Ranking the best head coaching gigs in the country (Photo by USAToday Sports)
247 Sports recently came out with their list of college football’s best head coaching jobs and it may surprise some where the Tigers ended up, as well as where Alabama, Ohio State, and a few others ended up on the list.
Several factors were considered according to 247, including program prestige, location, facilities, money, and recruiting potential, along with other unnamed factors. They felt it all came down to whether or not a Hall of Fame caliber coach could pick any job nationally, which one it would be?
Number 25 through 11 looked like this:
25. Virginia Tech
20. Michigan State
17. Texas A&M
12. Penn State
11. Florida State
The top ten came in like this:
“Winning at the highest level has been harder than it’s supposed to be at Texas since the program’s appearance in the BCS national title game to end the 2009 season. The Longhorns print money every as college football’s most lucrative program per most recent gross revenue reports, but even with unlimited resources and support, the Texas gig isn’t the “plug and play” job many think it is – or at least hasn’t been since Mack Brown’s departure. The burnt orange and ‘Hook Em Horns’ sells itself on the recruiting trail, but other Big 12 programs have caught up in recent years. One 10-win season this decade is all the Longhorns have to hang their hat on right now and Tom Herman hopes that changes during his fourth season this fall. At Texas, the college football world is there for the taking, but you have to go through Oklahoma to get there.”
9. Notre Dame:
One could certainly argue this point, but there might not be a brand stronger than Notre Dame in college football. Touchdown Jesus, South Bend, the gold helmets … you get it. This job isn’t quite Lou Holtz-era good, but it’s still deserving of a spot inside the Top 10. The Irish not only collect money from their longstanding contract with NBC Sports, but also get a cut from the ACC now as well. Notre Dame doesn’t recruit itself the way it used to, but it still means something to play for the Irish. Two drawbacks here that other programs don’t have in the Top 10 is location and academics. The standards at Notre Dame are higher than most and Indiana isn’t exactly pumping out elite athletes annually. That’s why Brian Kelly has taken a nationwide approach to recruiting during his successful tenure.
“If we’re ranking in coaching job tiers, here begins the top of the profession. Oklahoma is a program that has been largely allergic to disappointment in the modern era. Elite in every decade – since the 1990s – dating back to Barry Switzer’s incredible run of success, the Sooners pull from the Midwest talent pool at an elite level, never have revenue issues from a strong contingent of supporters that sell-out every home game and have been the “it” program in the Big 12 for 20 years. Lincoln Riley, over his first three seasons, capitalized on Bob Stoops’ success and has pushed Oklahoma to a national championship level with three consecutive trips to the College Football Playoff. The Sooners can sell ring-chasing and there aren’t many programs who can authentically say that.”
“Urban Meyer showed quickly at Florida that if the Gators can keep the best players in-state and grab a few other elite prospects on a national scale, the wins pile up. After the failed Ron Zook era knocked the Gators down a few pegs following Steve Spurrier’s greatness, Meyer quickly turned things around and won two national titles over six seasons. There’s a winning culture in Gainesville that few programs possess and the Florida brand is one of the South’s most iconic. The alumni base is vast and considering the program’s penchant for putting coaches on a short leash, excellence is demanded. You want ideology to align from the top all the way down and the Gators seems to have the perfect marriage right now with AD Scott Stricklin and coach Dan Mullen.”
“Clemson wasn’t a Top 10 job prior to Dabo Swinney‘s arrival, but it always had the potential to be. Prior to this magical run since 2015, the Tigers won a national championship in 1981 and have always had one of the ACC’s top support systems – from a hungry administrative staff with athletics to a passionate alumni and fanbase. No disrespect to the ACC, but Clemson home games have an SEC feel and this program has become a recruiting juggernaut in recent years. Clemson has supplanted Florida State and Miami as the ACC’s best gig and it’s not particularly close. We haven’t even mentioned the Tigers jaw dropping facilities are arguably the best n college football.”
