CHARLOTTE NC - DECEMBER 04: Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles looks at the scoreboard against the Virginia Tech Hokies during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 4 2010 in Charlotte North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
As our friend f4h over at Gobbler Country would say, this is why we can't have nice things.
Yesterday, SI's Andy Staples ranked the nation's top 20 college football coaching gigs, and to the surprise of few (no one?), the ACC is home to all of zero of Staples' top 10. Naturally, of the top 10 jobs in college football, half of those were in the SEC. Two, including Staples' number 1 gig Texas, were in the Big 12, two in the Big Ten and one in the Pac-12.
The first ACC school to crack the top 20 was Florida State at 14. Staples writes of the Seminoles coaching gig:
"Because of the school's location, FSU's coach has to work a little harder than Florida's coach. Tallahassee is at the northern edge of the state, so players from Central and South Florida have to drive right through Gainesville on the way to FSU's campus. The Seminoles are closer to many players in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, but they have to fight to get those players out of their home states. That said, coaches at most schools would volunteer a limb to have as many quality players within 300 miles of campus."
I agree that Florida State's location in Tallahassee presents a bit of a challenge for Jimbo Fisher and the Noles, but c'mon. Beggars can't be choosers, am I right? FSU is still located in one of the sports few high school football hotbeds, and has plenty of history beating up on the rest of the ACC in the pre-expansion days of the conference.
Virginia Tech is the only other ACC program at the list, checking in at 17. Interestingly, Staples knocks the Hokies down a bit due to the program's lack of revenue streams. While Virginia Tech is the only ACC program to consistently sell out its home stadium, Lane Stadium's capacity of 66,233 is good for just the 36th largest stadium in Division I-A, which limits potential football revenue. The fact that the ACC has failed to produce a second BCS at-large team also hurts Tech and the rest of the conference in terms of revenue.
Can't say I have many beefs with Staples top 15 or so, but things seem to really break down for me after that. After Virginia Tech, Staples ranks Arizona State, Arizona and Oklahoma State to round out the Top 20 in what seems to me to be a case of clutching at BCS conference program straws.
I don't understand the Arizona State and Arizona picks at all. Sure the Pac-12's new sweetheart media rights deal will help fill the coffers of both school's athletic budgets, but both programs play in small-ish stadiums (Arizona State 71,706 and Arizona ... 56,000!) and have very little history of success. The Wildcats, in particular, have just one Pac-10 title to their name and an all-time bowl record of 6-10-1. I get the Oklahoma State pick, but one incredibly wealthy booster does not an awesome coaching job make.
Notably absent from Staples' top 20 list, at least to me: UCLA and Miami.
Despite their recent struggles, UCLA still has plenty of history, plays in a stadium that ranks nationally in the top 10 in terms of capacity (the Rose Bowl seats 92,542) and will benefit just as much as Arizona State and Arizona will from the Pac-12's TV deal. Despite playing in the shadows of their cross-town rivals for the better part of a decade, UCLA still has to be considered one of the best jobs in college football.
As for Miami, just because Shannon wasn't the guy to lead the U back to the glory days doesn't mean that Miami isn't one of the best 20 head coaching jobs in the sport. Miami benefits from an insanely beneficial geographic location and from loads of history from the days when the 'Canes dominated the Big East. The only thing missing is an on-campus stadium and the fans. Can't speak about the prospect of Miami getting an on-campus facility any time soon but surely the fans will return if Golden can return Miami to its winning ways.
I would also consider ranking the Texas A&M and/or Wisconsin jobs over Arizona State, Arizona and Oklahoma State.
In all, Staples ranks six SEC programs, four Big Ten, four Pac-12, three Big 12, two ACC and Notre Dame. Haha, Big East.
In terms of the ACC, I have no qualms with Staples ranking Florida State and Virginia Tech 1-2, though I would probably rank Miami ahead of Virginia Tech. Either way, it's close between those two programs for second. After Tech/Miami, I'd probably rank Clemson, then Georgia Tech, then N.C. State, in that order.
I'd probably give Boston College the seventh best coaching gig in the conference, with a slight nod over Maryland, who is and probably always will be a basketball-first school. BC has a proud football tradition as a Northern program that will push you around in the trenches and play solid defense.
The knock, obviously, is a small stadium, small-ish fan base and plays in a market that ranks D1 college football somewhere between the New England Revolution and the MLL's Boston Cannons in the Boston-area sports pecking order. Despite its faults though, I think we can confidently say we are a football-first school -- hold back your sailing jokes! -- which is more than I can say about the bottom four ...
Rounding out my bottom four would be North Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest and Duke, who clearly care more about basketball, Olympic / non-rev sports, basketball and basketball than football, respectively.
What do you think? Agree with Staples' list? What are some of the best college football coaching jobs in the country? How would you rank the coaching jobs in the ACC? Ready? Go.