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Pac-12 football: Cal makes coaching change late in cycle

First Published      Last Updated Jan 09 2017 03:01 pm

It is true that two of Utah's losses in the 2016 football season, in highly competitive games, were to teams led by Washington's Chris Petersen and Colorado's Mike MacIntyre, who were judged to have done some of the best coaching work in the country.

But there's also a weird element of the Utes' 9-4 season, involving losses to Oregon coach Mark Helfrich and California's Sonny Dykes, who have been fired. Cal made a surprising announcement about Dykes on Sunday, six weeks after the Bears' 5-7 season ended.

What do these moves say about Utah's season? Probably the biggest significance is the losses to those teams serve as evidence of why co-offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick was fired and replaced by Troy Taylor. The Utes produced three offensive touchdowns in each game, against two of the Pac-12's worst defenses.


p class="TEXT_w_Indent">Going forward, the coaching change at Oregon is the one that most affects Utah. That's because the Utes will meet the Ducks each of the next two seasons, while they won't face Cal until 2019 in the Pac-12 scheduling rotation.

Reports are mixed about whether former Oregon coach Chip Kelly is a viable candidate in Berkeley, after being fired by the San Francisco 49ers.

The biggest fallout of the coaching turnover so far in the Pac-12, as it affects Utah, is that Colorado defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt moved to Oregon in a similar position after helping the Buffaloes win the South title in 2016.

– Kurt Kragthorpe