Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Top 10 Coaching Jobs in College Football

This morning my Brother-in-Law sent me an email about a discussion his local sports radio hosts were having concerning college football (he lives in Norman, Oklahoma and is a University of Oklahoma graduate). This discussion centered around the best jobs in College Football right now. We ended up talking about this for a very long time finally ending with an extremely long email chain and some very well thought out rankings. Since this subject is so compelling (I seem to discuss this every year with someone) I figured it would make for an entertaining read.

There are numerous subjective ways to discuss this topic but for the sake of this post this is the one thought I kept in mind while forming my rankings: "What job would I want if I was taking the job today and moving forward?"

Inherent within that question is a devaluing of the usual items put into play when discussing these jobs; namely, tradition. As you will see when I describe the 5 main criteria I used to rank these teams the storied history of some teams does not make them a candidate for this discussion. In my opinion a championship or Heisman trophy that happened in 1948 has no bearing on today's "internet age" culture. Only the last 5-10 years are relevant, anything earlier than that is ancient history.

With that in mind, here are the rankings.

The areas I looked at in order, because they would be most important to me as a coach:

1. Recruiting base - I am a basketball coach here in Tallahassee, FL. I've been told I'm a good basketball coach that knows the game and really relates to his players well. I've been told that I would be considered for a head coaching job at numerous places all around the city (a good basketball city). That being said I was winless, 0-13, as the head coach of my JV team. Coaches don't mean shit if you don't have the players. Recruiting is factor #1.

2. Conference - I want a BCS conference but an easy road. That road can be easy based on my teams talent (Texas) and/or based on the other teams in my division/conference (FSU/Miami). This makes the Pac-10 a better conference to take a job in than the SEC in my opinion.

Also, for teams in the same conference the conference rating can differ. Texas is easily the #1 Institution in the #1 recruiting state in their Conference making the Big 12 a better fit for Texas than it is for Oklahoma.

example: if I'm comparing taking a job at Texas or Miami I'd take Texas in the Big 12 because they own the Big 12 in every facet; but if I'm comparing taking Oklahoma or Miami I'd take Miami in the ACC because they'll dominate the conference more easily.

Finally, for you SEC homers that still don't understand this: LSU might be a great job, but I'd give Michigan a higher Conference rank because it's easier to get through the Big 10 than the SEC. Yes, the SEC's overall conference strength hurts them in my eyes. Why go slog through a dog fight every week when I get to play Indiana and Illinois sometimes?

3. Fan Base/Facilities - as much as we don't want to admit it, these two are tied together. A wealthy fan base/alumni will increase the level of facilities and experiences of a recruit tenfold (Okie St. wouldn't be shit without T. Boone Pickens...).

4. Brand Recognition/Cool factor/Influence - All 3 of these are very similar to each other and really matter to recruits. These are high school kids who just want to play football, get looked at/drafted by the NFL and impress chicks. Playing for Oklahoma doesn't impress the chicks or attract the NFL as much as playing for Florida does.

5. Recent Success/Tradition - This is a "what have you done for me lately" society. Young or old we move on so quick that even 10 years ago is a distant memory and considered "old school". It's still a factor, but it's not as major as people want to claim it to be,and RECENT tradition has more of an impact (UF, Bama, Texas).

With that in mind, here's how I would rank each team in my top 10 on each of those factors:

Recruiting Base
1. Texas - no competition in their own state which happens to be one of the best recruiting grounds in football
2. UF - Crazy amount of reach in best recruiting state
3. USC - Dominates California, also one of the best
4. Bama - Hits about 5 great states at the same time, quite possibly the most reach
5. Ohio State - Ohio/Michigan underrated for recruits, Wisconsin produces great Linemen
6. FSU - 2nd best recruiting team in Florida, recruits South Florida better than Miami
7. LSU - Completely owns a fertile Louisiana and taps into Texas some
8. Oklahoma - very strong in Texas and does well all over South/Mid West
9. Miami - Gotta lock down hometown to climb this ranking
10. Michigan - OSU gets most of the recruits, Wolverines get left overs like FSU, however Florida's leftovers are much better than Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan leftovers

1. Texas - Beat OU in October and they win the Conference Championship and more times than not go to the BCS Championship game
2. Ohio State - They have a bunch of 2's in their league, but no 1b to their 1a.
3. USC - Sanctions/loss of scholly's weaken their team, allowing Pac-10 to gain ground
4. FSU - Have you seen our division? It's terrible, how are we not in the ACC Champ. Game every year?
5. Miami - Coastal division not as terrible as FSU's, but beat Va. Tech and their in the Champ. Game every year.
6. Michigan - Iowa/Penn State better in conference right now, but they didn't make my top 10
7. Oklahoma - Tough task to beat UT every year, but nice to know if they win one game the Big 12 championship is theirs for the taking.
8. Bama - Have to go through UF
9. UF - Have to go through Bama
10. LSU - Have to go through both Bama/UF making them #3 in their conference at best and on the outside looking in every year.

