California Bears: The Bears struggled in Sonny Dykes first season. They had their moments on offense, but they couldn’t consistently produce on either side of the ball. There’s no where to go but up.
11. Mike Macintyre - Colorado Buffaloes: Coach Mac has is in the unenviable position of rebuilding the Colorado football program. Good thing he’s already done this sought of thing with San Jose State. He’s in year two of the process, and we can’t wait to see the strides the Buffaloes make. Mike MacIntyre was (4-8) last season.
10. Kyle Whittingham- Utah Utes: After not having a losing season for seven years, Whittingham has had back to back (5-7) seasons in the PAC 12. Still, he has an undefeated season to go along with his Sugar Bowl win.
9. Mike Riley- Oregon State: Mike Riley is entering his 14th season as the Beavers’ head coach. Four of those years he has won nine games or more, but Oregon State has yet to hit the elite level in the PAC 12.
8. Mike Leach- Washington State: It’s likely that we could be looking at the next power team in the PAC 12. In two seasons as the Cougars coach, Leach has won nine games. The previous four seasons, Washington State won nine games total. They are pass happy and will make you defend the whole field.
7. Richard Rodriguez - Arizona Wildcats: Rich Rodriguez spent three sub par years at Michigan before moving to Arizona in 2012. After 16 wins in two seasons, Arizona seems to be stockpiling more talent to challenge in the PAC 12 South. How far can Rich Rodriguez take them in 2014?
6. Jim Mora Jr.- UCLA Bruins: UCLA is looking more and more like a title contender under Jim Mora. The South division will be tough, but the Bruins have the ability to be the toughest of them all. Mora is (19-8) in his first two seasons.
5. Mark Helfrich- Oregon Ducks: The new Ducks’ coach finished his first season with an (11-2) record. Since 2008, Oregon hasn’t won fewer than 10 games. That time frame spans three coaches. Helfrich is certain to have Oregon rolling, but can they get by Stanford in 2014?
4. Steve Sarkisian- USC Trojans: Sarkisian rebuilt the Washington program to a point of respectability. Now he has the chance to bring USC back into national prominence. They still won 10 games in a down season. USC had tremendous success during his tenure as an assistant coach.
3. Todd Graham- Arizona State Sun Devils: Todd Graham is also entering his third season as head coach. The Sun Devils are coming off of a 10 win season and a spot in the PAC 12 championship game. What can he do for an encore?
2. Chris Peterson- Washington Huskies: Chris Peterson will be starting anew with a brand new quarterback, program and philosophy. He’s catching Washington at a time when they should be ready for national recognition. We know Peterson does well in those situations.
1. David Shaw- Stanford Cardinal: David Shaw has won 11 or more games in three seasons and has played in a BCS game every year. They are the leader in the PAC 12, and should be right in the hunt for another conference title. If you like defense and power football, Stanford is the team to watch. Party in the backfield.
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