14. Mario Cristobal, Oregon
Though you could argue that it was a much tougher task, it would’ve been hard to see the success of Mario Cristobal at Oregon coming if you only looked back at his six seasons at the helm of FIU. Yes, he went from 1-11 in 2007 to 8-5 in 2011 but they then fell off in 2012 to 3-9 before he left for an assistant gig at Alabama.
But Cristobal has undoubtedly brought lessons learned in Tuscaloosa to Eugene as he’s consistently been winning and growing the program. He went 9-4 in his first full season in 2018 before going 12-2 and winning the Pac-12 the next year. While last year produced a disappointing 4-3 final record, the Ducks still won the conference championship after they got the bid due to Washington having issues with COVID.
Two consecutive Pac-12 titles is something Cristobal can hang his hat on and build with but what makes him a standout inclusion in these rankings is that things are only trending up for the Ducks. They have been far and away the best recruiting program in the conference in recent years, which could mean a potential stranglehold on the conference and, possibly, a looming flirtation with making the College Football Playoff.
There is still some room to improve in terms of wins, losses and overall goals for Oregon football but Cristobal has already raised the bar for the Ducks in his short time at the head of the program.