The PAC 12 saw a major resurgence in 2022. This was fueled by the coaching additions of Lincoln Riley, Dan Lanning and Kalen DeBoer. Those 3 coaches made a dramatic impact on the conference and now the league is PRIMED for the national spotlight. Speaking of Prime Time, Coach Prime, aka Deion Sanders revitalized Jackson State and is bringing his expertise and swag to Boulder. In a few short months, he has overhauled Colorado Football and put the league on notice that the Buffaloes are coming. The PAC 12 also welcomes 2 other new coaches with Kenny Dillingham (Arizona State) and Troy Taylor (Stanford). Will these 3 newbies have the same kind of game changing impact to the conference? Now that the coaching has been improved, will the PAC 12 return to the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2016? I have listed the 12 current PAC 12 Head Coaches below based on a collection of current success, career success, ethics and maximizing their resources. If you’re looking for a great college football & NFL Podcast, subscribe to The Irrational Confidence Podcast (@IRConfidencePod on Twitter), available on all podcast platforms and the Spinnable Sports YouTube Channel. We just dropped our NFL Schedule Release reaction episode and you can also find our NFL Draft reaction episode in the same spot. Also, we’re releasing an episode covering the CFB Stadiums we want to catch a game at as well as our Preseason Top 25 teams very soon.
1.). KYLE WHITTINGHAM: UTAH UTES
- Back 2 Back PAC 12 Champions and Rose Bowl participants
- Career record of 154-74 and an 11-5 bowl record
- 9 straight winning seasons as well as 16 of his 18 at the helm
- Seven (7) 10+ win seasons under his leadership
- Has won a Fiesta Bowl & Sugar Bowl
- 3 Conference Championships
- 21 victories over ranked opponents
- Develops players at a fantastic rate and gets the most out of every resource.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: OCTOBER 21ST. AT USC
2.). LINCOLN RILEY: USC TROJANS
- 4 Big 12 Titles at Oklahoma
- Guided USC to the PAC 12 Title Game and the Cotton Bowl in Year 1
- Head Coach to 3 Heisman Trophy Winners
- Career Record of 66-13, 1-4 Bowl Record and 0-3 in the CFB Playoff
- Defense under his watch has been less than stellar
- Recruits at a very high level.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 4TH. VS WASHINGTON
3.). CHIP KELLY: UCLA BRUINS
- Career Record of 73-36 between Oregon (46-7) & UCLA (27-29)
- 3 PAC 12 Titles at Oregon and played for a 4th but lost in the title game.
- 1-1 Rose Bowl record at Oregon and 1 Fiesta Bowl victory
- Got Oregon to the BCS National Championship Game but lost to Auburn
- His worst season at Oregon was 10-3 in 2009
- His best record in 5 years at UCLA was 9-4 last year….was that because of DTR and Charbonnet?
- Must improve recruiting at UCLA, especially on defense.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 18TH. AT USC
4.). DEION SANDERS: COLORADO BUFFALOES
- Did an amazing job recruiting at Jackson State and that trend is continuing in Boulder
- 27-6 record as a Head Coach in 3 years at Jackson State
- 2 SWAC Championships
- The energy around the Colorado program is through the roof right now
- Biggest question is if Prime can win in the PAC 12
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 30TH. VS USC
5.). KALEN DeBOER: WASHINGTON HUSKIES
- 3 NAIA Championships in 5 seasons at Sioux Falls
- 12-6 in 2 years as the Head Coach of Fresno State
- 11-2 in Year 1 at Washington
- Career coaching record of 90-11
- Great ability to develop QB’s…see Jake Haener and Michael Penix Jr.
- The expectations for the 2023 season are very high and this will be a big test.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 4TH. AT USC
6.). JONATHAN SMITH: OREGON STATE BEAVERS
- Career record of 28-31 in 5 seasons
- Back 2 Back winning seasons in Corvallis, including a 10 win campaign last year.
- 1-1 Bowl Record
- The Beavers finished the 2022 season at #17
- Has done a great job developing players and maximizing resources
- Can he take the Beavers higher in 2023?
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 18TH. VS WASHINGTON
7.). DAN LANNING: OREGON DUCKS
- 10-3 record in 1st season as a head coach
- Ranked 7th because he has only been a head coach for 1 season, very limited sample size…if based just off of last year, he would be higher.
- Great recruiting since the day he arrived on campus, which is his biggest asset!
- Excited to see what he can do in Eugene with the tremendous amount of resources
- Considering the vast amount of resources and brand awareness, the expectations to win big are very high.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: OCTOBER 15TH. AT WASHINGTON
8.). TROY TAYLOR: STANFORD CARDINAL
- Head Coach of Sacramento State between 2019-2022
- 3 Big Sky Championships in 3 seasons of play (did not play during 2020
- NCAA FCS Playoff participants every season at Sacramento State
- Head Coach record of 30-8
- David Shaw and Jim Harbaugh have shown that you can win in Palo Alto
- Must develop players and hit on recruiting targets
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 9TH. AT USC
9.). JAKE DICKERT: WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS
- Took over in 2021 as the Interim Head Coach
- Career record of 10-9
- 0-2 Bowl record
- Has not had a losing record…3-3 as the Interim and 7-6 in 2022
- Must develop players at a high rate because recruiting to Pullman is tough.
- Defense must improve considering he’s defensive minded and the league has lethal offenses.
- Goal for 2023 should be 8 wins.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 25TH. APPLE CUP AT WASHINGTON
10.). JUSTIN WILCOX: CAL BEARS
- Career record of 30-36 at Cal
- Only 2 winning seasons in 6 at the helm
- 1-1 Bowl record
- Best season under his watch was 8-5 in 2019
- MUST show improvement this season because Cal has a proud football tradition and the program as a whole can’t afford to fall any farther behind.
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: OCTOBER 28TH. VS USC
11.). JEDD FISCH: ARIZONA WILDCATS
- Career record of 7-19 (1-11 & 5-7 in 2 years at Arizona as well as 2 games as the UCLA Interim HC in 2017)
- Produced a Top 25 recruiting class while at Arizona
- The 2023 season is huge for Fisch…can he get the Wildcats to a bowl game?
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: OCTOBER 7TH. AT USC
12.). KENNY DILLINGHAM: ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS
- Has yet to coach a game as a college football Head Coach
- Too new to rate
- Herm Edwards left the program as a disaster, so Dillingham has some flexibility to rebuild from the ground up.
- Was the OC at Oregon in 2022
- TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 23RD. VS USC
The next installment of my Power 5 Head Coach Power Rankings will head to the Big 10. The Big 10 is already a great football league, but there are 3 new coaches joining the ranks with hopes to make it better. You can find a great article regarding the ACC and potential realignment ideas written by our Legal Eagle on Spinnable Sports.com. My Irrational Confidence Podcast Co-Host also penned an article looking at the ACC / BIG 12 /PAC 12 and their media negotiations.