Where Dan Lanning, other Pac-12 coaches, rank among college football’s top 35
Spring football is just starting to get underway for college programs around the country, and 247Sports used the opportunity to rank the 35 best coaches in the game right now.
Five of the top 35 come from the Pac-12 conference, including Oregon’s Dan Lanning who is set to start his second season in Eugene after a very successful first campaign which ended with a victory in the Holiday Bowl over North Carolina.
Lanning is not only one of five Pac-12 coaches on this list, he is one of three who have experience as the head coach at Oregon – alongside UCLA’s Chip Kelly and Miami’s Mario Cristobal, who comes in at number 20.
Georgia’s Kirby Smart takes home the top spot over Nick Saban, a result that may have seemed inconceivable a few years ago but makes sense after the dominance the Bulldogs showed the past two seasons.
Jim Harbaugh, Dabo Swinney and Brian Kelly round out the top five. Here is a look at the five Pac-12 coaches represented on this list:
Dan Lanning - Oregon (No. 27)
Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
“Lanning was heading toward straight As on his report card in Year 1 at Oregon before struggling on his final with November losses to Washington and Oregon State. However, 10 wins is a great building block for the ace recruiter ahead of the 2023 campaign.”
Chip Kelly - UCLA (No. 26)
Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
“Kelly’s breakout season with the Bruins after an illustrious tenure at Oregon came last season, when UCLA was one of the Pac-12’s top finishers thanks to a veteran-heavy lineup.”
Kalen DeBoer - Washington (No. 17)
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
“With the head-to-head win over Lanning and six straight victories to end the 2022 season, DeBoer was a breath of fresh air for a Washington program needing stability. Michael Penix Jr. was an underrated transfer from Indiana whom DeBoer unlocked in his spread offensive scheme. Both of Washington’s losses last season came in consecutive weeks on the road by a single possession, so this team was only a few plays away from being in national title contention.”
Kyle Whittingham - Utah (No. 8)
Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
“After losing to Florida and UCLA prior to mid-October, Kyle Whittingham and the Utes went on a hot streak with five wins over their final six games to reach another Pac-12 title game. Utah beat then fourth-ranked USC to clinch another conference championship and punched a return ticket to the Rose Bowl. Utah’s three-point losses to Florida and Oregon this fall were tough to stomach, but once again, Whittingham proved to have one of the nation’s most resilient groups. He is 154-74 at Utah.”
Lincoln Riley - USC (No. 7)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
“Lincoln Riley’s first season at USC passed the Pac-12 eye test with flying colors as one of nation’s most talented, transfer-heavy rosters. It was Alex Grinch’s defense that cost the Trojans a shot at a College Football Playoff berth in the Pac-12 championship game, not the other side of the football. Riley’s offense clicked on all cylinders this season and produced another Heisman winner at the quarterback position. Riley’s scheme works and he has brought USC back to national prominence in short order. He is 66-13 as a head coach across two blue-blood programs.”