The Sporting News gave out their Pac-12 coaching rankings.The suspects go as you would suspect. Chip Kelly is first, because DUH. Lane Kiffin isn't too far behind, and Kyle Wittingham, Steve Sarkisian and David Shaw rounding up the top of the charts. Everyone else is either unproven or on the downside.
There was one curious result: Mike Leach is number two.
Mike Leach's current record in the Pac-12 is 0-0.
In related news, Sporting News also believes Andrew Luck is the third or fourth best quarterback in the NFL and the Oregon Ducks 2015 new uniforms are the best they've ever come up with (possible mockup here).
Now, I like Mike Leach, which probably puts me in the same subset of people who believe siracha is delicious and dubstep is dystopian. But ranking a coach off of prior success would put Leach only slightly above Rich Rod and Jeff Tedford in career results, and he should be somewhere near the middle of this list.
Leach also hasn't coached in two seasons, making him even less fresh than a man like Rodriguez. Rodriguez didn't enjoy nearly as much success at Michigan, but he did have the Wolverines moving on the upswing (just nearly fast enough).
And finally, Leach has never won the Big 12, and only won his division once in a tiebreaker. We can talk about the disadvantages of dueling Texas and Oklahoma on a regular basis, but he only won six or more conference games twice (and outside those years was 34-30). Even Rodriguez and Tedford can claim conference championships (Rodriguez won the Big East 2007 Title at West Virginia, Tedford the 2006 co-championship with USC). Perhaps you could say Texas Tech was a backwater before he got there, but it's doubtful that putting up similar results at Washington State will make him "second best coach in the Pac" worthy.
You can't crown a man because he does awesome things like engage college football fans on Reddit and inspire the new Friday Night Lights movie. Let the man keep on being the pirate, the underdog. Don't establish him! Let's enjoy him while we've got him!
Now, who is worthy of that second spot?
- Lane Kiffin: Two seasons. One Pac-12 South title won in dominant fashion, a third place Pac-10 finish.
- David Shaw: A solid season ruined by Oregon, Stanford did well with limited talent around Andrew Luck. Can't judge Shaw until you see him without Luck calling the plays.
- Steve Sarkisian: Good enough to beat the bad to average teams, trampled upon by everyone else. Fifth is wherehe belongs at this point.
- Kyle Whittingham: Somehow going 4-5 in the Pac-12 doesn't impress me as much as it should.
I'd probably give it to Lane, then probably Shaw. Probably drop Leach a few spots lower behind Kiffin and Shaw, then stick Rich-Rod in there based on previous results.
The second best coach in the Pac-12 is...
Mike Leach (163 votes)
Lane Kiffin (21 votes)
Kyle Whittingham (40 votes)
Steve Sarkisian (36 votes)
Someone else (17 votes)
277 total votes