Major Pac-12 news today. Cal's Tosh Lupoi, 2010's recruiter of the year, is leaving his post as defensive line coach at his alma mater, for similar position at Uw, though he will be run game coordinator.
If you head over to Cal Golden Blogs and check out the comments, it's easy to see just how big this hire is. Tosh Lupoi was one of the top recruiters in the nation. His defensive lines were regularly some of the best in the conference, and last season his line was one of the few that had the talent to shut down the Oregon offense (nevermind the eventually suspension for his shenanigans).
In the past weeks, Uw has gone from giving up 777 yards in their bowl game, to building the best young defensive coaching staff in the country. Justin Wilcox is a rising star, and he will be helped out by recruiting starts Tosh Lupoi and Peter Sirmon. They also recently stole Keith Heyward as defensive backs coach from Oregon State, and he was one of the Beavers' top recruiters. While this won't make a huge impact next season, we will see the repercussions in the near future. Recruiting is the foundation for any program, and washington is on the rise.
What this means for the conference as a whole is a very strong Pac-12 North, and Northwest. The new Pac-12 media deal has made an immediate impact. WSU hired Mike Leach, Uw hired an entire new defensive staff. In this Tupoi deal alone, Tosh, a defensive line coach, is rumored to be making $500,000 per year, more than Nick Aliotti makes. There is only one team that is not keeping pace in the Pac-12 North race, the rest of doing whatever they can to catch up with Oregon.
The Pac-12 is becoming increasingly more competitive, and that is a great thing. washington and WSU are significantly on the rise. Cal isn't going anywhere, and Stanford will be a solid team at the worst under David Shaw. Oregon will be the overwhelming Pac-12 North favorite next season despite the loss of Darron Thomas and LaMichael James.
The main reason that the Pac-12 is not seen on the same level as the SEC is that they do not have the same commitment to excellence. I am very glad that we're seeing that change, even if it means that Uw is more competitive as a byproduct.