Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The 100 Best Coaching Jobs in Football: The Top-10

Urban Meyer won big at two of our Top-10 jobs, guiding the Buckeyes to an unbeaten season in 2012, and the Gators to BCS Championships in 2006 and 2008.
By Joe Parello

These jobs are the best of the best.

Each of these storied college programs recruits itself, and each of these NFL gigs have savvy front offices and rich championship histories. So, if you fail at any of these jobs, it won't be for a lack of resources.

If you haven't read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 or Part 5, 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 our Top-10.

10. Notre Dame: Div. 1 Independent

What coach wouldn't want the chance to "wake up the echoes" in South Bend? Notre Dame may not have the most fertile recruiting backyard, but the Irish recruit nationally as well as anybody, and you will always have all the money and top-notch facilities you will need to bring in the nation's best players. Also, the Irish have a history that few programs can rival, with 11 national championships and seven Heisman Trophy winners.

9. Green Bay Packers: NFL

One of the NFL's oldest and proudest franchises, gigs don't get much more prestigious than the Green Bay Packers. As if the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Vince Lombardi wasn't enough, the Packer front office has consistently put together contending teams since the early 1990s and the fan base is as passionate as any in the league.

8. New England Patriots: NFL

This job is very tough to judge because every time the Patriots have shown sustained success, it has been under a great coach that had final say over personnel decisions. But, it does show that ownership is smart enough to get out of the way of a Bill Parcells or Bill Belichick. Add in a (relatively) new stadium (relatively) close to Boston and the support of all New Englanders, and this is a job that can make legends.

7. Ohio St.: Big Ten

Along with LSU, the Buckeyes are known for putting a fence around their home state and keeping other power programs out. Along with recruiting talent-rich Ohio, the Buckeyes are a great sell nationally and have some of the richest history and pageantry in college football. With the decline in Michigan high school football and the scandal at Penn State, this is now the Big Ten's best job by a significant margin.

6. Florida: SEC

It's great to be a Florida Gator and, as the head man in Gainesville, you will never be devoid of talent. You will also enjoy one of the best home field advantages in all of football inside "The Swamp" and constantly improving athletic facilities. Recruiting the state of Florida is not easy when you have to compete with Florida State, Miami and out-of-state national powers, but Florida does very well, and there is enough talent there for the Gators to always be just a good head coach away from a national championship.

5. Dallas Cowboys: NFL

While it seems like forever since the 'Boys have been a serious Super Bowl contender, there isn't a more prestigious job in the NFL, and maybe all of football. Surprisingly, coaching America's Team doesn't come with all that short of a leash either, as Jerry Jones has shown commitment to coaches he has believed in during recent years, even when things began to fall apart. Add in the country's coolest new stadium and five Lombardi Trophies, and it's hard to beat this job deep in the heart of Texas.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers: NFL

No franchise has won more Super Bowls than Pittsburgh, and the Steelers also boast one of the league's largest fan bases. Add in the fact that the Rooneys are one of the league's best ownership groups, and that they have shown patience with coaches that can't win the big one (Bill Cowher), and you know you will have the time and resources to win in the 'Burgh. A semi-new stadium in downtown helps, and GM Kevin Colbert always seems to find steals in the later rounds of the draft.

3. Texas: Big 12

No state produces more Division 1 and NFL talent than the Lone Star State, and the Longhorns typically get first pick of the Texas Blue Chips. The school recruits itself to kids playing under the Friday Night Lights in Texas, and the Longhorns usually fill up their recruiting classes months before other programs. Add in the fact that the school will keep you ahead of the pack in the "facilities arms race" and that they've shown great loyalty to Mack Brown despite some lean years, and this is ALMOST the best job in college football.

2. Alabama: SEC

Still, the SEC is king, and it's tough to get much better than the conference's premier job. The head man at Alabama can sell a winning history that few can rival to kids across the entire Southeast and Texas. The administration has also shown over the years they don't mind if you cut a few corners or play it fast and loose with NCAA rules. Playing in Bryant-Denny Stadium doesn't hurt, and the fan base can't be beaten when it comes to blind passion. After all, over 92,000 packed in to watch Nick Saban's debut in 2007. That doesn't sound like a big deal? Oh yeah, it was the spring scrimmage.

Also, that one dude killed some trees and made a bunch of Auburn girls cry. Roll Damn Tide!

1. USC: Pac 12

Ah, the ultimate job where you can have your cake and eat it too. USC, as a school, boasts outstanding academics that you can sell to recruits across the entire country. But, the administration has shown that there are no actual standards for football players being admitted, beyond the base NCAA requirements. The Trojans also have national championships, Heisman Trophy winners, outstanding facilities, some of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the country within an hour of campus, the money to recruit nationally and a beautiful campus with amazing weather, all located in a glamour town.

So, you can see why a coach goes on the hot seat the first year his team struggles. There truly is no excuse for not winning AT LEAST nine games every season. Got it, Lane Kiffin?

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