Our Pac-12 coaching rankings didn’t change much for 2021, and that is a sign of the times for the conference.
There is not a Pac-12 coach in our top 10 rankings among the 1-130 rankings for FBS coaches. The top seven coaches are ranked in the same order as 2020. It’s tough to move up given the conference didn’t put a team in the College Football Playoff and is coming off a season where every team in the league only played between four and seven games due to COVID-19.
Oregon coach Mario Cristobal still tops the list after leading the Ducks to a second straight Pac-12- championship, though Oregon finished only 4-3 overall. Cristobal is inching closer to the top 10, but he is still working toward putting Oregon back on the main stage. He sits at No. 16 in our overall rankings.
Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and Stanford’s David Shaw are mainstays in our Top 25, and USC’s Clay Helton job security is always a topic of conversation. Arizona’s Jedd Fisch is the lone new hire in the conference.
How did the rest of our Pac-12 coach rankings shake out? Here’s a closer look (overall record in parentheses):
2021 Pac-12 coach rankings
|5||Herm Edwards||Arizona State||17||13||.567||34|
|10||Nick Rolovich||Washington State||29||30||.492||66|
|11||Jonathan Smith||Oregon State||9||22||.290||78|
— Stanford’s David Shaw made our Top 25 again, but he is ranked in the 20s for the second straight season. Shaw was among our top 12 coaches from 2016-19. The Cardinal is 17-14 the last three seasons, but Shaw still maintains a .714 winning percentage. This will be a telling year for Shaw and the program to see if they can work back into Pac-12 North contention.
— Helton cracked the Top 25 this year, and he has ranked between 24-31 in four of the last five seasons. USC did win the Pac-12 South last season, and the Trojans are a modest 18-13 the last three years. It’s a resume that isn’t all that different than Shaw in that stretch, but USC continues to battle high expectations. Helton remains on the perpetual hot seat, but who else would the Trojans turn to?
— Herm Edwards is a tough call given the news about possible recruiting violations at Arizona State. Edwards is 17-13 since taking over, but the Sun Devils appeared ready for a breakout season given what is returning for 2021. Keep a close eye on those developments as they continue.
— UCLA’s Chip Kelly remains one of the most-difficult coaches to rank given we know what he’s capable of from his time at Oregon. Kelly is 10-21 at UCLA with a 10-15 record in conference play, and that return from the NFL has not quite netted the expected results in Westwood. Is this Kelly’s last chance?