Friday, January 18, 2013

The 100 Best Coaching Jobs in Football: 26-50

TCU Coach Gary Patterson's job become a lot more appealing when the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12.

By Joe Parello

Today's group of jobs feature some of the more appealing NFL gigs, and we finally feature some college jobs where a coach can legitimately hope to win a national title. Still, nearly every one of these jobs could still be considered a "stepping stone" position for the most ambitious of coaches.

If you haven't read Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3, 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 next section of our rankings.

50. Georgia Tech: ACC

49. Illinois: Big Ten

48. Pittsburgh: ACC

47. Missouri: SEC

These four college jobs come with their perks and a realistic chance to compete for BCS bowls. Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh have each  been a legitimate national power at one point or another. The Yellow Jackets need to get back to dominating Georgia recruiting, and the Panthers have a ton of talent they need to keep in the 'Burgh.

Illinois and Missouri each have a decent amount of talent in their state, and administrations that will support national recruiting efforts. When both teams are winning they are recruiting neighboring states very well. For Illinois, that means snagging some Blue Chips out of Ohio, and for Missouri that means competing for top prospects in Texas. Being able to sell SEC football should help.

46. Indianapolis Colts: NFL

45. New Orleans Saints: NFL

44. Washington Redskins: NFL

43. Seattle Seahawks: NFL

42. Houston Texans: NFL

Four of these jobs have recently become more appealing, while the Redskins job has gone downhill since Dan Snyder came to town. Still, the Washington job comes with great prestige and a passionate fan base, not to mention a giant stadium. The Colts and Saints have developed a great fan following over the last decade plus and, along with the Texans, have some of the more underrated fan/stadium situations in football.

Seattle has, arguably, the best home field advantage in all of pro football. Also, with the Mariners not being a traditional baseball power and no NBA team in town (for now), the Seahawks play the majority of their season as the only pro act in town.

41. West Virginia: Big 12

40. Virginia Tech: ACC

39. Washington: Pac 12

38. Akransas: SEC

Virginia Tech edges West Virginia due to a better recruiting base, but a coach at either school will never be devoid of talent. Washington truly is a sleeping giant in the Pac 12. If the Huskies can keep the best players in Washington home, then pluck a few prospects out of California and Utah, there is no reason they shouldn't be able to compete for Pac 12 titles. Arkansas has historically recruited both the Bayou and Texas well, along with keeping in-state talent home.

37. Baltimore Ravens: NFL

36. Atlanta Falcons: NFL

Great fan bases and front offices make these two jobs very appealing, but a larger market gives Atlanta the edge.

35. Wisconsin: Big Ten

34. Michigan St.: Big Ten

The Badgers have had more recent success, but MSU is the Washington of the Big Ten. The Spartans have fertile recruiting grounds in their home state and nearby Ohio, along with an administration that is willing to spend as much as anybody in the conference (outside of Ohio St. and Michigan).

33. Clemson: ACC

32. Tennessee: SEC

31. South Carolina: SEC

These three southern schools all have their pros, and the state of South Carolina has powered both Clemson and South Carolina to recent success. Tennessee is still a very attractive job, but the in-state talent has fallen off a bit in the past decade, and there are plenty of other jobs in the SEC that offer a better chance to build a team.

Still, you could conceivably win a national tittle at any of these three schools.

30. Denver Broncos: NFL

The Broncos have one of the league's best front offices, a fan base that shows up, and a shiny new stadium. No wonder they were able to bring in Peyton Manning.

29. Cal: Pac 12

28. TCU: Big 12

27. UCLA: Pac 12

26. Penn St.: Big Ten

All four of these teams have great home states to recruit and can sell academics, as well as great campus life. Cal and UCLA, like Washington, Arizona and Arizona St. (sensing a pattern, Pac 12?) have underachieved, but there is no reason the Golden Bears and Bruins shouldn't be competing for at least conference titles.

The TCU job became one of the nation's best when the Horned Frogs made the jump to the Big 12. Major conference affiliation means TCU will get even more of those great prospects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, along with the state as a whole. The Penn St. job has gone the other way of late, but the Nittany Lions, with fertile recruiting territory and money to spare, still represent one of the best chances to win big in the Big Ten. That is, once those scholarship limits run out.

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