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Pac-12 Football: Power Ranking the Conference's Coaches for 2012

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2011

Pac-12 Football: Power Ranking the Conference's Coaches for 2012

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    There hasn’t been a conference that has gone through as much change as the Pac-12 in the past two years. Colorado and Utah were added as full-time members, and there has been an absolutely incredible amount of coaching turnover.

    Going forward, which teams got the best deals in coaching, and which ones will be next to fire its head coach?

    Here’s a power ranking of all of the Pac-12 coaches.

12. Jon Embree, Colorado

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    Embree is a Colorado alumnus, but that is really all he has going for him. This is his first head coaching job, and the team is set to lose a whopping 12 players to graduation next year.

    None of this bodes well for his future in Boulder.

11. Mike Riley, Oregon State

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    Things have been getting progressively worse for Oregon State under Mike Riley, culminating in an abysmal 3-9 season.

    With Oregon doing so well, something will have to change soon or else someone else will be coming in as a replacement.

10. Jeff Tedford, Cal

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    Much like Riley, Tedford has fallen on some tough times in recent years. He has had no trouble turning out great NFL players, but getting wins on the field has gotten progressively more difficult during his tenure at Berkeley.

    With 11 players graduating at the end of this year, don’t be surprised if 2012 is the last year of Tedford's employment.

9. Todd Graham, Arizona State

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    Arizona State’s hiring of Todd Graham came completely out of left field, and it’s abundantly clear that the administration was desperate for a coach after firing Dennis Erickson.

    Graham has had success in the past at Tulsa, but much of that is due to offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Graham went 6-6 at Pitt and is going to have a lot of trouble having success in the Pac-12.

8. Jim Mora Jr., UCLA

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    UCLA hired away Mora from the NFL, and he is beginning to assemble what appears to be a fantastic bunch of assistant coaches.

    That said, Mora has never been a college head coach, and most of his success will probably be because of the assistants.

    At this point, he is a big unknown for the Pac-12.

7. David Shaw, Stanford

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    The jury should still be out on Shaw because he inherited a lot of talent from Jim Harbaugh. If Shaw can hold things together once Andrew Luck, David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin leave, he’ll go shooting up these rankings.

    Until then, let’s hold off our judgment for this first-time head coach.

6. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona

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    There is no denying Rich Rod had a great deal of success at West Virginia, but he failed miserably at translating that success into wins at Michigan.

    Arizona should be a better fit for his spread offense, but until Rodriguez can prove it on the field after being gone from coaching, he should be considered a middle-of-the-pack coach.

5. Lane Kiffin, USC

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    USC has had a lot of success this year, but Lane is more of a recruiter than a head coach. When you assemble the best players from around the country, it’s hard not to have success—especially this year when the Pac-12 South was just pathetic.

    The defense still needs a lot of work, and if Matt Barkley and Matt Kalil both leave, it could be a tough year for the Trojans.

4. Mike Leach, Washington State

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    The Pirate has been out of the game for a while now, but he quickly turned Texas Tech into one of the best teams in the country. There’s no reason he can’t do it at Washington State.

    Leach already has players who work well in his "Air Raid," and the Cougars should contend for the Pac-12 in a couple years.

3. Kyle Whittingham, Utah

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    Utah’s transition into the Pac-12 was not an easy one, but Whittingham has proven he can hang with the best of them. Once he and the team feel more comfortable in their new conference, expect the wins to start rolling in.

    Remember that this guy won the National Coach of the Year award back in 2008.

2. Steve Sarkisian, Washington

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    Washington has gotten better every year under Steve Sarkisian, and that trend is likely to continue. Keith Price is an emerging star at quarterback, and the Huskies are only losing six players to graduation.

    If Chris Polk sticks around, this team could be a legitimate contender in the Pac-12 next year and will certainly be one in years to come.

1. Chip Kelly, Oregon

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    Oregon has come under some NCAA heat recently and some of his players have gotten into trouble, but in terms of production on the field, there is no one better than Chip Kelly.

    The Ducks will go to their third BCS bowl in his three years as head coach, including nearly winning the National Championship last year.

    Until proven otherwise, Kelly is the best coach in the Pac-12.

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