10. Kansas: Here’s how tough the Kansas job is: David Beaty was 2-22 through two seasons and was still given a third year. The Jayhawks spent only $14 million on football in 2015 — the least of any Power Five school and well below the average ($26.7 million). It’s a basketball school that hasn’t won more than three games in a season since 2009.
9. Oregon State: The Beavers are the clear No. 2 team in a state without much high school talent, and their $15.7 million in football expenses was ahead of only Kansas. Plus Oregon State is in a division with Oregon, Washington and Stanford, and it has only won 10 games twice in program history.
8. Texas Tech: The program’s Air Raid identity is no longer unique, and as successful as Mike Leach was there, his Red Raiders never finished higher than 12th in the final Associated Press poll. Tech has been a victim of the recent ascensions of Baylor and TCU, and Lubbock is more than 300 miles from Texas’ major metro areas.
7. Ole Miss: Con: The Rebels are still waiting on a final verdict from the NCAA regarding 21 alleged violations (15 of which were Level I). Pros: Coach Hugh Freeze was among the nation’s top 10 highest-paid coaches ($4.7 million) before he was ousted in a bizarre scandal involving escort services. Bonus points for a gorgeous campus and recent success that make recruiting easier.
6. Arkansas: The facilities are nice, and so is the pay (Bret Bielema is making $4.2 million). But the Razorbacks don’t have the storied tradition or recent success of the rest of the cutthroat SEC West. The state isn’t loaded with blue-chip talent, either. Better than Ole Miss because there’s no NCAA cloud.
5. Nebraska: There are plenty of great numbers with the Huskers — 360 consecutive sellouts, 893 wins, five national titles and three Heisman Trophy winners. Here’s another, from the Omaha World-Herald: 67 Division I-A teams have had an 11-win season since Nebraska’s last (2001). Prospects aren’t old enough to remember the program’s tradition, and the region’s small population makes recruiting tough.
4. UCLA: Home games at the Rose Bowl, a new $75 million football center and a $3.5 million salary, all in a talent-rich area of a talent-rich state. The downside: The Bruins are second fiddle in their own city, behind USC, and have only one top-10 finish since 1998.
3. Tennessee: Even in the middle of a 4-5 season that will likely get Butch Jones fired, the Vols are taking steps to renovate Neyland Stadium. That means the commitment is there, along with the recruiting and other facilities. An SEC East schedule is nice, but playing Alabama every year makes it tougher and cancels out one advantage it would have over …
2. Texas A&M: The Aggies offer great facilities and an even greater salary (Kevin Sumlin has a top-10 paycheck of $5 million). The pressure is intense (like the rest of the SEC West), but A&M can recruit well as Texas’ only SEC team. If done well, this job is one of the best in the country.
1. Florida: The facilities aren’t great, as former coach Jim McElwain said (repeatedly). But this is the flagship school in one of the nation’s top three recruiting states. Tim Tebow still resonates with prospects, and three national championships in the past 21 years help. Don’t let back-to-back poor hires fool you; the Gators job is one of the best in the country — and will almost certainly be the best this coaching carousel has to offer.
Contact Matt Baker at [email protected] Follow @MBakerTBTimes.