Great players win games, but great coaches win championships. The Pac-12 always has plenty of great players and is littered with future first-round draft picks. The conference has also had coaching legends like Pete Carrol, John McKay, Terry Donahue, and Don James. Despite a rich history and tradition, the PAC-12 has never had a coaching roster as good as the upcoming 2018 season. From top to bottom, the conference is now full of some of the best coaching minds. Only the Big Ten (Meyer, Chryst, Franklin, Harbaugh, Dantonio, etc) can rival the coaching lineup the Pac-12 now has in its arsenal. Six of these coaches are in their first or second year at their schools, but all are making noise on the recruiting trail and creating a footprint on the college football landscape. Over the next 2-3 seasons, the Pac-12 collectively will have it’s highest finishes on the recruiting trail.
Despite last year’s abject failure as a conference, the future of the Pac-12 conference is extremely bright and will soon claim multiple national championships.
On to the coaches:
12. Oregon State- Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith is the biggest unknown of all the Pac-12 coaches. He put up big numbers as the offensive coordinator at both Washington and Montana. The best news for Smith is that there is nowhere to go but up for the Oregon State Beavers. They haven’t won one conference game in two of the last three years. The bad news for OSU is that is Smith is successful he won’t be in Corvallis long.
11. Colorado- Mike MacIntyre
To say that Colorado has struggled since joining the Pac-12 would be an understatement. MacIntyre took over the program in 2013 and has only been able to win more than 5 games once. In his defense, the university absolutely mishandled a powerhouse of a program and burned it to the ground before he got there. The school has not made a commitment to winning, and until they do the Buffaloes will continue to be Pac-12 bottom feeders. There are few coaches who could do better given what MacIntyre has had to work with.
10. Arizona State- Herman Edwards
The Herm Edwards experiment at Arizona State is either going to be feast or famine. Herm was a good NFL coach and is an excellent leader. But, he has never been a college head coach and hasn’t coached football in 10 years. It initially felt wrong ranking him this low, but their recruiting class wasn’t particularly special and he wasn’t able to retain his offensive and defensive coordinators. If Herm does well, re-ranking the coaches at the end of the season is going to be a nightmare.