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CBS Sports ranks Justin Wilcox as the 8th-best Pac-12 head coach and the 50th-best in the Power Five

Does CBS Sports think that Wilcox rocks?

NCAA Football: California at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

When the world has a never-ending hunger for content and a tireless love for listicles, it means there’s always a list for this and there’s always a list for that. This week’s topic is the Power Five head coaches.

Only two years of games under your belt? Doesn’t matter—you’re getting judged.

You finished your first year and it was a rebuild? Doesn’t matter—you’ve got a spot on the list.

Yet to coach a game? You’re on the list.

The California Golden Bears’ Justin Wilcox has finished his second year, but I would still argue that it’s too early to accurately evaluate him as a coach just yet—and he doesn’t even have it worst in the conference. Jonathan Smith lived through struggle city during his first year of remolding the Oregon State Beavers and Mel Tucker has yet to truly hit the field with his Colorado Buffaloes.

Nevertheless, CBS Sports is here to rank all 65 of the Power Five head coaches in their listicle. And why limit yourself to one article when you can make two! We’ve got coaches 65–26 and the top 25 right here.

As for how these rankings are decided, our crew of CBS Sports college football writers voted on them. There are no strict guidelines on which we based our rankings. Some could just be voting based on what the coach has accomplished in their careers. Others might be voting strictly on which coach they would hire right now. More than likely, most are a blend of several different factors.

But let’s not kid ourselves... we all really need content right now, so can we spin that out into even more articles? Let’s do it! CBS Sports has separate articles for each conference—and we all know that the Pac-12 is the only one that matters.

CBS Sports’ 2019 ranking of football head coaches

2019 Pac-12 rank 2019 Nat'l rank School Coach 2018 Pac-12 rank 2018 Nat'l rank Pac-12 change Nat'l change
2019 Pac-12 rank 2019 Nat'l rank School Coach 2018 Pac-12 rank 2018 Nat'l rank Pac-12 change Nat'l change
1 3 Washington Chris Petersen 1 5 0 2
2 9 Stanfurd David Shaw 2 7 0 -2
3 14 UC L.A. Chip Kelly 3 9 0 -5
4 18 Utah Kyle Whittingham 5 25 1 7
5 20 WSU Mike Leach 4 24 -1 4
6 40 Arizona Kevin Sumlin 7 36 1 -4
7 41 Oregon Mario Cristobal 9 54 2 13
8 50 California Justin Wilcox 8 53 0 3
9 51 USC Clay Helton 6 31 -3 -20
10 54 ASU Herm Edwards 11 64 1 10
11 63 OSU Jonathan Smith 10 63 -1 0
12 64 Colorado Mel Tucker N/A N/A N/A N/A

Wilcox comes in at eighth in the conference—the same as last year. (Although the Oregon Ducks’ Mario Cristobal and the USC Trojans’ Clay Helton switched spots from being better vs. worse than Wilcox.) Nationally, Wilcox is just the 50th-best coach in the Power Five, up from 53rd last year.

Curiously, the polled writers were reportedly quite conflicted on Wilcox. Given that he earned an individual vote as high as 39 (from Tom Fornelli), he must have also received some poor votes to tank his average score all the way down to 50. Another big fan of Wilcox’s was Ben Kercheval, who said the following of Wilcox’s Pac-12 grade:

Personally, this feels one or two spots too low for Wilcox. Low-key, he’s done a nice job taking Cal to bowl eligibility in two seasons (let’s just forget that Cheez-It Bowl ever happened). The defense has obviously improved, and the Bears knocked off Washington last season.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to hear from those who have more-negative perceptions of Wilcox. Maybe they just have bad reactions to him based on his resemblance to Jaime Lannister?


Homerism aside, how would you rank Wilcox relative to the rest of the conference’s coaches?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    1—get this man a statue!
    (18 votes)
  • 1%
    (5 votes)
  • 6%
    (17 votes)
  • 12%
    (36 votes)
  • 22%
    (63 votes)
  • 29%
    (83 votes)
  • 12%
    (34 votes)
  • 7%
    8—the article nailed it
    (21 votes)
  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    (1 vote)
280 votes total Vote Now