Fan Base
1. Bama - they have old money, new money, big corporations and mom and pops. Plus NO ONE travels better than Bama. They turn their bowl game into a home game every year.
2. Texas - Bama Jr. with a bit more national reach as far as reaching fans IMO
3. UF - Money, hot chicks, tons of fans (arrogant prick fans, but fans none-the-less)
4. LSU - Fanatics that travel extremely well and are proud to wear purple, that counts for something.
5. Oklahoma - long standing fan base that are rabid with deep pockets
6. Ohio State - Dominate the North East fandom with lots of Boosters
7. Michigan - The Big House ALWAYS sells out and their facilities are funded from plenty of willing boosters.
8. FSU - 60K in attendance for this past spring game with a varied demographic because we're a public school. The money is newer than most programs so we're building.
9. USC - Too bandwagon and don't really show up even when they're good. Their true fan base is smaller than you think.
10. Miami - so fair-weather, Only game they sell out is the Noles, most of the time the stadium is half full

Cool Factor/Brand
1. Texas - I see people flashing the Hook Em Horns sign even here in Florida and the clamoring for LongHorn Network is deafening. Their Cheerleader outfits are legendary.
2. UF - Gator Chomp/Swamp are known everywhere. Dance team, Erin Andrews, Anyone?
3. Miami - "we invented swag" and the Bad Boy Canes live on, coolest entrance in College Football
4. Bama - The simple helmets, the Roll Tide chants and of course the Houndstooth hats
5. USC - Trojans are a Hollywood tradition. Rappers and Actors alike tout them, instantly making them cool. Plus they have smoking chicks.
6.Ohio State - everyone knows "THE Ohio State University". It can't be stated enough how much OSU dominates the North/North East
7. LSU - Death Valley is a great name plus they have the whole New Orleans party vibe for every game
8. FSU - everyone knows the Chop and we're famous for our hot girls (Jenn Sterger to name one especially "blessed" fan) and cool Helmets. Our recent struggles have quieted our thunder
9. Oklahoma - Boomer Sooner instantly recognizable and great helmets
10. Michigan - The Big House and the best helmets in college football. Appalachian State didn't help.

Recent Success/Tradition
1. Bama - tons of national championships including the most recent National/SEC Championships and Heisman
2. Florida - National and SEC Championship appearances and wins, Heisman winners (Tebow)
3. Texas - Ditto (Vince Young)
4. Ohio State - other than the fact they lost all their really big games they're one of the top 5 most successful programs recently
5. USC - scratching Reggie Bush from the Media Guide doesn't erase him from the minds of fans and recruits
6. Oklahoma - Recent championship winner with top draft picks, also boasts Heisman winner but not as clean a bowl record
7. LSU - Recent championship and top draft picks, as disgraceful as Jamarcus Russell has been (he should send Jimbo a Christmas card every year).
8 (tie). FSU/Miami - both have been down but played in epic games against each other and are remembered for their more recent glory days than Michigan.
10. Michigan - easily the worst performing group on the list recently.

Totals (lower score is better):

1. Texas - 8

2. Alabama - 18

2. Florida - 18

4. Ohio State - 23

5. USC - 25

6. FSU - 34

7. Miami - 35

7. LSU - 35

9. Oklahoma - 36

10. Michigan - 41

Honorable Mention:

Georgia - Decent recent tradition although they did flame out the year they started #1. They have a GREAT fan base but get out recruited in their own state by UF/FSU. I think the fan expectations are tad unrealistic sometimes as well (are they really wanting Richt fired? Maybe not anymore but for the past 5 years I would have welcomed him back in a second)

Penn State - great stadium and tradition, just missed the cut because of their relatively poor recruiting area. I switched between the Nittany Lions and the Woverlines for #10 about 4 times, they're that close.

Virginia Tech - one of the best 10 programs in the nation as far as results, just don't get the recognition and their area puts out one great football player every 10 years.

Clemson - ACC doesn't have a truly dominant team so the path is open for anyone to take. South Carolina is a very underrated recruiting area, good talent to choose from. Tons of money and great fans, although extremely unrealistic about the teams chances

Tennessee/Auburn - If they were in the ACC they'd be somewhere from #1-#4, instead they're somewhere from #5-#8 in the SEC.

West Virginia - really good fans but the opinion on the Big East hurts plus Virginia area just isn't great for recruiting.

**This is a disclaimer for anyone over 50 years of age - Please put down whatever it is you're drinking so you don't spit it all over the computer screen**

Notre Dame - face it guys, it's just not a good job anymore because:

1. Academics are ridiculously tough, making getting recruits extremely hard
2. Not located in a good recruiting area and any recruit in the area would rather go to Ohio State
3. Their success isn't recent at all, these kids have no idea about Notre Dame's tradition, it just doesn't factor in
4. Astronomical expectations, you immediately come in the door with nowhere to go but down. That's simply a recipe for failure and a firing.

So what do you think? Let's hear some feedback!

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