For the first time in almost a decade this college football season has seen, at least temporarily, a shift in power.
The Oregon-Ohio State playoff National Championship marks the first time since Vince Young danced dissected and danced around USC’s defense that an SEC school will not be playing for all the marbles. In fact, it was a bowl season to forget with the vaunted SEC West with only Texas A&M and Arkansas claiming victories.
Monday night in Arlington the Pac-12 and Big Ten will step into the spotlight as Oregon’s Mark Helfrich matches wits with one of the best in Urban Meyer.
The fall of 2015 got a whole lot more interesting when Jim Harbaugh’s worst-kept-secret divorce from the San Francisco 49ers became the Michigan Wolverines gain. The former UM quarterback has already assembled a veteran staff who knows how to win and almost equally important, recruit.
“The rock star coaches that we talk about [have arrived],” FOX college football analyst Charles Davis told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a recent phone interview. “The Big 10’s image has really jumped up in that way.”
He referred to Meyer, Harbaugh, Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio and Penn State’s James Franklin as “the four alphas” in a conference who’s been fighting for national credibility the past several years.
According to Davis the same can be said for the Pac-12 with heavyweights David Shaw, Todd Graham, Rich Rodriguez, Mike Leach, Chris Petersen, Jim Mora and Steve Sarkisian. The conference is 6-2 in bowls with Oregon carrying the torch towards a possible conference member national champion.
“The coaching has not been better in the Pac-12 in a lot of years,” Davis explained to Cesmat. “They’re now relevant.”
After taking over two teams in desperate need of makeovers Graham and Rodriguez have guided Arizona State and Arizona to three consecutive bowl games. Each are 2-1 after the Sun Devils beat Duke in the Sun Bowl and the Wildcats were upset by Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.