“Nick Saban’s right-hand man for nearly a decade at Alabama, Kirby Smart waited on the perfect win-now opportunity as a head coach during his tenure as an award-winning defensive assistant and Georgia checked every box in December 2015. Considering how many double-digit win seasons the program had under Mark Richt, it’s surprising Georgia only has one national title (1982) in nearly 40 years. Football is all that matters in the Peach State (unless the Braves are in a pennant race) and Sanford Stadium offers up one of the most unique atmospheres nationally on gamedays. The Bulldogs spend more money on recruiting than any program in the country, so flexibility in chasing after talent isn’t an issue.”
4. USC (No, Not South Carolina)
“Resources are there for a return to prominence, so why hasn’t it happened for one of the nation’s bluebloods? In California, Texas and Florida, athletes are plentiful and there’s enough to go around for elite teams if said programs are on good-footing. But that’s the issue right now with the West Coast mecca USC — the past two signing classes have rated No. 19 and 55, respectively, per the 247Sports Composite and previous Top 5 hauls this decade have underachieved. USC is a pressure-cooker, always in the spotlight facing immense expectations.”
3. Ohio State:
“Ryan Day, after swiping the keys to a Ferrari from Meyer, is lapping the competition in the Big Ten at a high rate of speed. He helped salvage the Buckeyes’ 2019 signing class, landed the No. 5 class during his first full season (and a Playoff berth to boot) and currently is No. 1 for the 2021 cycle per the 247Sports Composite. Ohio State is right up there with Alabama and LSU in terms of national exposure in the NFL Draft and has an annual revenue that ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten. The Day hire was a calculated decision by Ohio State’s administration with booster backing and thus far, he’s been an absolute home run. If you take the Ohio State job, you’re expected to win and win big quickly. There’s no losing to Michigan, either.”
“The standard for a decade-plus in college football, national titles run through Tuscaloosa. Saban is the active leader in national championships with six (five with the Crimson Tide since 2009) and is one away from passing Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant for most all-time. He has signed a slew of No. 1 recruiting classes and has cashed in on all of them. Not only is he the most respected public employee in Alabama, he’s the highest paid too. Alabama ranks high in terms of prestige, money and players – what more do you want when you’re tasked with competing against other perennial powers every weekend in the SEC? Also, no program has put more players in the NFL over the past decade, either. The next coach to follow Saban down the road will have his work cut out for him, but the road is nicely-paved.”
“Louisiana native Ed Orgeron thanks his lucky stars daily he didn’t get the USC job back in 2013 after leading the Trojans to a 6-2 record in the interim following Lane Kiffin’s firing. He landed at a program within a recruiting hot bed already enamored with success under Les Miles and when the Tigers moved on from the Mad Hatter, the job was Orgeron’s to take. LSU is a great job in college football’s toughest division and three national titles since the turn of the century prove it’s a turnkey program. Orgeron, who says he held resentment for a short while after USC passed on him, will be in Baton Rouge as long as they want to keep him around.”
Some of these picks seemed easier to make than others, but some in the top ten could raise some eyebrows. Maybe not as much the teams, but where they are ranked.
Not taking anything away from what Ed Orgeron and LSU did last season but one season doesn’t make a job the best one out there. Many at LSU didn’t even want Orgeron hired.
They’ve got Oklahoma listed at number 8 on the list and they are competing year in and year out in the playoffs. They have Alabama, who has been a national title contender since Nick Saban took over and has been in the playoffs every year of it’s existence up until last season, ranked as the second best gig out there. They then rank Ohio State, who has also been competing for national titles over the last several years, at number three.
Then you have the Tigers sitting at number six behind Georgia. The Dawgs have less to show for after having more five star athletes than anybody else over the last five years. Meanwhile, Clemson has been in all but the first playoff since its inception, and won two of the last four national titles. Not to mention the Tigers have also won more games overall during that span.