Canzano: Sorting out Dan Lanning, Mario Cristobal and San Diego State
And some other thoughts...
I heard a rumor once that eating Pop Rocks and drinking Coca-Cola would make your stomach explode.
“Mikey” from the Life cereal commercials was rumored to have met his demise while mixing that exact combination of candy and pop. Turns out, it’s not true. None of it. In fact, the child actor who played the cute kid in those commercials is a guy named John Gilchrist. He is alive and well, working as the director of media sales for Madison Square Garden.
What I’m saying is, be careful out there.
Auburn is looking for a new football coach. That’s a fact. On Sunday evening, a fan website reported that the Tigers and Oregon coach Dan Lanning had “mutual interest.” I reached out to Lanning. He said he has zero interest in the job. I expect he’ll double down on that today when asked by media.
Also, a source involved with the hiring process tells me that Auburn does not have Oregon’s first-year head football coach on its short list of candidates.
Mutual disinterest, it appears.
I spent hours last week talking with sources at San Diego State and the Pac-12. There have been ongoing conversations between the parties. SDSU has gone to great lengths to elevate its brand, build a new football stadium, improve its academic offerings, and position itself well for possible inclusion. The Pac-12 appears to covet a Southern California addition to fill the potential void left by USC/UCLA’s planned defection to the Big Ten.
National radio show host Dan Patrick — who I respect immensely — said his source told him that San Diego State to the Pac-12 is expected to be announced as soon as this week.
The news feels right. But the timeline is too ambitious. In fact, two trusted sources told me on Monday that nothing has changed. They insist SDSU remains a solid expansion candidate. Nobody I spoke with expects an announcement this week.
The Pac-12 still has to finish off its media rights negotiations and learn UCLA’s fate (UC Regents meet Nov. 15-17) before the conference can proceed with serious consideration of San Diego State, SMU, UNLV and others.
Said one source with direct knowledge: “Timing hasn’t changed.”
San Diego State makes a lot of sense for the Pac-12. Based on my conversations, I believe SDSU prefers to join the Pac-12 Conference vs. staying in the Mountain West Conference or going to the Big 12. But, according to my sources, the timing is off.
Some other thoughts for your Monday…
• HURRICANE WATCH: Anyone else closely following the struggles of Miami coach Mario Cristobal? The Hurricanes lost 45-3 to Florida State on Saturday. Miami is now 4-5 and fans are frustrated. I’m inclined to give Cristobal a larger sample size and more time to fix it, but while we wait, I want to talk about Oregon.
The Ducks have invested a billion dollars in football. The program enjoys world-class branding, courtesy of Nike. It has the most influential single booster (Phil Knight) in the history of college athletics. Also, it has three decades of sweat equity and momentum built by head coaches such as Rich Brooks and Mike Bellotti.
Here’s some interesting data:
Willie Taggart record at Oregon: 7-5
Taggart everywhere else: 63-73
Mario Cristobal at Oregon: 35-13
Cristobal everywhere else: 31-52
Chip Kelly at Oregon: 46-7
Kelly everywhere else: 26-26
I’m not saying that Oregon’s resources would make anyone a winner. But I’m definitely saying that the football machine in Eugene is built to make a competent, organized, motivated coaching staff very, very successful. Maybe more successful than it could be in most other places.
• UTAH LURKING: Keep an eye on Utah. Head coach Kyle Whittingham has been at this a long time and his program appears to be gearing up for the Utes meeting with Oregon in Eugene on Nov. 19.
Utah has been banged up all season, but it feels like the injuries and the uncertainty surrounding the run game may pull together just in time for the meeting at Autzen Stadium. The Utes beat Arizona 45-20 on Saturday. They host Stanford this week in a game that may afford Whittingham a chance to rest some players in front of the big date with Oregon.
• HOT STREAK: I went 5-1 against the spread this weekend on my Pac-12 picks. I’m now 17-3 against the spread in my last 20 Pac-12 games. Don’t worry. I am not giving up my writing and radio career. But I am wondering how long I can keep this up.
My three losses in the hot streak (because you’ll ask):
Utah 45, Arizona 20 (I had Arizona +11 points)
Washington 28, Cal 21 (I had UW -7.5 points)
Utah 43, USC 42... (I had Utah -3.5 points)
• PLAYOFF RANKING: Oregon enjoyed a very productive weekend, didn’t it? I mean, it went about as well as it could have. The Ducks beat Colorado 49-10 to improve to 8-1. But they got some help, too.
Clemson lost to Notre Dame. LSU beat Alabama. I wrote a column about Oregon’s productive opening weekend of November. On Tuesday, UO will move up in the College Football Playoff rankings. But I still think the Ducks have a looming SEC problem.
Both Georgia (9-0) and Tennessee (8-1) will be ranked in front of one-loss Oregon. And two-loss LSU is likely going to sit just off the Ducks’ shoulder. Oregon still needs to beat Washington, Utah, Oregon State — none of them are gimmes — and win the Pac-12 championship to have a shot at the playoff. Style points will be needed, too. Also, I think UO needs more chaos in front of it to slip into one of the four playoff spots.
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