Despite being on the hot seat, Rich Rodriguez has not made his way very far down the list of best coaches in the game.
Unfortunately, that puts him one spot behind ASU’s Todd Graham.
Here’s what Athlon had to say about Rodriguez:
Arizona is just two years removed from the Pac-12 South title, but there is building pressure on Rodriguez. The Wildcats were hit hard by injuries and struggled to find the right pieces for a new defense last season, finishing with a 3-9 record and just one win in league play. The losing mark was Arizona’s first under Rodriguez, but the program is just 10-15 since winning the South title. Adding to the growing pressure for 2017 is a new athletic director. Through five years, Rodriguez is 36-29 with four bowl trips in Tucson. Prior to Arizona, Rodriguez was dismissed after a 15-22 record at Michigan but had a successful run at West Virginia (2001-07).
Despite being behind Graham, Rodriguez is actually ranked in front of a couple prominent coaches in the conference. USC’s Clay Helton checks in at No. 47 and UCLA’s Jim Mora is 74th. In addition, Cal’s Justin Wilcox 113th.
Houston and UTEP’s Major Applewhite and Sean Kugler are 117th and 118th, respectively. Arizona plays both of them in non-conference games this coming season.
Even though Rodriguez is ranked as the 38th best coach, Athlon has Arizona as the 66th best team in FBS this year. That’s right behind Oregon State, and directly in front of Appalachian State. The only Pac-12 team ranked below Arizona is Cal (76th).
It is interesting to see that Rodriguez is still pretty well thought of in regards to coaches, but the team is a different story. We’ll see what the Pac-12 ends up resembling more.