What is the best college football coaching job in America? That's the question we kicked around the office earlier this week. John Calipari's move from Memphis to Kentucky has spurred a lot of discussion lately about what jobs are best.
I decided to do a little research and come up with my own list of the top five programs in all of college football. The list is completely subjective, but I did do my homework. You may agree with all of them or none of them. You may have them in a different order. But regardless of how you feel, it's hard to argue with the success of these schools.
I took into account tradition, weather, recruiting base, facilities, conference and budget. I did not factor in the competency of those who the coaches work for - athletic directors, school presidents and boards of trustees. All of us know that can be a huge factor - right Tommy?
So here we go...
1. Florida - Like it or not, this SEC foe has everything going for them. Their facilities are unmatched across the country and with an annual athletic department budget of $83 million the Gators have the resources to keep them state-of-the-art. The 2009 Rivals 100 list of top recruits contained 19 players that hail from the state of Florida - more than any other state. Urban Meyer's staff signed five of those athletes. It's still hard to believe Florida didn't win its first conference title until 1991.
2. Texas - The Longhorns are one of the few schools that can pick its players rather than having to recruit them. Austin, Texas may be the best college town in America. The Texas tradition is among the top five. What is there not to like? With an annual budget of $101 million, Mack Brown has little trouble keeping up with the Joneses. The state of Texas placed 12 athletes in this year's Rivals 100 and the Longhorns signed six of them. It's hard to blame Will Muschamp for staying put in Austin.
3. Southern Cal - Did USC make Pete Carroll or was it the other way around? I think it's safe to say that it's a little of both. With no NFL franchise in Los Angeles, the Trojans are the toast of the town. The weather is great 12 months out of the year and California is only rivaled by Florida and Texas for the most high school talent. This year's Rival 100 has 11 players from California and USC signed eight of them.
4. Notre Dame - Sure this is not your grandfather's Notre Dame, but don't underestimate the Irish. With the largest subway alumni base in the country and a major network to carry its games, Notre Dame is still among the plum jobs in college football. There is no tradition short of the New York Yankees that rival the Irish. With no conference to share television rights and bowl money, Notre Dame takes a back seat to no one in terms of revenue. The state of Indiana had no players on the Rivals 100 list, but when you are Notre Dame this is not a problem.
5. LSU - This probably comes as a shock to some of you. When I started my research, the Bayou Bengals were not on my radar. But the more you research the program the more you realize that Baton Rouge has a lot going for it. For starters, Louisiana consistently turns outs a decent crop of high school recruits despite its relatively small size. Bordering Texas and a stones throw from Alabama, LSU regularly crosses the border for talent. Surprisingly, Louisiana had five players among the Rivals 100. The Tigers signed six on the list, including two from the state of Texas. With great tradition and an annual budget of $76 million, LSU has things rocking in Bayou Country.
There you have it - the top five coaching jobs in college football. How does Auburn compare? Not too shabby. Jordan-Hare Stadium recently underwent several upgrades in recent years, including a new locker room, weight room and construction of a state-of-the-art academic facility. Despite having only four players on the Rivals 100 list this year from Alabama, Auburn is blessed with its proximity to Georgia and Florida, regularly going out of state for blue chip athletes.
Do you agree or disagree with the top five? I'd love to hear your thoughts...