We documented the 10 worst head coaching jobs in college football amidst the Northwestern Wildcats change, but what about the best jobs? These are the easiest places in the nation among Power Five schools to have success at. Location, money and conference are all factors.
They aren’t in the most fertile recruiting area, and questions surround the future of the Pac-12. However, the Oregon Ducks are almost certain to have a home in one of the major conferences regardless of how college football realigns, and they have a California pipeline right now.
What pushes this program into the top 10 is NIL. Oregon has the third largest NIL collective, according to ON3. That Nike money is rolling in, and it should be enough for them to be as competitive as the California schools for California prospects.
Yes, UCF is the best job in Florida. Here’s why. The Florida State Seminoles and Miami Hurricanes are stuck in the ACC with a terrible payout in TV revenue. Now in the Big 12, the Knights have a payout worth three times as much. They are also the largest school in a talent-rich state without the same expectations as the other schools.
Okay, so why not the Florida Gators? Well, Florida can’t get its act together with NIL, and the school has been considered a toxic place for recruits for a decade plus given the lack of discipline Urban Meyer oversaw there. As a result, yes, UCF is the best job in the state.
A few years ago, Tennessee may have been one of the worst jobs in college football. It wasn’t quite Nebraska, but the Vols had top 10 expectations stuck in a school not well-positioned to recruit top 10 talent. However, that has changed dramatically in just a couple of short years.
Rocky Top has the largest NIL collective in the sport, and they are close enough to Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas to pluck talent out of all those places. Combine that with a healthy dose of talent in the state and no real competition for those players, and NIL has them in much better shape.
Want to know what’s better than having a large NIL initiative? Having a large NIL initiative in a talent-rich state. That’s where the Texas Longhorns come in. Texas is set to join the SEC in a year too with the fourth largest NIL initiative, so they literally have every recruiting advantage you can possibly think of.
For a long time, Texas was an overrated job because they competed with so many other Power Five schools for recruits in their state. However, the pipeline is narrowed to three, and there’s plenty of talent for all of them. One is Texas. The other is the Oklahoma Sooners. Then there’s the next team on this list.
6. Texas A&M
Yes, Texas A&M is a better job than Texas. The Aggies have the infrastructure of having been in the SEC for over a decade. Also, they are actually in closer proximity to where the bulk of the talent that makes Texas such a great football state is. Sure, Texas has the tradition, but that’s irrelevant, and the Longhorn Network is no more.
Most notably, Texas A&M had a larger NIL collective. A&M’s is second only to the Vols, as they are the school with the oil money, not Texas. Sure, A&M has no national titles in the modern era, but that’s more due to their own failures, not the advantages of the school. They are the New York Mets of college football.
Although they’ve had the greatest dynasty of college football the last 15 years, the Alabama Crimson Tide are just a rare case of what happens when you hire a head coach with the credibility of Nick Saban at a top five place. That doesn’t mean they’re the best place if all things are equal.
Still, Alabama is a good job. Although they compete with the Auburn Tigers for in-state talent, they are in a top 10 state for NFL talent. Meanwhile, they are right next to Georgia, and with FSU stuck in the ACC, they have the best connection to the Florida Panhandle. That leaves no need for a large NIL collective.
It’s pretty clear that by joining the Big Ten, the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins will have a lock on California talent outside of Oregon. Those are the big three. Of them, USC will get first dibs. They historically always have, but things are changing even more in their favor now.
USC has a top 10 NIL initiative. It’s not quite Tennessee or one of the Texas schools, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember how Pete Carroll built the program with Southern California talent? That’s about to happen again. USC is the Miami of the West, but unlike Miami, they aren’t stuck in the ACC.
3. Ohio State
By far the best college football jobs are the ones in which there is one school in a state with a ton of football talent and no recruiting competition for that talent. NIL can’t cancel that out, largely because there’s still enough NIL money everywhere among the big schools, so location still becomes a bigger advantage.
Anyway, the Ohio State Buckeyes are the first of these type of schools. Ohio is the fifth best state for NFL talent, and Ohio State is the only legitimate contender for that talent. The Cincinnati Bearcats joining the Big 12 adds some competition, and the Michigan Wolverines can poach some guys, but by and large, that state belongs to Ohio.
Ohio is the fifth best state for NFL talent. Georgia is the fourth best state. That alone pushes the Georgia Bulldogs ahead of OSU. Like OSU, Georgia technically has one other school that provides competition in-state for recruiting, as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are a Power Five program. They are also in Atlanta.
However, Georgia Tech, is stuck in the ACC. As we keep mentioning, the ACC payout is so bad right now that being stuck in that league is going to push schools to borderline Group of Five status. Add in a top 20 NIL collective that UGA has, and they are in really good shape to be great long-term.
Louisiana is sixth in NFL talent, behind Ohio and Georgia. However, it’s close, and unlike Georgia or Ohio State, the LSU Tigers have absolutely no Power Five competition for talent in their state. At least there’s Cincinnati in Ohio and Georgia Tech in Georgia. Simply put, LSU is the easiest job in the nation.
Ed Orgeron and Les Miles winning national championships there tells you all you need to know. The big question behind LSU is why they didn’t start winning like this until the 2000s. With Brian Kelly at the helm, they could have the next college football dynasty brewing too. Louisiana is so easy to recruit that they don’t even need NIL.