Oregon HC Mario Cristobal is officially gone and why we should care about Notre Dame's new coach
You spin me right 'round, baby.
Oh, you thought the Cal Football season was over? The coaching carousel stops for no woman and for no man.
Across the country and in the land no one cares about, Notre Dame is undergoing a makeover. After 12 seasons, head coach Brian Kelly has departed, heading to LSU to fake a Southern accent first and coach some players second. Kelly leaves behind a mind-boggling history with Notre Dame, including a 92–39 record (which does not include 21 vacated wins) and meeting or exceeding 10 wins in six of the past seven seasons.
Is it time for Notre Dame to enter a massive rebuild? Maybe not… Not only has an internal hire been made to promote defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to head coach, but the Fighting Irish have reportedly managed to retain eight of ten coaches from their impressive 11–1 squad.
Why do we care? Because they’re one of our 2022 nonconference opponents. Can the Bears capitalize on the (lack of?) changes to snag the big win over this hallowed school? Notre Dame will play Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl, so we’ll get a good chance to see what we’re up against.
But if we focus on things even more relevant to the Bears, there’s a change over in Eugene for our overlords over at Addicted to Quack.
It looks like for the second time in two coaches, the Oregon head coach will be leaving for his hometown/childhood team in the state of Florida. Mario Cristobal is reportedly leaving the Ducks to lead his alma mater and losers of the 2008 Emerald Bowl—Miami.
There’s a lot of crazy surrounding this hire, as is usually the case with the U.
Additionally, Miami doesn’t have an athletic director yet who would generally release Diaz and hire Cristobal—that hire is coming AFTER all this madness.
Also, Phil Knight reportedly had an extension on the table for Cristobal during the Pac-12 title game, and Cristobal refused to sign. The extension was then taken off the table.
Cristobal has been quite impressive with the Ducks since he took over for the Florida State–bound Willie Taggart, leading them to a 35–13 record (23–10 Pac-12) over the past four seasons (plus one bowl) with two Pac-12 North titles and two Pac-12 Championships in the last three years.
However, the last three weeks have shown signs of distraction, with two uncompetitive Oregon blowouts against Utah to get knocked down to the Alamo Bowl. With Oregon offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead off to Akron as well, the Ducks are going to begin a pretty important coaching search that could define the balance of power in the Pac-12 North.
Where will Oregon look to find Cristobal’s replacement? Well, I think it’s unavoidable for rumors to turn once again towards Justin Wilcox as an alumnus; however, I think that’s an unrealistic move given Cal’s struggles in the years since. If they do, he might turn them down since he reportedly did so the last time they came knocking. Due once again to their statuses as alumni, I wouldn’t be shocked if some sites or randos on
the garbage barge Twitter float DC Peter Sirmon or OC Bill Musgrave as candidates, but I would be shocked if either name ends up as their coach because Oregon and Uncle Phil and Nike can afford proven quantities.
There’s going to be a lot of unknowns when it comes to scouting California’s 2022 opponents. We’ll be facing new coaches at not only Notre Dame and Oregon, but also Washington, Washington State, and USC—at five of our twelve opponents, nearly half of our schedule will be new coaches. Of the remaining seven teams, five are probably happy with their coaches or are in relatively new regimes (UC Davis, UNLV, Oregon State, Arizona, and Colorado), but maybe one of them will get poached or Stanfurd or UCLA will make changes to push us at the 50% mark or beyond? (Especially if we live in John Canzano’s lulzy world where Cristobal-to-Miami spurs Oregon to rehire UCLA’s Chip Kelly.)