Tuesday Question: What’s The Best College Football Job Opening?

    There are officially six FBS college football job openings on the market, not including Maryland. But which one is the best position available?

    October 27, 2015


    Rank the six job openings – Illinois aside, for now – from best gig to worst

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    1. USC – The current gold standard for openings. And it’s not even close. The Trojans are not only one of the premier programs in college football, but Steve Sarkisian also leaves behind a full cupboard of blue-chip underclassmen that his successor will inherit.

    2. South Carolina – It’s an SEC gig at a school that boasts a great fan base and a recent history of 11-win seasons. On the flip side, though, who wants to follow Steve Spurrier or perennially butt heads with Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, who now owns the state?

    3. Maryland – Not the best opening, but arguably the most underrated at this time. In College Park, you’re now playing in one of the game’s elite football conferences, and eight wins will bring attaboys and a contract extension. Plus, there’s ample talent in the region, as well as the backing of Under Armour CEO—and former Terp—Kevin Plank.

    4. Miami – Check, please. Miami is a terribly overrated gig, which Al Golden realized shortly after arriving. There are some inherent advantages to leading the Canes, like access to a deep talent pool, but who wants to coach a program stuck in the past, poorly supported and playing in a building 45 minutes from campus?

    5. UCF – Great facilities. A terrific recruiting base. And just two years removed from winning the Fiesta Bowl. It looks bad now, and George O’Leary is leaving behind plenty of dirty dishes in the sink, but some patient coach can use the Knights as a launching pad to a Power Five gig.

    6. North Texas – Relatively new stadium, but a very tough gig, as evidenced by the one winning season over the last decade. Perfect spot for the high school coach with the inventive offense to make a leap into the FBS ranks.


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    Every FBS head coaching job is a good one. ‘cept Kansas.

    That said, based on timing, location and history (not to mention salary), some jobs are clearly better than others. With that in mind…

    1. USC – Or USCw, as my Carolina friends would remind me. This is a no brainer. USC typically has the pick of the liter in the talent rich state of California, plus all the trappings that go with the tradition of Troy. West of the Mississippi, it’s your first choice, period. And yes, that includes you, Texas.

    2. USC – The Gamecocks have everything you need to win, particularly in an SEC East that’s been rather soft for the past few years. All it needs is an aggressive coach who will charge after it from a recruiting perspective. They play great prep football in the Carolinas … but in terms of volume, there just aren’t enough prep kids to pick from. Steve Spurrier benefited by a rare stretch of elite Carolina high school talent … the next HC must be able sell his message aggressively throughout the South.

    3. Miami – Perhaps not the job it once was, and you can’t accept the offer before getting a commitment from the school that it will significantly improve ts football facilities. That noted, it’s still The U, in a very fertile recruiting area. The right coach can hit a home run here.

    4. Maryland – The pull of the B1G is the tipping point. Yes, there’s a long uphill climb, but being able to play in the historic stadiums of the Big Ten should catch the eye of a lot of recruits. Add a dynamic coach into the mix, and you can build a winner in time … not unlike Utah out west.

    5. UCF – Just on talent pool alone. It seems like only yesterday that UCF was on the threshold of turning into a perennial big league player…

    6. North Texas – There’s nothing wrong with North Texas … it’s just that in this list, it falls last.


    E-mail Phil Harrison | Follow me … @PhilHarrisonCFB  

    In the profession of molding young men wearing helmets, there are some jobs that are destination jobs, and others that are part of the journey. Surprisingly, there are quite a few want ads already out there in the middle of the season, but which are the best?

    1. USC – It’s one of the most storied programs of all time, it is THE team in L.A. without an NFL franchise around yet, the pockets are deep, and the talent is already really close to coming together for really big things.

    2. Miami – It’s the U and somebody is going to turn this thing around because it sits in arguably the most fertile recruiting ground there is. On top of that, the weather and beaches aren’t half bad.

    3. South Carolina – Before Lou Holtz and then Steve Spurrier, the Gamecock gig would have fallen further down the list. However, things really got cookin’ with these two hall of famers wearing the headset. SEC jobs are a premium cut of beef these days, but it’s not the mouth-watering filet types that Miami and USC are.

    4. Maryland – I’ve always thought the Terps were a sleeping giant of sorts. There’s not a whole lot of elite history there, but it sits in the D.C and Baltimore areas that should be a recruiting pipeline. Being in the Big Ten should give the program more revenue to improve the facilities and culture. Make college football matter in Maryland, and you might get a statue built of yourself.

    5. UCF – Yeah, yeah, you here all the time about what a great job this is sitting in the rich athletic state of Florida, but there’s just too much going on in the Sunshine State to be a consistent contender. You already have Florida, Florida State, Miami, and USF. On top of that, other programs poach the state, and the blue-chippers aren’t likely to stick around for a non-power-five conference program.

    6. North Texas – While it might make you feel like a boss to call yourself a part of the Mean Green, this program simply doesn’t stack up to the others on this list. You can make a name for yourself.

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