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USA Today: Stanford, Oregon made best back-to-back modern coaching hires

Harbaugh and Shaw. Bellotti and Kelly.

Stanford v Oregon Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The best two modern Pac-12 programs are defined by their stability. The Oregon Ducks and Stanford Cardinal each had one stable coach who is defined by his consistency, and another electric talent who made the most of his years before vaulting to the NFL. USA Today ranked those two back-to-back coaching stints the best in modern college football.

  1. Stanford: Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw. Harbaugh set the table with an incredible four-year rebuild that took them to the Orange Bowl. Shaw has steadied things after that, with three Pac-12 titles and a Fiesta Bowl appearance. Stanford has won eight games or more every season since 2009.
  2. Oregon: Mike Bellotti and Chip Kelly. Before Kelly, there was Bellotti, who won one Pac-10 title but also had Oregon in contention for conference titles nearly every season. Chip took Oregon to the next level, bringing the Ducks three Pac-10/12 titles and a national title game appearance.

Also on the list is the Utah Utes at 4 with Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham. Meyer (like Harbaugh and Kelly) was the rocket ship that outgrew his perch. Whittingham has been the stable ship-runner, leading the Utes to countless winning seasons and a Sugar bowl.

Finally, there’s the Oregon State Beavers at 10 with Dennis Erickson and Mike Riley. Erickson took Oregon State to its greatest victory in its Fiesta Bowl destruction of Notre Dame. Riley made sure Oregon State got the most out of limited talent, taking them to bowl game after bowl game.