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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Hotline Package: Early Division 2022 Race Prediction, Wilcox and Cristobal Hiring Styles, Lake Fall, Tinkle’s Future, and more.

The Hotline package is published every Friday. Send questions to [email protected] or tweet me: @WilnerHotline… Due to volume, and in some cases due to the need for research, not all questions will be answered within a week after submission. Thanks for understanding.

Some questions have been edited for clarity and brevity.


Who do you think was the favorite too early to win North and South next year? – @ TheJugg801

Too early to predict, but early football predictions for 2022? – @mjhusky

The hotline will release initial predictions of the finish order for the 2022 division in mid-January, following the NFL draft announcement deadline. And we will update these forecasts after spring practice.

But since you asked, we would build the races of the North and South in this way …

– South: Utah is the clear, arguably overwhelming favorite.

The Cliffs are losing adoptive Britannia Covey and midfielder Devin Lloyd, but should retain most of their starting lineup. This includes defender Cam Rising and key linemen on both lines of the battle.

Additionally, Utah is adept at using a transmission portal to fill certain holes. We expect this to continue, with the offseason buzz – tentatively forecast to be in the top 10 – will make Salt Lake City an attractive transfer destination for college football playoffs.

Also, we’re not sure which team can best challenge Utah.

UCLA’s starting lineup was full of seniors and should be hit hard by starvation. The arrival of quarterback Dillon Gabriel from the UCF provides insurance in case Dorian Thompson-Robinson leaves for the NFL, but for now, the Bruins have questions more important than the answers.

The state of Arizona will also lose key members and have dim prospects due to the ongoing NCAA investigation into recruitment violations.

And we’re guessing that USC needs two recruitment cycles, led by Lincoln Riley, to build its depth chart to the level required for a division title.

We could imagine that Trojans would collect for the South in 2023, but not next season. Too early.

– North: Oregon stands as a paltry favorite when compared to Washington State and Washington DC.

The Duck has some serious questions, from Dan Lanning and the new coaching staff to quickly moving up to quarterback. Freshman Ty Thompson is respected, but will he show the consistency required on a weekly basis, especially with a new coaching staff and textbook?

Also, the defense could suffer from attrition. We know that Kywon Thibodeau is leaving and he made everyone around him better. But the Ducks have other talented draft players as well; the situation is worth watching.

Washington State has a significant lead over Duck and Husky in terms of coaching stability (Jake Dickert) and quarterback position (Jaden de Laura).

But the Cougars could lose key players on both sides, including tail-back Max Borghi, adoptive Calvin Jackson, attacking player Abe Lucas, and a host of midfielder and sideline playmakers.

Washington’s outlook has improved after news of defender Michael Penix moving out of Indiana, but there are questions about every unit and the entire coaching staff.

We love hiring Calen DeBoor, but does Washington have enough stuff to jump over Oregon and the WSU and claim a split? Most likely not.

Oregon deserves a mention, too, given the trajectory of Jonathan Smith’s rule. The Beavers finished two games ago and are set to take quarterback with Chance Nolan.

But they are losing key offensive line-ups, and at this point we’re not sure the defense will be strong enough to support the fight for the divisional title.

For now, this is our sketch:

Utah is the clear favorite in the South, Oregon is not that clear favorite in the North … and some very interesting NFL draft decisions that could change the outlook in the coming weeks.


How accurate were the reports from UC trainer Justin Wilcox when he received an offer from Oregon? And what are the assumptions why he refused them? – @ agtCooper83

Could you please support the philosophical differences in hiring philosophy between Mario Cristobal and Justin Wilcox? I’ve read a lot about the methods of hiring Cristobal (pulling all the stops, everywhere, anywhere, etc.) but little about Wilcox, other than the constraints he has to work with. – Jeff Benedict

I have grouped these questions together because they are related.

Yes, the message that Wilcox was offered the job is accurate – the hotline received independent confirmation of the news first published by Oregonlive.

In our opinion, a combination of factors contributed to Wilcox’s abandonment of his alma mater, with recruiting playing a central role.

Cristobal’s hiring style description is accurate and we touched on it two and a half years ago. He used a relentless all-stop approach – essentially what you’ll find at the SEC – to take Oregon’s recruiting efforts to unprecedented heights.

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This style is not for everyone. Of course, this is not possible in California because of the bar check-in and the place football occupies in the campus hierarchy. (This isn’t nearly as important in Berkeley as it is in Eugene.)

Wilcox had to develop a more selective and balanced recruiting style.

Will he be able to adapt to the all-stop approach that the Ducks seem to prefer? (New coach Dan Lanning worked with Cristobal in Alabama and will no doubt continue the broad strategy.) He could, of course. But does he want to type like Cristobal, like he works for the SEC? It doesn’t seem to be the case.


How long will it take to get ready if the games are postponed to Friday? It’s bad enough to wait to see how much time is in the game. Now we don’t even know the day? – @erickillian

For readers unfamiliar with this question, we ask you to know this: the football schedule for 2022 announced on Thursday did not have any conference games on Thursday or Friday until November.

The situation may change if three games have been postponed since Saturday. Most likely, they will be carried over to Friday, which has become the preferred working day. (This avoids conflicts with Thursday’s NFL game.)

As for the timing of any changes to the schedule, here will be many advance notifications… Of course, the transition to an overnight stay on weekdays will take place no later than spring.


What, in your opinion, was the reason for the Jimmy Lake bombing in Washington? We have our own records, data and anecdotes. But we need your thoughts. – @Ansel_Easton

Our view is from 40,000 feet and a thousand miles, but here’s what:

Lake thought he had answers to all, or most of them. He did not know what he did not know about the launch of the program, and he was not interested in finding out. Plus, he didn’t seem to want to step out of his comfort zone.

His decisions regarding coordinators are well documented, but they say so much. He advanced from the inside on the defensive with Bob Gregory; and he got a startlingly bad run offensive – one of the worst we can remember anywhere – with John Donovan.

From here, it seemed like he didn’t want his credibility to be questioned or that the attention of the media and fans was drawn to playlists. In other words, insecurity.

He clearly did not reason and had a quick-tempered character.

Hopefully, Lake will learn from his mistakes and make the next chapter of his coaching career a success whenever and wherever it starts.


Will Stanford Coach David Shaw Replace Any of His Staff? – @cuestakid

As of now, three weeks after the season finale, Shaw has not made any personnel changes – at least the ones we know of.

This does not mean that the status quo will remain. Shaw might have preferred to postpone staffing decisions due to early contract signing and holidays.

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