Nick Kranz: Chip Kelly has to be the best, and Herm Edwards the worst, right? So really it's now a debate between Oregon State Beavers coach Jonathan Smith and Oregon Ducks coach Mario Cristobal for 2nd/3rd. I guess I'd give the nod to Cristobal since he has previous head coaching experience and a better resume as a coordinator and recruiter, but neither hires strike me as obvious coups. Smith was about as good as you could expect OSU to attract considering the state of their program and the money they have to spend. Cristobal was about as good as Oregon could expect considering the timing of their vacancy and their own interest in trying to preserve their recruiting class.
Honestly though, Cristobal and Smith seem wildly boring compared to Chip and Herm. Say what you want about whether those two will succeed, they will make the Pac-12 more fun either way. Chip will likely recruit really well to UCLA, and if he can rediscover his offensive creativity and mojo, could be wildly successful. But the manner in which his NFL career imploded does give me pause.
Herm seems particularly unsuited to coaching college, and we're talking about a guy who was only kinda successful in the NFL. Losing two coordinators puts him behind the 8 ball even more. If his tenure isn't a disaster I'll be very, very surprised.
thedozen: #1: I've always disliked Chip Kelly as an opposing fan, but he's a pretty strong hire for the UCLA Bruins even if it will be difficult to reconstruct his success at Oregon.
#2: Mario Cristobal is a reasonable in-house choice for the Ducks given his past head coaching experience and the fact that he has paid his dues at Oregon.
#3: Oregon State's Jonathan Smith is just 38, but that's only a few years younger than Wilcox and he stays out of the basement in these rankings.
#4: I have no idea what ASU is doing with Herm Edwards after a decent season under Todd Graham still led to his firing.
Rob Hwang: Oregon fans might call for Cristobal’s resignation if they have an abysmal game 1/2 even though he brings in a solid group of recruits. People might start tweeting about how they went the cheap route... Wait a second... I’ve seen this story before...
Also only one more thing. I hope the PAC-12 schedules Herm Edwards and Mike Leach after one another for PAC-12 Media Days. That’s all I want.
boomtho: Chip Kelly is a home run IMO - that's the one that I'm really scared about.
Everyone else kind of ranges from "meh" to "WTF?!", specifically:
Cristobal is an extension of the status quo, though it's unclear what exactly that is after one year of Taggart
Jonathan Smith is young and not that experienced, and OSU is such a tough place to win... getting Mike Riley back as an assistant is a win for sure, though.
Herm Edwards makes me laugh, and likely will all year.
Kevin Wu: #1: Definitely Chip Kelly. While I'm not a fan of his gruffness, he only ever excelled at the college level. I am pretty envious of the Bruins right now...
#2: Mario Cristobal because he's got a very nice track record and resume. Although, I find it pretty interesting that the Ducks can't seem to attract the big-name guys, particularly given all that Niike money at their disposal.
#3: OSU's guy - I can't even remember his name. OSU is a bottom dweller in the Pac-12, so going for a young, hungry coach is the smart thing to do.
#4: Herm Edwards is going to fail pretty hard for the Arizona State Sun devils. But, he's a Cal guy and has amazing sound bites - so I will be very intrigued with him during his (super short) tenure with the Sun Devils.
ragnarok: Besides lightning-fast athletes all over the field, I always associated Chip Kelly's run at Oregon with an embarrassingly long rap sheet. It never seemed to impact the results on the field, but it was always a bit embarrassing, and it doesn't seem like the sort of thing that UCLA will tolerate as much as Oregon did. That sort of record is the only thing that gives me pause before claiming Kelly to be a surefire success in Westwood.