Good afternoon! We interrupt the usual content bin that’s been filled with “The Days of Our Realignment Lives” to write a bit about something else that has far less meaning but is still good for some entertainment: coach rankings. After that, we’ll get to some more realignment talk, mostly in the form of Jon Wilner’s highly predictable descent back into the pit of buffoonery. But first, rankings!
CBS Sports ranked all college football coaches as a whole a while back, and new Cougar head man Jack Dickert came in at #63. That seems fine, considering that a good bit of the criteria is subjective, and Dickert hasn’t even coached a full season yet. This week, the team at CBS broke the rankings down further, slotting every coach in his respective conference.
I know these kinds of articles are a lot like bowl projections, in that they’re designed to generate clicks and anger up the blood. That said, I think Dickert got shafted, having received a ranking of dead freaking last in the conference. All he did to earn that #12 ranking was take over a divided team in the midst of an internal crisis and lead it to three wins in four conference games, including a road win over 9th-ranked Herm Edwards, an ass-whipping of 11th-ranked Jedd Fisch (who has as many FCS losses as he does FBS wins), and a 40-13 Apple Cup beatdown of Washington in Husky Stadium.
The most nonsensical part of the exercise, to me anyway, is that Dan Lanning - he of precisely zero games as a head coach - is ranked 8th! Really?! And Dickert is behind even Karl Dorrell?! I feel like I’m taking crazy pills! A closer look at the list of head men does not exactly call to mind a “who’s who” of college football coaches. I mean, Chip Kelly is 3rd and he’s 18-25 at UCLA. Stanford is in a free fall, and David Shaw is 4th!
I don’t think there’s any question that Lincoln Riley and Kyle Whittingham are the top two, but there is a rather large gap between them and the other 10. If you ask me (you didn’t) Jonathan Smith is the 3rd best coach in the conference right now. I like him especially because he’s lost all four games to WSU but that’s neither here nor there. After Smith, you can just put all the others into a hat and draw names. As far as Edwards goes, it speaks to the decided leadership void in Tempe that Herm still has a job.
So, what do y’all think about the rankings?
Pac-12 coach rankings 2022: USC's Lincoln Riley debuts in top spot, Arizona State's Herm Edwards plummets - CBSSports.com
So how do the Pac-12 coaches stack up against each other? Here is the order as voted by the CBS Sports Staff in our offseason Power Five coach rankings.
Pac-12 Football: A Five-Step Plan to Save the Conference After the Loss of USC and UCLA - AthlonSports.com | Expert Predictions, Picks, and Previews
Can the Pac-12 be saved? Yes. However, the league has to move fast to secure its membership and address a few other challenges.
Jon Wilner is who we thought he was
We spent a decent amount of space last week issuing a “mea culpa” to Pac-12 reporter Jon Wilner, as he broke the news that basically destroyed the Pac-12, and followed up with some solid analysis regarding the outlook for the conference.
Welp, it was fun while it lasted, taking less than a week before Wilner waded back into the pit of buffoonery when answering reader questions. Kevin posted the entire thing on Saturday, so I won’t bother doing that here. My feeling about Wilner for a long time now has been that he’s very good at the reporting, and very bad at the analysis and forecasting. Well, wouldn’t you know it, Jon delivered once again.
Edited for brevity:
Who are your “have nots’ in the Pac-12? In other words, when all the dust settles with this next round of conference realignment, who is going to be hurt the most from their current stature?
That could mean falling into the Mountain West or tumbling into the Big Sky or a destination neither conceived nor created at this point. The situation is fluid.
But for the Cougars and Beavers, challenged like no others by finances and geography, the future is extremely fragile.
In all candor, I don’t see a home for them in the Power Five if the Pac-12 fractures.
While any objective WSU fan wouldn’t argue with our place in the Pac-12 brand pecking order, it is - once again - complete and utter rubbish to even suggest that WSU and OSU could fall as far as FCS. That isn’t going to happen, and giving oxygen to that bullshit is journalistic malpractice.
