Pac-12: Bill Moos

While some like to gleefully dance around a raging bonfire in nothing but a loincloth with the heads of college football coaches on pitchforks, the Pac-12 blog is less demonstrative. And more empathetic.

It believes there is no glee in seeing someone fired, even if said coach is snarky, unavailable or arrogant. Let he who is not sometimes snarky, unavailable or arrogant cast the first stone! (Pac-12 blog starts sheepishly whistling.)

That's why the Pac-12 blog cringes every year when it acts as a reluctant prophet of doom by putting a thermometer to each conference coaches' stool and announcing a temperature. It gives us no pleasure to tell the coach to slide over a bit so we can scramble some eggs and rustle up some bacon (thick cut) on a portion of his seat.

Ah, but there is good news in 2014. The Pac-12 coaching stools range from comfortably chilled to slightly warm to the touch. There are no Will Muschamps, Mike Londons or Dana Holgorsens in the Pac-12 this year.

So while there's always going to be someone stuck at No. 12 when Pac-12 teams are ranked, there's good reason to believe the conference just might get through a season without a coaching change -- at least not one created by a boot and a slamming door.

1. David Shaw, Stanford: Shaw has won consecutive Pac-12 titles. He inherited a good thing from Jim Harbaugh and made it better. He's a Stanford graduate and he loves raising his family among family in Palo Alto. While many view him as a future NFL coach -- and you never say never in coaching -- he's the most likely guy on this list to be in the same place a decade from now.

[+] EnlargeJim Mora
Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsJim Mora is 19-8 in two seasons at UCLA.
2. Jim Mora, UCLA: In just two seasons, Mora has built the Bruins into a Pac-12 and national contender. He has considerable positive momentum on the field and in recruiting. The most likely scenario for departure is him leaving on his own accord. UCLA can avoid that by continuing to invest in the football program -- read: coaching salaries and facilities upgrades.

3. Todd Graham, Arizona State: Mora and Graham are really 2A and 2B, as they have both turned so-called "sleeping giants" into potentially awakening giants. While some still believe Graham could eventually have a wandering eye, every indication -- including this -- is he is setting up for the long term in Tempe.

4. Chris Petersen, Washington: Petersen is not only secure because he's in his first season with the Huskies, he's also secure because he's Chris Petersen, who's widely regarded as an elite coach. Of course, if he's a 7-5 or 6-6 Chris Petersen in December, then the Sark II jokes will begin.

5. Mike Leach, Washington State: While Leach isn't great at avoiding controversy -- he feels no need to place a filter between his brain and mouth -- his team took a big step forward last year. Further, he seems like a great fit in Pullman and with Coug fans, who enjoy his quirkiness. Finally, he's got a good and supportive AD in Bill Moos, who has tirelessly worked to improve the facilities around the program.

6. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona: Rodriguez has done a good job his first two years in Tucson, winning more than a few games he shouldn't have, as well as grabbing a pair of bowl victories. What knocks him down here is Graham's success in Tempe and Graham's 2-0 record in the Territorial Cup. Rich Rod can't afford for that to become a long-term trend.

7. Mike Riley, Oregon State: The notion that Riley could be terminated feels unlikely, but there is a faction of Beavers fans that is dissatisfied with the program, in large part because of Oregon's rise to national prominence. If those folks would write the athletic department a $68 million check, they'd have more legitimacy and a better chance of getting an audience with AD Bob De Carolis.

8. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado: MacIntyre's early returns are solid. Colorado improved in myriad ways last year. He seems like a good fit. But the Buffaloes are just 1-8 in conference games the past two seasons. You'd suspect fans are ready to show some patience, but a coach is never secure until he starts winning conference games.

9. Steve Sarkisian, USC: How can Sarkisian be all the way down here in his first year? For one, it's because his hiring wasn't overwhelmingly greeted with celebratory cheers. But it's also that USC fans have a small window for satisfaction: Pac-12 championships and national titles. You even can win a bunch of the former and not be loved if you're not competing for the latter.

10. Mark Helfrich, Oregon: Helfrich has some of the same issues as Sark, though he's in his second year leading a nouveau riche program as opposed to an old-school power. He won 11 games and was in the national title picture much of 2013 but some Ducks fans only know him for Not Being Chip Kelly. The Ducks are again Pac-12 favorites and top national title contenders. If they lose more than one regular-season game, though, some fans might become disgruntled. Not saying it's right, but it would happen.

11. Kyle Whittingham, Utah: Whittingham is the starting line on this list for where there's actually some real warmth, but he also has a strong track record with his program and a legitimate excuse: It ain't easy moving up from the Mountain West to the Pac-12. Still, Utes fans are eager to gain some traction in the South Division. Whittingham should be safe with a return to the postseason, but a third consecutive losing record could tighten the screws considerably.

12. Sonny Dykes, California: Dykes is only in his second season, which typically would mean he's safe. The conventional wisdom is a coach needs at least three and preferably five years to be fairly evaluated. But college football has become far less patient with losing -- even academic bastions like Berkeley -- and Cal has spent a bunch of cash for fancy facilities upgrades. The expectation here is Dykes will be back in 2015 if his team wins three or four games and shows improvement in terms of soundness and consistent focus. But he can't afford another feckless 1-11 season.

Video: Washington State AD Bill Moos

May, 9, 2014
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Washington State athletic director Bill Moos talks with Ted Miller about a potential neutral site for the Pac-12 title game, the Pac-12 meetings and facilities improvements at his school.

PHOENIX -- The overriding message coming out of Pac-12 meetings is that major changes in college football governance are now inevitable, even if the details and long-term consequences of those changes remain unclear.

The Big Five conferences will meet in August and almost certainly obtain a new autonomy level within the NCAA structure. At that point, major rules changes, including those that significantly bolster the support and benefits provided to athletes, will start to be formulated. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott intimated that things could move fairly quickly thereafter, so his message to conference coaches and athletic directors was basically to buckle up.

"Quickly is a relative concept, but deadlines are good," Scott said. "I think if we get the autonomy that we've asked for, the commissioners will be setting out a very aggressive timetable to put proposals out ... I expect we'll have a very intensive process over the next four months -- September through December -- where practitioners from our campuses are working on different agendas, including those with a deadline of January, specific proposals that can be voted upon by the 65 schools [in the Big Five]."

So "quickly" might mean?

"The goal is to implement whatever changes we're going to implement for the 2015-16 year," Scott said.

Chief among those would be cost of attendance scholarships, which could vary significantly by team and conference. Scott, however, noted that doesn't create a massive change of direction and complication because the pure value of tuition scholarships also vary by team and conference.

What does need to be implemented to prevent any fudging is a clear formula that all 65 schools apply to calculate the new value of their cost of attendance scholarships.

"I don't think it will that big of a deal, but there will be issues to work through in terms of a common method of determining the full cost," Scott said.

There is a significant degree of consensus within the Big Five conferences for adopting the cost of attendance scholarships, and it appears there is unanimity within the Pac-12.

"These are a lot of things that are going to be costly for us but I think are necessary and in line with what I believe we should be doing for our student-athletes," said Washington State athletic director Bill Moos, echoing other conference ADs.

While Scott was unwilling to admit that the Northwestern football union challenge and Ed O'Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA were driving the oncoming changes, he did concede the legal challenges to the NCAA governance structure and the publicity surrounding them weren't too far from administrators' minds.

"Is it some of these external challenges driving it? I would say no. There's been a recognition for some time [about these issues]," Scott said. "But I'd say external pressures bring a helpful focus and helpful push to get these things done."

[+] EnlargeLevi's Stadium
AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezLevi's Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, could be the new home of the Pac-12 championship game as well.
As for the other major item on the Pac-12 agenda, it was more based on the West Coast: The location of the 2014 Pac-12 championship game. There were earnest discussions over the two days about changing it from a game hosted by the conference's top team to a neutral site, specifically the San Francisco 49ers' new home, Levi's Stadium, in Santa Clara, California.

While the potential move was an intriguing idea, it also isn't a done deal.

"I think there was a lot of positive feeling about it," Scott said. "Some objected. There are some pros and cons."

Said Moos: "Personally, I think [Levi's Stadium] is the way to go."

Said USC athletic director Pat Haden: "I think the current model has actually worked pretty well, the home host. I know the CEOs are debating that and discussing that. I don't think any decision has been made. Quite honestly, at USC, we don't mind the home-host model because we think we've got a chance of hosting."

Shrugged Washington's Scott Woodward: "I'm ambivalent. I trust the league and what they want to do. I have no problem one way or the other."

If the title game is going to be played in the new 49ers stadium on Dec. 5, a decision almost certainly would be announced in June, when the Pac-12 presidents meet.

"If we are going to make the move, it wouldn't be later than that," Scott said.

So it appears that the summer, once a quiet time for college football news, will be anything but that this year.

Pac-12's lunch links

May, 5, 2014
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No misery gets sweeter dipped in devil juice.

Pac-12's lunch links

January, 7, 2014
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A huge earthquake happens, who do they rescue first? They'll rescue Clooney, Sandra Bullock, me. If there's room, you guys will come.
I've heard another rumor, that you were bitten by a king cobra?

Yeah, I was. But after five days of agonizing pain, the cobra died.

The Sun Devils may have scored their hybrid linebacker of the future. It's just a far off future.

