17 Jun 19
Santa Cruz Sentinel
* The Pac-12 Hotline newsletter is published each Monday-Wednesday-Friday during the college sports season (and twice-a-week in the summer). This edition, from June 14, has been made available in archived form.
The head coaches, ranked
The college football reporters over at CBS Sports have been working their way across the Power Five, ranking the head coaches in each conference.
This morning, they published the Pac-12 version, noting:
“The top of the conference’s coaching ranks is clear-cut … However, there are so many new coaches in the conference that the rest of the rankings end up jumbled.”
(Only five coaches have been in place for three years or more.)
1. Washington’s Chris Petersen2. Stanford’s David Shaw3. UCLA’s Chip Kelly4. Utah’s Kyle Whittingham5. Washington State’s Mike Leach6. Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin7. Oregon’s Mario Cristobal8. Cal’s Justin Wilcox9. USC’s Clay Helton10. Arizona State’s Herm Edwards11. Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith12. Colorado’s Mel Tucker
The list is … interesting.
Although it might be lost on many, if not all readers, the Hotline doesn’t rank head coaches by performance. Ever.
We report on their compensation packages.
We assess how they perform relative to their own rosters (i.e., underachieve/overachieve).
And we provide in-season power ratings for the teams.
But actually comparing the coaches to each other — for all the interest such endeavors typically generate — isn’t something the Hotline attempts.
I’m not sure how to reasonably compare a rookie coach to a veteran.
Or how to compare the head coach at Oregon State to the head coach at USC.
Would you use win career performance, or single-season success?
Or would you compare each coach’s winning percentage to his school’s historical average?
But the CBS Sports rankings did generate a few reactions (which is the point, of course):
• Mel Tucker should have N/A (Not Applicable) next to his name, rather than a No. 12 ranking — and same with all the first-year coaches in other conferences.
• We believe Chip Kelly will win in Westwood, but the No. 3 ranking is based on his Oregon tenure, which ended seven years ago, and not his one season at UCLA.
• Same thing with Kevin Sumlin, whose only season in Tucson thus far was a bit disappointing.
• Meanwhile the positioning of Herm Edwards seems to completely ignore ASU’s performance.
• If tradition, resources and recruiting base are part of the calculation (doesn’t seem like it), then Clay Helton should not be ranked above Edwards. No way, no how.
• And if tradition, resources and recruiting base are part of the calculation (see above), then Mike Leach has to be No. 2 on the list — behind only Chris Petersen, because of the head-to-head results.
No coach has done more with what he has to work with than Leach.
If you’re interested: In January, the Hotline published its own assessment of the head coaches — not compared to each other but relative to the realities (roster, schedule, injuries) each faced during the season. — Jon Wilner.
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Hot off the Hotline
• The Pac-12 stated in a news release last month that expenses at HQ were in line with those of other Power Five conferences. The Hotline acquired the tax filings for each and took a dive into the numbers, including the spending as a percentage of the amount distributed to the schools.
• The unpredictable nature of NCAA justice was the theme of a Hotline column Thursday that used the sanctions levied against USC football in the Reggie Bush case as an extreme example when pondering what might happen to Arizona. The details are different, and the eras are different, but there’s far more evidence against Book Richardson than there ever was against Todd McNair.
• ICYMI: The Tuesday newsletter addressed the new intra-conference transfer rule using Washington-to-UCLA quarterback Colson Yankoff as the example. Previous editions of the newsletter are available in archived form.
Why we need your support: Like so many other providers of local journalism across the country, the Hotline’s parent website, mercurynews.com, recently moved to a subscription model. A few Hotline stories will remain free each month (as will this newsletter), but for access to all content, you’ll need to subscribe at a rate of just 12 cents per day for 12 months. And thanks for your loyalty.
(Note: The Hotline newsletter includes links to sites that could require a subscription once the number of free views has been reached.)
• Arizona State coach Herm Edwards has a new role. He’s now a professor of practice at the Cronkite School of Journalism, where Edwards will serve “as a guest lecturer in classes and conducting regular discussions on sports and the media.” Makes total sense given his ESPN background and openness when it comes to the media.
• Replacing left tackle Andre Dillard and the durability of tailback Max Borghi are two pressing questions facing Washington State. And they aren’t the only ones.
• Former Oregon quarterback Nate Costa has joined the Ducks staff as an offensive analyst. Said coach Mario Cristobal of his newest addition: “Extremely high football IQ and he has been in a couple different systems.” (That list includes UCLA.)
• It’s official: Bru McCoy and Chris Steele are on the USC roster. When will they play competitively? Steele might get on the field in the fall, but it’s hard to see McCoy contributing until 2020 — the NCAA doesn’t have much reason to grant him a waiver for immediate eligibility.
