Santa Clara, Calif. • The Pac-12 football championship game Friday night matched two opposing assistant coaches who have attracted interest from UNLV, one of four Mountain West schools with a head coaching vacancy.
Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley and Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo “could have mutual interest” in the UNLV job, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Scalley, 40, is among five finalists for the Broyles Award that will be presented next week to the country's top assistant coach. His defense was ranked No. 1 against the run and No. 3 overall, going into the conference title game. He's in his 12th season on Utah's staff and fourth year as coordinator and is highly valued within Utah's athletic department.
UNLV would have to make a major financial commitment to secure a coach such as Scalley or Arroyo. Former coach Tony Sanchez made $600,000 annually, according to USA Today's database. Scalley makes $820,000 in the first year of a two-year contract and Arroyo earns $825,000.
The Rebels have upgraded their on-campus football facilities and will begin sharing the new Allegiant Stadium with the NFL's Raiders in 2020.
The other MW openings are at Colorado State, New Mexico and Fresno State.
This would have been another good year for the Pac-12 title game to be played in Las Vegas, within easy driving distance for tens of thousands of Utah fans. The event is booked for Allegiant Stadium in 2020 and '21.
Utah had several thousand fans in attendance Friday, and the marketing calculations of VividSeats.com gave the Utes a slight edge over Oregon in the stands.
The six games at Levi's Stadium have not been big draws for traveling fans, after the first three championship contests were played at campus sites. The consolation for the Pac-12 is what commissioner Larry Scott described as “a great window, an exclusive window” for ABC's national telecast Friday.
Utah's contending for a College Football Playoff berth gave the game “national ramifications” that would attract viewers “based on how it could impact their team and their league,” Scott said.
Scott expressed mild disappointment that Utah's success had not created more discussion nationally, but credited the CPF committee for noticing the No. 5-ranked Utes. “If you look at the committee [members], they've absolutely shown respect for Utah throughout the season, because they're watching games.”
Regardless of what's ahead for Utah's football team, at least seven seniors will play in January all-star games. Ute quarterback Tyler Huntley this week was invited to the East-West Shrine Bowl, Jan. 18 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Utah defensive linemen Leki Fotu and Bradlee Anae, linebacker Francis Bernard, safeties Julian Blackmon and Terrell Burgess and running back Zack Moss will play in the Senior Bowl, Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala.
Ute cornerback Jaylon Johnson, a junior, will be eligible for an invitation once he declares for the NFL draft, because he will have graduated from the school.