You’re supposed to be better than that, Jon. Unfortunately, those of us who rely on you for our Pac-12 news are used to this crap.
This Week in Parenting
Team Kendall spent the better part of this past week in the lovely - no seriously it’s gorgeous - little country of Slovenia. After a few days at Lake Bled, we ventured into Ljubljana, the nation’s capital. It didn’t take me long to learn that Slovenia is the home of NBA star Luka Dončić, which seemed pretty cool.
Back in 2019, we discovered the magical wonder known as chimney cakes in Prague. Well wouldn’t you know it, Ljubljana has its own version, called Dragon Fire Bread. It became the boys’ mission in life to eat some more of this deliciousness while they still could. After what felt like hours of watching the young lady behind the counter form, roll, bake, coat and fill the fire bread with ice cream, it was time for the payoff.
I won’t show the “after” photo because it involved copious amounts of napkins and wet wipes. But seriously if these things haven’t caught on in the U.S., somebody is missing out on a golden economic opportunity, especially given how many empty calories Americans insist on consuming every day.
We also took part in an escape room-type activity in Ljubljana Castle, one of the cooler castles I’ve seen over here (and I’ve seen many!). We had one hour to solve six problems and wake up the dragon (the dragon is a big part of the city’s identity), and there was - gasp - math involved. And goddamn if our saving grace wasn’t the realization that we had to use the order of operations method in order to figure out the toughest task. We woke the dragon in just under an hour, but more importantly, we didn’t kill each other. Victory!
Elsewhere, we’ve been trying to figure out how to get the boys prepared for the transition to school and sports in Florida. For the high schooler, that means trying to get him set up for freshman football. We were able to connect with the head coach, who told us that we need to create an account and begin an online clearance process. Ho-lee crap. Not only do both parent and kid have to sign a litany of pledges/waivers etc., he has to take a bunch of online classes and upload completion certificates.
Now, as a military guy who has had to suck up enough online training to take down the Google cloud, I kind of snickered when I saw him wading through the minutiae, but it seems to be a reflection of our increasingly litigious society. However, I was heartened by the fact that they have to sign a “no quit” pledge. If a player quits the team without a concrete reason, he/she can’t play that sport the next season. That’s a new one and welcome addition.
Tales From the Road
I mentioned that the family spent the last several days in Slovenia. It was our last European trip before we move back to the USA late next week, and it was really great. During lunch on the day we arrived, we took a tally of the places we’ve gone since moving here in 2018. In all, the boys have been to 26 different countries during our time overseas (I’m counting England and Scotland separately don’t @ me).
Ljubljana was a fitting end to our four year adventure, because it’s a classic European city. It has an old town and castle on the river, with a more modern city around it, with a great craft brewery, because of course. On Saturday afternoon, mom and the oldest went on a hunt for his preferred souvenir, a pocket knife (our touristy-souvenir collections comprised of pocket knives for him, snow globes for the 10 year-old and magnetic beer openers for yours truly).
Meanwhile, I took a walk to a nearby craft beer store. The route took me through the old town square, and it dawned on me that this would be the last time I’d see one of these for the foreseeable future. The scene couldn’t have been more idyllic. The temperature was perfect, the sky was cloudless, the church bells were ringing as an old man played an accordion, and some drunk youngsters sang at the foot of the France Prešeren monument. It made me realize that I really am gonna miss this place. Then I got pickpocketed and everything came crashing down.*
*last sentence may be entirely made up
Anyway, in true Belichickian prose, we’re on to Florida.
Follow the Leader – The Atavist Magazine
The story that follows is based on dozens of interviews with neo-Nazis, eyewitnesses, and former spies, and hundreds of pages of Stasi files and court records.
They tracked down their stolen cars. But the police didn’t show up | The Star
Toronto police say they are taking the spike in car thefts seriously, but have not given details on what steps they are taking.