Pac-12 stock report: Oregon’s search (the Knight factor and tricky timing), Washington’s QB room and Arizona’s on-court uptick


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Commentary on Pac-12 developments on and off the field, and court …

Rising: Phil Knight’s opportunity

The Nike boss and Oregon patriarch reportedly was frustrated that Mario Cristobal turned down a lucrative extension offer; he’s desperate for his alma mater to win a national championship; and he will be 84 years old when the Ducks open the 2022 season against Georgia (in Atlanta).

The combination of infinite resources and extreme motivation undoubtedly will result in Knight considering anyone and everyone for the vacancy, perhaps from Urban Meyer on down. (Or up, depending on your view of Meyer.)

If Knight finds a candidate with the right qualifications and a desire to accept the challenge, we expect the mega-billionaire to fast track his man through the search process.

It’s an unprecedented dynamic, really. We often see major donors play key roles in coaching searches, especially in football. But Oregon is different because of Knight’s influence in the sports world and relationships with so many sitting head coaches. (Also, the Ducks have hired someone from outside the program once in the past 40 years.)

On the high side, it’s a chance for the Ducks to offer an impressive answer to USC’s hiring of Lincoln Riley.

On the low side, it’s a chance for the Ducks to make a misguided hire that ultimately sets the program back.

Either way, it’s fascinating theatre with Knight playing such an influential role behind the scenes.

Falling: Oregon’s timing

The early-signing window is six days away, which lends a hefty dose of intrigue and urgency to Oregon’s search.

Should the Ducks move quickly to secure a coach in time to salvage the recruiting class?

Or should they take their time, consider a wider pool of candidates, including NFL coaches, and accept that their recruiting efforts must focus on the February signing period?

There are risks with either approach.

At this point, Oregon’s class is No. 15 nationally (per 247Sports) and has seven players with four-star ratings. Many other prospects, of course, are waiting for the outcome of the search.

The desire to maintain recruiting momentum is understandable and wholly justified, but context is also required:

— The 2021 early-signing window will account for approximately two-thirds of a single class, or less than 20% of the total roster.

— The transfer portal assuredly will be flush with players interested in the Ducks over the next four or five months.

— Their roster is stocked with elite, young talent at every position.

In other words, they …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

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