- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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If you had your choice, which Big East head-coaching job would you want?
Despite the naysayers out there, the league has plenty of good options. As part of our coaching series this week, I have ranked the coaching jobs in the Big East from best to worst. Here are factors I took into consideration when doing these rankings: location, budget, facilities, long-term growth and program potential.
Keep in mind this is a ranking of the jobs themselves, not the head coaches.
1. USF: Why the Bulls? Location plays a huge role in why I have this job tops in the Big East. USF is in the hands-down best recruiting area of any team in the league. The Bulls have new facilities, pay well (Skip Holtz just got a $2 million a year contract) and are in a state that is crazy about football.
2. Pitt: The Panthers are also in one of the best recruiting areas, being able to mine Pennsylvania and Ohio for talent. They do have a winning tradition and top-notch facilities and a history of turning out first-round NFL picks. Plus, a move to the ACC now means they have a guaranteed tie-in to a major bowl game.
3. Louisville: While the area is not rich in talent, coach Charlie Strong has done an excellent job getting into Florida. The Cardinals have excellent institutional support, good facilities and pay well (Strong is the highest paid of the Big East public school coaches). Though there is no NFL team to compete with, there is another major sport on campus that traditionally draws more attention.
4. Cincinnati: Another huge plus with location, as this is a program that can naturally recruit a talent-rich state. Coach Butch Jones also has done an excellent job building a pipeline into Florida. The recent winning tradition is huge, with two BCS appearances. Financial support isn’t as high as other Big East schools, and Nippert Stadium needs upgrades/expansion.
5. Rutgers: Recruiting the tri-state area has been big for the Scarlet Knights, especially in big years for New Jersey. Their facilities are nice, and they have won in recent years. But they still have to fight for publicity in an NFL-heavy area, and attendance at home games dipped to No. 5 in the league last season.
6. Syracuse: The Orange also have to look outside New York to try to fill their recruiting base. The facilities are getting a much-needed upgrade, though fan support has been lacking. This is program that has done well historically but fallen into a slump. Hopefully a move to the ACC can jump-start consistent success.
7. UConn: The Huskies are in a tough spot in Connecticut, an area that isn't brimming with top-level recruits. They have to compete against some major players for talent. The facilities are nice, but this has been a program traditionally overshadowed by men's and women's basketball.
8. Temple: The Northeast has been a tougher area to recruit in recent years, and nobody really knows how Temple is going to fare now that it makes its move back into the Big East. Facilities got a huge upgrade but still have a ways to go. Fan support has to get better.
2dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
3dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney