Results from last week: How many wins do you expect in 2012? The general consensus is that the Huskies will win 7-8 games in 2012. Eight wins led the pack with 38% of the vote, seven wins was a close second with 33% of the votes, and 9 wins was a distant third with 13% of the votes.
This Weekend's Debate: Which new Pac-12 coach concerns you the most? The Pac-12 welcomed four new coaches to its ranks after the conclusion of last season, Rich Rodriguez at Arizona, Todd Graham at Arizona State, Jim Mora at UCLA, and Mike Leach at WSU. Personally, I'm going to take great interested in how 3 out of the 4 coaches do at their new schools. Why you ask? During the coaching search that led to the hiring of Steve Sarkisian, 3 of these coaches were on my wish list, Sark wasn't even on my radar. Mike Leach was my top choice, followed closely by the former Husky Jim Mora. Having lived in Tulsa, I was very intrigued by Todd Graham and would have been happy if he had gotten the job. Needless to say, the next few years will help give me an idea of whether or not I have what it takes to be a good Athletic Director!
Back to the question at hand, what scares you more? The possibility of a tough, hard working UCLA team, surrounded by fertile recruiting grounds, or the possibility of having the #1 passing attack in the entire nation at Wazzu? Below is a breakdown of the four candidates and my thoughts on each of them. Make sure to vote for the coach that concerns you the most and then let us know why in the comment section.
Todd Grahahm - Arizona State: Even though ASU really botched the entire hiring process, I think they might have a much better coach than most people think. Having spent three very long years in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I know full well how amazing it was for Graham to go 36-17 in his time with the mighty Tulsa Hurricanes. The question ASU fans are dying to know: Was Graham the reason for the success at Tulsa, or was it Gus Malzahn his offensive coordinator?
Mike Leach - Washington State: The Pirate of the Palouse will probably do quite well in this poll, if for no other reason than being the coach at our cross state rival. As I mentioned earlier, Leach was my dream candidate for the Huskies head coach position, something about having the #1 ranked passing offense in the nation 8 out of 10 years at Texas Tech can do that. Lord have mercy if Leach figured out how to field a defense during his short sabbatical from college football.
Jim Mora - UCLA: With any coaching hire, you never know if the new coach is the right fit for the program. UCLA, much like Washington, is a school that has all the resources available to be a continual contender. What UCLA needs is a coach that will create a tough, hard working team. If Mora can get the players on board with his style and his toughness rubs off on them, UCLA could be a scary team in the Pac-12 South. Here's a scary thought: Jim Mora adds the toughness UCLA has been lacking and turns out to be a better college coach than NFL coach. Remind anyone of a guy named Pete Carroll?
Rich Rodriguez - Arizona: The last thing we (UW fans) need in our climb back to the top of the Pac-12 is a team like West Virginia masquerading as the Arizona Wildcats. The biggest question surrounding Rich Rod is whether Arizona gets the 60-26 coach that had great success at WVU or the 15-22 coach that never fit in at Michigan. Either way, Rich Rod's spread offense and 3-3-5 defense is going to create a lot of headaches for the other Pac-12 coaches.
My Vote: No matter how you look at it, the Pac-12 conference is going to be an exciting one! The conference known for great offenses, just got a few more great offensive coaches. I find all four coaches very intriguing and all are capable of having great success at their new programs. That being said, Mike Leach scares me more than the others. Not just because he's the only new coach in our division, but because he could be the absolutely perfect fit for a place like Pullman. The players he inherits from Paul Wulff will fit rather well in his offense, making the transition that much easier. I've greatly enjoyed the last few years, knowing that beating the Cougars was a very likely proposition. Now, the Apple Cup is going to be one of the most exciting games of the year . . . . . every single year!