9. California- Justin Wilcox

Cal finished 5-7 last year but they were much improved from the year before. The team was much more competitive in all their games since Justin Wilcox took over the program. In 2017 the Bears made a significant improvement defensively. It will be interesting to see if the team can make another significant jump. If Wilcox can get this team to a bowl game he will jump up a few spots on this list!

8. Oregon- Mario Cristobal

Of all the Pac-12 coaches, Mario Cristobal has the most to prove this year. The players rallied around him and would have led a coup against the athletic department if he didn’t get the head coach job. He did a magic trick by keeping most of the staff together and has done a fantastic job recruiting. Cristobal performed admirably in this only other stint as head coach (FIU). He led an upstart program to its lone conference championship. The Ducks are in good hands.

7. USC- Clay Helton

Despite winning 10 and 11 games in the last two seasons respectively, it seems that the jury is still out on Clay Helton’s coaching status within the Pac-12 conference. Trojans’fans consistently question Helton, but that just goes to show the pressure and expectations that come along with coaching at USC. The Trojans regularly boast the most talented roster in the Pac-12, so Helton is judged more on coaching adjustments and in-game operations than any other coach in the conference. He has the opportunity to silence all doubters this year.


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