Photo credit courtesy of PokemonGo
Los Angeles, Calif.—Pokémania is back, and college football cannot escape it. There were 89 Pokéstops and six gyms within sight of the Dolby Theater, the site of Pac-12 Media Days, on the Pokémon Go app. One reporter even asked Rich Rodriguez if he plays the game.
“I had no idea what the hell Pokémon Go was until I asked my son,” Rodriguez said, seeming a little relieved to be asked a softball question.
“I know a lot of people are walking around bumping into each other.”
The Pac-12 has a group of great coaches with diverse schemes and personalities. With the new augmented reality app taking the world by storm, who wouldn’t wonder what Pokémon these coaches would be if the creatures were real?
Rich Rodriguez Electrode
Rich Rod runs the kind of fast-paced, explosive offense that has come to symbolize the Pac-12. To that end, Electrode’s signature move is explosion. Plus, it’s the fastest Pokémon in the original generation. Electrode is also unpredictable; Arizona has equally potent rushing and passing attacks and both the team and the Pokémon can explode at any time.
Todd Graham Tauros
Graham is not so vaguely reminiscent of a general. He kicked numerous players off the team when he arrived in 2012 and has run a tight ship since - the Sun Devils were penalized the fewest amount of yards in the conference last year. Tauros is a well-rounded, no-nonsense Pokémon who fits Graham well.
Clay Helton Charmander
Charmander is one of the most popular Pokémon, and despite USC’s struggles relative to the success of the 2000s, it still has an enormous following. Back in the Pete Carroll days, this team would be Charizard. But Clay Helton has to guide this team to earn its wings now. The potential to be that fearsome final evolution is real.
Jim Mora Snorlax
This really has nothing to do with Mora’s coaching style and everything to do with UCLA’s continued status as a sleeping giant. The opportunity to overtake a still-struggling USC has been ripe for half a decade, but the Bruins keep having problems closing out seasons and solidifying themselves as a national power. There’s still time to make up for falling below expectations year after year, but for now, this giant is still asleep.
David Shaw Onyx
Who is the sturdiest and toughest coach in the conference? Shaw certainly fits the bill. The sturdiest and toughest Pokémon is Onyx,named after and made of rock. Shaw runs a ground and pound, physical team that will grind down an opponent with strength. This might be the most apt pairing of coach and Pokémon on the list.
Sonny Dykes Raichu
Dykes runs the fast-paced and electrifying “Bear Raid” offense and Raichu is a fast electric type Pokémon. It’s easy to see the similarity. But if you evolve Pikachu before it learns Thunderbolt—one of the best electric-type moves—your gains will be short-lived unless you teach it other good moves, as Raichu cannot learn it.
Mark Helfrich Dugtrio
Sensing a pattern here with fast Pokémon? This one isn’t electric-type though; Dugtrio is the fastest ground-type Pokémon in the game. There isn’t a team in the country that runs a fast-paced ground attack better than Oregon.
Gary Andersen Butterfree
Andersen is a head coach in a Power Five conference, which is nothing to sneeze at. Butterfree is a fully evolved Pokémon and also should not be taken lightly. But it is also one of the weakest final evolutions in the game, and it really is not powerful once you get far enough into the game. Likewise, once conference play starts, Oregon State will probably be outmatched by other fully evolved programs in the Pac-12.
Chris Petersen Vaporeon
Vaporeon is a defensive wall, boasting high defensive stats across the board. Last year the Washington Huskies fielded one of the best defenses in the country. Vaporeon can also attack. Chris Petersen displayed his fearlessness in going into surprise attack mode as Boise State's head coach in the memorable 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
Mike Leach Exeggutor
Exeggutor is a unique Pokémon. It has no arms, three coconut heads, and palm fronds for hair. Leach does not share the same physical characteristics of Exeggutor, but he does share his quirks. Exeggutor also has an astronomically high special attack stat which is the Pokémon equivalent of passing offense. Leach is known for his pass-happy offense. There aren’t many coconuts up in Pullman, though.
Mike McIntyre Bulbasaur
The head coach of a Boulder, Colorado team was not named after a grass-type Pokémon because, you know... it's just too easy. Bulbasaur has great potential, as does Colorado’s football program. It has been a while since the team was nationally relevant, but like Bulbasaur, the seeds are there for future evolution.
Kyle Whittingham Primeape
Utah led the Pac-12 in interceptions and forced fumbles and was third in sacks. This aggressive play earns Whittingham a comparison to Primeape, arguably the feistiest Pokémon.