• Another Colorado cornerback is in the transfer portal: This time, it’s Ronnie Blackmon. None of the departing players are starters, but the Buffs better hope they stay healthy on the back line.
• Oregon State has added punter Caleb Lightbourn from Nebraska, which is mostly interesting because half the players on OSU’s roster are transfers from Nebraska (or so it seems).
• The Pac-12 has two of the best running backs in college football, according to USA Today. One’s easy to guess; not sure about the other.
• What the Pac-12 won’t have, however, is a team in the 2019 College Football Playoff — at least, that’s the outlook from Phil Steele, who produces the best preview magazine.
• Colorado is ahead of most schools — not only in the Pac-12 but across the country — when it comes to concussion research and mental health initiatives. Athletic director Rick George led a panel discussion Thursday intended to show the Board of Regents what’s being done in Boulder for the athletes.
• Rivals analyst Mike Farrell looks at the latest recruiting developments in the Pac-12 and concludes Arizona State, Cal and Oregon are trending positively. At the other end of the spectrum are the three U-schools. On Chip Kelly in particular, Farrell writes: “Kelly hasn’t done a good job recruiting at all yet for UCLA and his strategy is confusing as he doesn’t seem to be targeting the best players in state consistently.”
• An upcoming national showcase for top recruits is of particular interest for USC, explains Rivals’ Adam Gorney. The contingent of players in Atlanta later this month will include the nation’s top linebacker, Justin Flowe. “It will be interesting to see if the Trojans can stay right near the top of his list, considering how well they’ve developed linebackers.”
• Arizona State landed a commitment from Will Shaffer, a linebacker/tight end from Scottsdale Saguaro. 247sports reporter Blair Angulo describes Shaffer’s commitment as “a big victory at the nearby powerhouse.”
Content on the basketball corruption scandal …
• In an unusual display of candor for NCAA executives, vice president Stan Wilcox said this week that at least six programs will receive notices of allegations for violations uncovered by the FBI investigation. Which six? Yahoo reporters believe Arizona and USC are in the group “in the crosshairs.” They also note the NCAA has “a grim optics issue. The four assistant coaches who were arrested in this case and have pled guilty are African-American. A majority of the head coaches tied to the scandal are Caucasian and still working.”
On the Hardwood
• UCLA coach Mick Cronin (to USA Today) on media reports that he wasn’t the Bruins’ first choice: “You know what? It doesn’t matter. I don’t give a (expletive) about that (expletive).” OK, fine. But how does he really feel?
• Utah forward Donnie Tillman recently announced he was taking a leave of absence for the upcoming season to be with his ailing mother. Now, Tillman’s in the transfer portal. He would be a big loss for the Utes.
• Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley’s contract extension, which includes an increase in the buyout (on his end), has been approved by the Board of Regents.
• Oregon guard Victor Bailey Jr. has surfaced, at Tennessee.
• The NBA Draft is next week, and CBS Sports has published a new mock. The first Pac-12 player off the board is, not surprisingly, Oregon big man Bol Bol — but not until the 21st pick. (Bol hasn’t been overly impressive in the pre-draft process.)
• Meanwhile, the New York Post projects USC wing Kevin Porter as the first Pac-12 selection: “Lottery talent. Questionable outlook, after he somehow only managed 9.5 points a game last season at USC. But the talent is there.”
Content on Pac-12 Olympic sports …
• Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb has been hired away … by the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s a groundbreaking move by new Cavs coach John Beilein. (Here’s a video of Gottlieb’s explanation for the decision.)
• A former Washington volleyball player made credible claims of sexual assault against a UW official. Then the official left and got hired by another school, until the Seattle Times found out.
• Disgraced ex-Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer did not get prison time for his participation in the admissions scandal.
• Oregon State has a new baseball coach: former Beavers catcher Mitch Canham.
• So does Oregon: former Ducks assistant Mark Wasikowski
• Colorado’s Hall of Fame class for 2019 includes former football coach Gary Barnett and Jenny (Barringer) Simpson, the NCAA champ and Olympic medalist.
• Oregon’s HoF inductees for this year include Mike Bellotti and Max Unger.
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What’s coming on the Pac-12 Hotline:
• Our early look at the 2019 football season continues with assessments of each team’s strongest and weakest units headed into training camp (broken down by division).
• Michael Smith, the SportsBusiness Journal reporter covering the Pac-12’s pursuit of an equity sale, agreed to lend his perspective on the issue. That Q&A is tentatively scheduled for the middle of next week.
• With the NBA Draft set for June 20, we’ll examine draft past and present from the Pac-12’s perspective.
The next newsletter is scheduled for Tuesday. Enjoy the newsletter? Please forward this email to friends (sign up here). If you don’t, or have other feedback, let me know: email@example.com.
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