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Hotline newsletter: Website ranks the Pac-12 football coaches, and the Hotline weighs in


* 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 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 Petersen 2. Stanford’s David Shaw 3. UCLA’s Chip Kelly 4. Utah’s Kyle Whittingham 5. Washington State’s Mike Leach 6. Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin 7. Oregon’s Mario Cristobal 8. Cal’s Justin Wilcox 9. USC’s Clay Helton 10. Arizona State’s Herm Edwards 11. Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith 12. 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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This content was originally published here.

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