January 21, 2010

Thursday Question: The best coaching destinations

Each Thursday the staff at Linebacker-U.com will choose a topical question to answer in a roundtable format. In our inaugural Thursday Question, we figured that with all the coaching changes going on around college football, this was the most obvious for this week: What are the best coaching destinations in college football?

We came up with our top three schools from the BCS conferences, plus one more from a non-automatic BCS qualifying conference...


I base my list on three criteria... 1. Major relevance – I want to play for a national title if I go undefeated; 2. Recruiting – make my job easier; 3. Warm weather – makes #2 easier and frankly I’m sick of PA winters.

USC – Pete Carroll left an indelible mark on USC making it the sexy choice for most high school kids. And really, how hard is it to sell this place, you’ve got L.A., Beverly Hills, and Huntington Beach only a 30 minute drive away. If Lane Kiffin can’t succeed there as a head coach he should be unceremoniously run out of football at any level.

Florida – Two words for you: Erin Andrews. Ok, not just her specifically but fine looking young women with year-round tans, and did I mention spring-breakers as well? Florida sells itself in this area, and while maybe not as sexy as USC, it’s certainly not hard to get 18-year olds to want to come and play there.

Texas – Texas may not have the sex appeal or the fine Floridian women, but they have one thing that all coaches want: a gigantic home-state football recruiting pool. Every major school shops around in the state of Texas and coaching at the state’s #1 college football school (sorry Tech) gives you a major advantage.

Florida International - Can you tell it's been a very cold winter in central Pennsylvania? I like FIU because they are right next to Miami (Florida recruiting), they play a lot of the big boys (exposure), they suck (it would be a challenge) and I've always wanted to coach at an airport (insert Sarcmark).


I'm really big on tradition, pageantry and all that jazz. Otherwise, I'd probably be a bigger NFL fan. The weather, believe it or not, isn't that big a deal for me. Sure, it would help recruiting, but there have been plenty of national titles won by schools with snow waiting for them when the come home from the bowl game. But what it comes down to is the fanbase and the facilities. If you can say your school has the best of both, then your set. Plus, I'm sure everyone else is going to pick schools you'd expect, like USC or Miami. So, I'll try to make my picks interesting.

Nebraska – If you can handle the corn and the mullets, Big Red has got to be on this list. The school has won a gazillion games, has fantastic facilities, and the absolute most loyal fans in the history of American sports. I mean, seriously, they haven't missed a sell-out home game since 1962! That's 304 games ago, people. The pressure is great to win in Lincoln; but if you do, there's no limit to how far the program and its community will go to make you happy.

Washington – Have you seen the Huskies' campus? It's probably the most picturesque in-stadium gameday experience any college football fan could have. From inside one of the loudest stadiums in America, you can have a great view right out onto Union Bay in Lake Washington. The recruits might not flock to Seattle like an SEC state, but the facilities are fantastic and the fan base has always been there.

Penn State – Don't say it. I was actually very close to leaving Happy Valley off my list. After all, who really wants to follow Joe Paterno? But it really wouldn't be all that bad. If you include the largest stadium in North America, Penn State probably has the best football facilities in the world. Throw in a pretty darn good recruiting base from Virginia to Ohio to New York City; Penn State is, hands down, a coaching dream job.

TCU - I'm not an overtly religious person, but Texas Christian has all the moving pieces of a great football program. The Horned Frogs have a superb football tradition that goes back before facemasks; the Lone Star State is probably the single best recruiting base in college football; and you would be right near the major Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.


The Top-2 coaching destinations would have to be Texas and Florida, because of the inherent advantage of in-state talent and nice weather. USC would have been on this list too, but the fear of a NCAA crackdown scared me off that option. Other potential substitutes would be: Florida State, Miami, South Florida and UCLA.

For the remaining choice I’d have to go with Ohio State, also in a fertile recruiting ground without the weather. A prestige program, similar things can be said of Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan and Penn State.

Fresno State would have to be my non-BCS school, far better weather than Boise State and in-state talent to grab. The only real roadblock year after year appears to be the Broncos and given the anywhere/anytime approach to OOC scheduling would boost up the weak conference slate.


I don’t know about the others, but I had a difficult time reducing this to just three. That’s because I could name my top four in my sleep. With that being said, here’s the criteria I used to determine my picks.

* Recruiting (Are you THE school in your state that most young football players dream of playing for someday?)
* Support (Does your athletic department have the cash to flaunt around and bring you the best facilities and booster support possible?)
* Fan base (Is your team’s bandwagon the largest in its respective state?)
* Weather (I don’t put as much emphasis on this for a coach, but it certainly does come across the minds of recruits. Hence, it can be a factor)

1. USC – Let’s see: Beaches, babes, nice weather year-round, and thanks to Pete Carroll, the best recruits in California practically come flocking to you.

Since Lane Kiffin ought to keep the wheels on the program recruiting-wise, this job will finally help to point out what a disgustingly mediocre gameday coach he truly is. Congrats USC, you just hired your own Charlie Weis.

2. Ohio State – Yes, the weather may leave more to be desired but otherwise, what’s there not to love? A rich athletic department, being the most popular sports team in the state of Ohio (the Browns and Bengals don’t even come close), and having a virtual chokehold on recruits in your state (spare me the Cincinnati talk, they don’t hold a candle to OSU in recruiting) makes this job an extremely difficult one to pass on.

3. Texas – It’s located in the Mecca of American high school football, in which the top recruits flock to Austin if they’re lucky enough to be offered. That, combined with one of the wealthiest athletic departments in the nation throwing their support behind you makes this in my humble opinion, a dream job for any coach.

Non-AQ: Boise State - Forget the foundation of winning that’s being laid down, they play on freakin’ blue turf…Smurf turf! What 3-star recruit ignored by the USC’s of college football could resist that?

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  1. And for those of you wondering: The 4th team in my "Top 4 that I could name in my sleep" is Florida.

  2. Wow, I have to say we covered a wider range than I thought we would.

  3. I couldn't survive at a USC or a Florida. When you come to play for me, you only need to worry about two things: football and school. Neither of those require nice weather or an active night life.

    Oh, our school's location is too boring for you? Well, I'm sorry. I didn't know you were here for partying; I thought you were here to play football and go to school.

    The more distractions a school has, the tougher it is to control your team. If you think it will never come back to haunt you, just ask Pete Carroll or Urban Meyer. One of them might have destroyed a program, while the other might have destroyed himself. Winning games is the goal, but I'll pass on a few of those victories if it means I can keep my program out of the mud.

  4. A better discussion topic would've been to name the top 3 jobs sans USC, Texas, and Florida. I'm sure there would've been a lot more variety in our answers then.

  5. Hey it was "the best coaching destination" and I was thinking from a purely greedy standpoint. If you wanted the best coaching position where you don't have to worry about academic fraud or kids getting into trouble, give me Notre Dame, PSU, or Northwestern. Any southern school will run the risk of booster problems, something that is hard to control as a coach.

  6. Oh I know. I'm just speaking about my idea of a perfect job. But even generally speaking, wouldn't NCAA sanctions put a damper on your work environment?