Thursday, January 17, 2013

The 100 Best Coaching Jobs in Football: 51-75

New Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell will have his work cut our for him in West Lafayette, but the program does have redeeming qualities.

By Joe Parello

Now we get into the nitty gritty of mid-level major conference teams, and my alma mater gets a shout out. Programs like Purdue certainly come with their benefits, but also many, many challenges. Namely, having to battle the top-level programs of a power conference for recruits.

Today's list is of full of programs like Purdue where, historically, the right coach can overcome these obstacles and compete at the highest level. Also checking in on today's countdown are four NFL jobs that are challenging for a bevy of reasons.

If you haven't read Part 1 or Part 2, here is a refresher on our terms.

The "best" coaching jobs are ranked by:

1. General Prestige- The guy who coaches this team is a big deal.

2. Chances of Being Successful- In college this amounts to how well a coach can expect to recruit and level of competition. In the pros, it is determined by the competency of the ownership group and front office. Pro teams are generally lower in this category because a. the NFL is a league of parity (sorta) and b. you have to rely on other people to pick your players (most of the time). Not to mention, there is a draft.

3. Length of Leash- Can one bad season get you canned at this job? Or, is the administration/ownership group understanding of the team building process? A job where you can actually work through that process is obviously more desirable.

Two factors not used in coming up with these rankings were a team's current roster and compensation. Personnel and pay-wise, this is an "all things being equal" kind of thing. Think of it as the best places to build a team from scratch.

The rankings take college conference realignment into consideration, and include 111 possible teams from the NFL, ACC, Big East (though it will not be a BCS conference much longer), Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, SEC and Div. I independents.

So, without further ado, here is the third section of our rankings, the second quarter of our Top-100.

75. NC State: ACC

74. Virginia: ACC


Both these ACC teams enjoy fertile recruiting grounds and NC State is, historically, the better program. But, with better academics, a more scenic campus, and a better state for high school football, Virginia gets the slight edge due to future potential.

73. Cincinnati Bengals: NFL

72: Philadelphia Eagles: NFL

71. Kansas City Chiefs: NFL

70. Buffalo Bills: NFL


These jobs are all challenging, but for different reasons. The Cincinnati job is a tough one because the front office and ownership group have repeatedly made inept decisions throughout the franchise's less than proud history. However, they at least let a coach work through things. In Philadelphia, you have to deal with, perhaps, the least patient fan base in American sports.

The Chiefs enjoy a fine home field advantage, but ownership has been quick to fire, and the front office has a knack for finding just enough talent to hang a coach out to dry when he misses the playoffs. In Buffalo, you could argue there isn't a more loyal fan base. But, they still want results, and this leads to short tenures for less than legendary coaches there.

69. Purdue: Big Ten

The Boilermakers don't enjoy a great recruiting back yard, but successful coaches have been able to sell Purdue's academics and underrated history of getting players NFL-ready to recruits throughout the Midwest, Southeast and Texas. If there are two positions a good coach should be able to recruit, they are quarterback (alums Drew Brees, Bob Griese, Len Dawson, etc) and defensive end (Rosevelt Colvin, Ryan Kerrigan, Shaun Phillips, Anthony Spencer, Cliff Avril).

68. Utah: Pac 12

Utah is an underrated high school football state, and with the program's move to the Pac 12, the door has opened for the Utes to recruit California and Washington with greater success. 

67. Houston: Big East


Much like SMU, Houston should be able to take the Big East by storm with it's talent-rich backyard. The program has toiled in small conferences since to dissolution of the Southwest Conference, but has the capability to reemerge as a national power.

66. Texas Tech: Big 12

Still, recruiting Texas is a little easier when you're in the Big 12, as Texas Tech is. While this certainly isn't the UT or A&M job, you will get enough talent to compete, and an innovative coach can pile up victories in Lubbock.

65. Kansas State: Big 12

Kansas St. has historically made a living by developing highly regarded junior college prospects from the surrounding states and recruiting its home state very well at the high school level. In between Bill Snyder's tenures, the program got away from that. But, now that he has returned, it has proven to be a sustainable recipe for success in the Little Apple.

64. San Diego Chargers: NFL

63. Minnesota Vikings: NFL

62. Miami Dolphins: NFL


All decent jobs with interesting ownership groups. But, the Dolphins get the top spot for playing (close to) a glamor city, and having a (somewhat) storied history. Just behind them are the Vikings, who have the best fan base of these three and a new stadium, and the Chargers who have been able to win with smart coaches throughout the past three decades.

61. BYU: Div. 1 Independent


BYU edges Utah in its home state, and the fact that the school has a religious affiliation helps it recruit nationally. The Cougars also have their own television deal, giving them national exposure unlike any other "mid-major" school.

60. Vanderbilt: SEC


Whoever is coaching the Commodores will always have to deal with stricter academic standards than anyone in the SEC, but he is also the only coach in the conference (perhaps outside of Florida) that can legitimately sell academics. Add in a campus nestled in bustling Nashville, and there's a reason why coaches as smart as James Franklin can build a program at Vandy.

59. North Carolina: ACC


Another "basketball school," but the administration at UNC have shown an investment in the football program. Add in the talent in the Carolinas, and the national "UNC Brand," and you should be able to bring ACC championships to Chapel Hill.

58. Louisville: ACC


This is probably the fastest rising program in the country. Not because of their Sugar Bowl victory, but because they got out of the Big East and will join the ACC with a ton of recruiting momentum in Florida. Louisville has been able to recruit its home state well in the past too, and if a coach can combine those two (as Charlie Strong is doing), you can win big in the Ville.

57. Arizona: Pac 12

56. Arizona St.: Pac 12


For the life of me I can never understand why these two teams are so bad. There is a ton of talent in the Arizona, Utah, Nevada area, and with their reputations as "party schools," you would think they would be able to attract players nationally as well. They are two underachieving programs, but they both have the potential to be national players.

55. Baylor: Big 12


Again, if you get to recruit Texas, it's a pretty good job. Baylor gets the nod over Tech, Houston and SMU because the administration has shown a larger monetary commitment to athletic facilities. Well, at least to the ones used by the football and men's basketball teams.

54. Iowa: Big Ten


Iowa doesn't produce a ton of talent, but you have an administration committed to winning and past success in the Big Ten. Plus, visiting teams have to get dressed in a pink locker room… I mean, there are just some values you just can't quantify.


53. Ole Miss: SEC


The Rebels have a great home state to recruit and can sell SEC competition to second-tier recruits in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. But, when Ole Miss is really rolling, it keeps its top kids in-state and snags some of the best players out of the Bayou.

52. Oklahoma St.: Big 12

With the money flowing in from T. Boone Pickens, Oklahoma St. has a sugar daddy much in the same way that Oregon does in Phil Knight. Also, the Cowboys play in an attractive league with a history of recruiting southern Oklahoma and northern Texas well.

51. Cincinnati: Big East

Cincinnati gets top billing in the Big East mostly because I don't see them staying there much longer. The Bearcats enjoy a great recruiting backyard and an administration that will go to great lengths to keep the program competitive. Add in the school's attractive basketball program, and it's hard to see Cincinnati getting left out in all this conference realignment hoopla.

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