- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
The offseason gives us time to reflect on everything from the minutiae to the monstrous to the mundane. Given your thoughts on each Pac-12 coach’s wins, this might fall into any of those categories for you.
But we look now at the best win for each coach since he (or his team) joined the Pac-12. Agree? Disagree? Let us know here.
Sonny Dykes | 9/27/2014 | Cal 59, Colorado 56
Year 1 didn’t really provide anything (really, just that one thing/win) worthy of this list. So we turned our eyes to 2014. At the time, the win over Northwestern seemed like it could be the biggest win of the year, but it was a premature thought since the Wildcats then decided to drag their feet through the rest of the season. That brought us to the three conference wins of the season -- Colorado, Washington State and Oregon State. At first we thought Wazzu because of the symbolic “student beating teacher” deal. But Cal didn’t as much win that game as Washington State lost it. So if we’re talking about good wins then we have to go with the double OT win against Colorado, right? Jared Goff threw seven touchdown passes but without the defensive stop and 34-yard field goal in double overtime, the Bears don’t win this one. All around team efforts get credit for a win. The best win of Dykes’ Pac-12 career thus far.
Mark Helfrich | 1/1/2015 | Oregon 59, Florida State 20
Never mind exactly how the Ducks followed this win up, just look at the game as it was. Florida State was the underdog based off the ranking, but the reigning national champion Seminoles were riding a 29-game win streak and were led by a quarterback who had never lost -- they were a sexy pick to “upset” Oregon and move on to defend their national title. But the Ducks took care of all of that. Marcus Mariota led a high-powered offense (338 passing yards, 301 rushing yards) while the defense efficiently picked apart FSU’s vaunted offense, forcing the Seminoles into five turnovers. The Ducks didn’t just win, they smashed FSU and even though Jameis Winston claimed that FSU beat itself, anyone watching that game knew that it was Helfrich’s Ducks that finished Florida State’s season.
Gary Andersen | 9/7/2012 | Utah State 27, Utah 20
Since Andersen is the conference’s newbie and he doesn’t have a Pac-12 game to his name yet as a head coach, we decided to read back into the annals of West Coast (ish) football and find Andersen’s best win out here, which would be Utah State’s 27-20 overtime win over Utah in 2012. The Aggies had lost 12 straight to instate rival Utah and the fact Andersen took down close friend and mentor Kyle Whittingham made the storylines all the more rich. It wasn’t a win as a Pac-12 coach, but is it a sign of things to come for the Beavs?
David Shaw | 11/17/2012 | Stanford 17, Oregon 14
So many of Shaw’s wins during the 2011 season were discounted by the people who said, “Yeah, well, he inherited all of Jim Harbaugh’s seniors.” But with those players gone, this win was all Shaw. Heading in to that game, it realistically looked like the Cardinal would have a four-loss season but instead, the win over No. 1 Oregon on the Ducks’ home turf gave Stanford a wave of momentum that pushed them to a 12-2 record as the Rose Bowl champs. The Ducks’ loss at the hands of Stanford effectively took Oregon out of the national title hunt and propelled Notre Dame into the championship game -- half of that sentiment should make Stanford fans feel very good. This might’ve been the easiest game to pick of the lot.
Chris Petersen | 10/11/2014 | Washington 31, Cal 7
Between the Pac-12 bloggers there was quite a bit of discussion with several valid points being brought up (and several valid counterpoints). Yes, Petersen beat Washington State in his first year … but it was against a team that was limping to the finish. Yes, they were 4-0 in nonconference play … but, c’mon, nonconference play, just look at that schedule. So it came down to the win at Cal and the win over Oregon State. Ultimately, I went with Cal. No other team on Cal’s schedule beat the Bears by as much as the Huskies did and even though the Bears finished with a 5-7 record, this was a good team. But, I mean, seriously, holding Cal to seven points? SEVEN POINTS? Oregon’s defense gave up 41 points to the Bears. Arizona’s defense gave up 45. And those were the two teams in the conference championship game! Stanford, the conference’s best defense last season, gave up 17. And yes, we knew that Washington defense was good last season, but this was a great performance for which we probably didn’t give UW enough credit. And it wasn’t just the defense. Cyler Miles looked good too -- 273 passing yards and three touchdowns. The offense didn’t turn the ball over at all. This was a great win.
Mike Leach | 11/23/2012 | Washington State 31, Washington 28
Leach’s first Apple Cup was a come-from-behind, overtime victory. It gave Cougar fans something to be thankful for in Leach’s first year (which, let’s admit, there wasn’t a ton to be thankful for before that UW win) and it gave the Palouse bragging rights for the next year. Also, the Cougars’ three touchdowns were all rushing touchdowns. If you want to talk about the unpredictability of the Apple Cup, well, there you go. It was the largest comeback for either team in their 105 meetings, and though Leach hasn’t beatrn Washington since that game, it was certainly a memorable and impressive win for the first-year coach.
6dChantel Jennings and Ted Miller