Mailbag: Why Dykes over MacIntyre at Cal?

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J.McAndrew, San Jose, Calif., writes: From your perspective Mr. Miller, why would MacIntyre take the job at Colorado and not California. Or to put reversely, why would Cal AD Barbour hire Sonny Dykes and not MacIntyre. Cal was in better position to win immediatley and Colorado is going to be a major building job. Colorado must have had questions about loyalty after firing an Alum with only two seasons to work with. From my standpoint, of reading Jon Wilner and the SJ Mercury news, Cal had a major issue with academics which made SJSU's Coach more suitable for righting the ship. So what gives? Does it all fall back on Sandy Barbour or was there some other incentive/issue why the coaches went where they went?

Ted Miller: I think California athletic director Sandy Barbour had her choice between San Jose State's Mike MacIntyre and Louisiana Tech's Sonny Dykes, and she simply preferred Dykes.

You can review her comments here.

Then Colorado jumped in and grabbed MacIntyre, a guy who seems like a perfect fit in Boulder after rebuilding a woebegone Spartans program.

If things don't work out with Dykes at Cal, and MacIntyre leads a football renaissance at Colorado, well, that won't go over well with the Old Blues. Or the young ones. Some view Dykes as a risky hire, and you are not the first with a MacIntyre query.

From our present perspective, my ever optimistic self sees both as good hires, though neither is the sort of blockbuster announcement that causes new-found enthusiasm to immediately boil over, as, say, Ohio State inspired when it hired Urban Meyer. But neither program is Ohio State, either.

As for why Barbour preferred Dykes specifically over MacIntyre, you'd be hard-pressed to get a detailed answer from Barbour that digs at MacIntyre.

It could have been a connection of personalities. It certainly seems Dykes made a strong impression during a three-hour interview that separated himself from the five other candidates who sat down with Barbour.

It could have been a preference for an offensive-minded guy over a defensive-minded guy, as MacIntyre is. It could have been Dykes' Pac-12 knowledge, having served three years as the offensive coordinator at Arizona from 2007-09.

Maybe there's some minor, obscure and unreported red flag that gave Barbour pause of MacIntyre. Or just Barbour's own hunch/instincts on the decision.

If you've ever hired someone, you know that after reviewing a number of strong resumes and conducting interviews, your ultimate decision is often based on a personal quirk. For example, I would never hire someone who smacks when he eats. Drives me freaking crazy. It should be legal to punch someone who smacks when he eats ... anyone with me on that?

Or someone who eats steak well-done. I heard a guy the other day order a ribeye well-done and I wanted to cry.

As for Dykes and Barbour: What we can say for certain is there is now more pressure on Barbour for Dykes to be successful than there is on Dykes himself.

Chris from Penticton, B.C., writes: Mike Riley to Wisconsin? Say it ain't so, Mike!

Ted Miller: It ain't so.

Lou from Tempe, Ariz., writes: Ted, In response to your response post criticizing Mike Leach's effort this year - I agree with you that Leach should have done better with what he had, this seasons was dismal. However I find your comparison of him to Graham, Mora, and Rich-Rod to be way off-base. There are so many internal things that go on with each specific program that no fan, or the media are aware of. To say that Leach failed because new coaches in the conference did better than him is ridiculous. Each football team is dynamically different. With that said, I think your article blasting Leach may have come from personal disappointment due to your desire to see Leach's high-octane offense excel immediately, not that you really think he is that big of a failure.

Ted Miller: I don't agree. Comparing the conduct and results of Leach and the other three new coaches is certainly valid. It's not about asking why Leach didn't win nine games, as Jim Mora did, it's about asking why his team did worst than it should have while Mora, Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez produced teams that overachieved in year one.

I think Mike Leach is a good football coach. I effused when he was hired. I've spent a lot of time over the past couple of months actually trying to talk some of my Coug fan friends back from the ledge of despair. I still think he's going to win in Pullman.

But I think he did a bad job this season. I'm certainly not alone in thinking that. And I think a lot of Washington State fans agree with me. In fact, that column was basically a condensed version of what I've heard -- over and over and over -- from Washington State fans this fall.

The most common observation: Leach's repeated and harsh calling out of his players achieved nothing positive. Nothing.

The obvious negative of colorfully ripping your players, of course, is that a game with no national interest, such as the 49-6 loss to Utah, suddenly becomes negative national news for your program and a multi-day story. Probably doesn't help recruiting, either.

Leach is going to be himself. He's not much for filtering his thoughts as they flow from his brain to his mouth.

Perhaps he should reconsider that, at least in some part. Perhaps his New Year's resolution should be that, going forward, when things go wrong with his football team, he will first blame the guy who makes $2.25 million a year for them not to go wrong before he lays into unpaid college students.

Craig from Seattle writes: This past season . . . which was the better division . . . . SEC West or Pac-12 North?

Ted Miller: SEC West.

The SEC West was a little bit better at the top (12-1 Alabama, 10-2 LSU and 10-2 Texas A&M vs. 11-1 Oregon, 11-2 Stanford and 9-3 Oregon State) and bottom (4-8 Arkansas and 3-9 Auburn vs. 3-9 California and 3-9 Washington State).

But it's closer than a lot of folks in the Southeast would admit.

Richard from Phoenix writes: [Picked from my chat]

Tim (ATL) Conventional wisdom is that Helfrich is the guy if CK leaves Oregon... how surprised would you be if someone else is hired? Obviously Christ Petersen always gets talked about, but do you think it is as open/shut helfrich's job as the rumors suggest?

Ted Miller (3:38 PM) If Phil Knight & Pat Kilkenny want Helfrich, then he'll be the guy... I think Petersen comes up a lot because it makes sense, and there's always been scuttlebutt that Petersen has long held Eugene in high esteem. I never think something like this is simply open and shut, but I do know that Helfrich has good backing and is highly thought of.

Ted-I don't know if you have been corrected yet, but Pat Kilkenny no longer is the AD at Oregon. It's Rob Mullens. Otherwise keep up the good work.

Ted Miller: I do know that, and Mullen is a very good athletic director, one who is going to consult the athletic department's two most influential boosters before he picks the next Oregon football coach (should he have to pick the next Oregon football coach).

You do know why they call the baseball field "PK Park," right?

I hear the second choice was "Pac-12 Blog Field."