Keeping with a recent conference trend of handing out offers to pre-high schoolers, the Sun Devils offered a scholarship to 14-year-old Loren Mondy, a 6-1, 233-pounder who will be a freshman at Mansfield Lake Ridge High this fall, according to Chris Karpman of ASUDevils.com.

Mondy is believed to be the youngest commit ever for ASU.

This comes on the heels of UCLA offering quarterback Lindell Stone (also from Texas) and USC offering to wide receiver Nathan Tilford of Upland, Calif., earlier this month.

Ted has some thoughts on the practice of offering the youngsters here. If you don't recall this particular article from earlier in the month, he uses the word yucky.

There is, however, a connection in the case of Mondy, which makes this particular instance a little more understandable. Per the article, Mondy's father, Michael, played for ASU coach Todd Graham both in high school and NAIA East Central University. When you look at it from a legacy perspective, it's actually kind of cool.

Some quotes from Mondy in Karpman's story:
"Coach was talking about me going to that school I was getting goose bumps. I was so excited. I'm really happy about it. My dad is really happy about it too."

"I'm an aggressive player but also think about my teammates," said Mondy, who claims to run a 4.8 40-yard dash and have a 230 pound benchpress. "I don't try to go out there and get all these penalties. I'm a smart player."

The guy who replaces the guy who replaces Carl Bradford better watch out. Graham loves players who keep the penalties to a minimum.

WSU future schedule

The Cougars added Eastern Washington to their 2016 future schedule, athletic director Bill Moos announced on Tuesday. They'll play Sept. 3 at Martin Stadium.

The teams faced off in 2012, which the Cougars won 24-20. It was Mike Leach's first career win at WSU. WSU won the previous meetings in 1907 and 1908. Also on the 2016 docket is a meeting at Boise State.

“We revived the series last year after more than 100 years and look forward to scheduling additional contests in the future,” Moos said in a statement. “This is a game that is of great interest to fans throughout the Pacific Northwest, particularly in eastern Washington."

Earlier this month Washington State and Rutgers inked a home-and-home in 2014 and 2015.
Circus life, under the big-top world. We all need the clowns to make us smile.

Pac-12 athletic director salaries

March, 12, 2013
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UCLA's Dan Guerrero is the Pac-12's top paid athletic director, according to recently released figures from USA Today, while Colorado's Mike Bohn ranked last in the conference among the public schools that are required to disclose salaries.

The salaries for Stanford’s Bernard Muir or USC’s Pat Haden are unavailable because they work for private schools.

Vanderbilt's David Williams tops the list at $3.24 million, but he's a special case. The "true" leader is Louisville's Tom Jurich at $1.412 million.

Nine athletic directors make more than $1 million a year, though none in the Pac-12. It's also notable that the cost of living is much higher in Pac-12 cities compared to cities in just about every other conference.

Guerrero's total pay of $715,211 ranks 18th in the nation.

Strap, God wants you on the floor.

Lunch links: Should Barkley play?

December, 4, 2012
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I'm rolling thunder, pouring rain; I'm coming on like a hurricane.

Lunch links: Trojans and turnovers

November, 13, 2012
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Blogging isn't writing. It's graffiti with punctuation.

Pac-12 will review Wilson allegations

November, 12, 2012
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Washington State and the Pac-12 will both review allegations made by former Washington State star receiver Marquess Wilson that first-year coach Mike Leach and his staff were abusive to players.

The school announced that Wilson was suspended last week amid reports that he left a challenging conditioning workout on Nov. 4, the Sunday after the Cougars lost to Utah.

On Saturday, Wilson released a statement that said he had left the team, and that Leach and his staff have "preferred to belittle, intimidate and humiliate us," and that included physical abuse.

On Sunday, Washington State president Elson S. Floyd released a statement:
After consultation with WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos, I have asked our athletic department to fully review recent allegations raised concerning the football program and report their findings and conclusions as soon as possible. Simultaneously, I have asked the Pac-12 to independently do the same. Together, both reports should get to the bottom of the matter.

Leach was out of coaching two years before being hired by Washington State. He spent 10 seasons as Texas Tech’s coach but was fired in 2009 for insubordination.

It is unclear what Wilson's plans are. He entered the season as an All-American candidate but seemed to have problems with Leach almost immediately. Even though he led the team with 52 receptions for 813 yards this season, Leach had demoted him from the starting lineup.

The Cougars entered the season with bowl hopes, but they are 2-8 and have lost seven in a row.

Suffice it to say, this was not what Moos hoped for when he hired Leach amid much local and national fanfare.
Step out the front door like a ghost into a fog where no one notices the contrast of white on white;
And in between the moon and you, the angels get a better view of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.
Not Penny's boat.

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