Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The 100 Best Coaching Jobs in Football: 11-25

Jim Harbaugh has won big at two of our Top-25 jobs.

By Joe Parello

The jobs become truly elite today.

Every college program on the list today can win a national title with the right coach, and each of the pro franchises listed here have storied histories and excellent management.

If you haven't read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 or Part 4, 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 are the jobs that just missed the Top-10.

25. Auburn: SEC

With fertile recruiting ground, a winning history, and an administration that will give you all you need to win, only two factors keep Auburn from being a super-elite job.

1. They share a state with Alabama and 2. The administration doesn't tolerate losing. This is the same group that fired Gene Chizik just two years after he won the program's second national championship.

24. New York Jets: NFL

The New York media is both a blessing and a burden at this job, but it really depends on how good of a coach you are. A smart coach can win in New York with a decent front office and ownership group that is not afraid to spend big money. Win big here, and you're a coaching legend.

23. Texas A&M: SEC

This has always been a great job, but it became even more attractive when the Aggies made the move to the SEC. With great in-state talent and SEC affiliation to sell it to, the only reason this job isn't higher is because Texas still grabs most of the state's Blue Chips.

22. Nebraska: Big Ten

The Huskers get billing ahead of the Aggies due to a championship history and ability to recruit more nationally. Not to mention the fact that the Big Ten will be less competitive with the Penn St. sanctions kicking in, making Nebraska is a hair more appealing than A&M right now.

21. University of Miami: ACC

The prestige and swagger of "The U" has dissipated in recent years, but the Hurricanes are the definition of a sleeping giant. No college in the country will find more recruits within an hour's drive of campus, and the football program is a unique, urban brand all its own. Still, the lack of an on-campus stadium makes it hard for the student body to get behind the team (Sun Life Stadium, where the Cane play their home games, is a 30-minute drive), and every big-time program in the country poaches recruits out of UM's back yard. Oh, and those two other in-state schools are pretty darn good too.

Still, when "The U" get's going, no program in the country is more fun to watch... And easier to hate.

20. Chicago Bears: NFL

One of the oldest and most storied franchises in the NFL, coaching the Bears comes with a great deal of prestige. Still, the front office has struggled to build offenses in recent years, and the franchise did just fire Lovie Smith-the man who led them to the Super Bowl in 2006- in favor of a coach from the CFL.

19. Georgia: SEC

Playing "Between the Hedges" offers one of the best home field advantage in college football, and the state of Georgia produces tons of Division I talent every year. Add in recruiting pipe-lines to north and central Florida, and you will always have the talent to win at UGA.

18. Stanford: Pac 12

Speaking of sleeping giants, I have a feeling Jim Harbaugh woke this one up in 2007. True, Stanford was terrible before he got there, but why? Academic standards? Yeah, I'll buy that to a certain extent, but it had a lot more to do with terrible coaching and complacent recruiting by Buddy Teevens and Walt Harris. Now, with world-class facilities, the money to easily recruit nationally and outstanding academics, I have to believe a good coach can find enough talented players that can make it academically in Palo Alto.

I mean, Ty Willingham did it.

17. Oklahoma: Big 12

Oklahoma has one of the richest histories in college football and with natural recruiting inroads in Texas and Nebraska, the Sooners are used to raking in talent from across state lines. But it isn't just nearby states, Oklahoma is a national brand that has been able to lure top talent from Florida to California.

16. New York Giants: NFL

This job comes with all the perks of the Jets gig, but the Giants have an even better championship history. Add in the fact that the Mara's are one of the league's best ownership groups, and this job is worth dealing with New York media.

15. San Francisco 49ers: NFL

This job may become even more prestigious in the next few weeks as the Niners have a chance to tie Pittsburgh with six Super Bowl championships. Even without another title, San Francisco is one of the best jobs in the NFL with a great fan-base and a history of shrewd personnel decisions.

14. LSU: SEC

The Bayou Bengals recruit their home state as well as any program this side of Ohio State. On top of that, LSU's status as an SEC heavyweight make it an easy sell to Blue Chip players across the Southeast. While it may not be the biggest stadium in the SEC, there are few more intimidating venues than Tiger Stadium during a night game.

13. Oregon: Pac 12

Oregon is the one non-traditional power that makes the top-25, and it has everything to do with one very successful alum. Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, has become the ultimate sugar daddy for the Ducks, and it doesn't stop at money. No, Knight hooks his alma mater up with the newest and sweetest gear in color combinations that make most sober fans temporarily blind.

But man, the kids love 'em.

12. Florida St.: ACC

The Seminoles recruit one of the best high school football states in America and became a national brand under Bobby Bowden in the 1990s. They haven't returned to those historic highs since, but the right coach can assemble a championship team in Tallahassee.

11. Michigan: Big Ten

Big Blue just misses the top-10 mainly due to demographics. While Michigan is still a traditional power and national brand, the Midwest just isn't producing as much talent as it once did, and certainly the talent level in Michigan has dropped off in the past decade. Plus, the Wolverines still have to fight Ohio St. and Notre Dame (two schools that recruit better nationally) tooth and nail for those prospects.

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