Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Ranking the Big 12 coaching jobs
By David Ubben
Our series on coaches marches on today. Today, we're looking more at the coaching jobs themselves, and less about the men who currently reside within them.
Who has the Big 12's best? It all factors in history, facilities, recruiting base, fan base etc. What are the best jobs in the league? Here's how I'd rank them.
1. Texas: Ready-made recruiting base. The Longhorns are the flagship program in a state full of talented kids who (most of them, anyway) would die for an offer to wear the burnt orange. They've got a big fan base and college sports' biggest budget. What more could you ask for? Oh, a crazy awesome city surrounding your campus? Texas has that, too; this is arguably the best job in the nation.
2. Oklahoma: The Sooners are a national power with a huge fan base and lots of money. Being just under three hours up the road from Dallas pays off in recruiting, too. Winning isn't automatic here (ask John Blake), but it's a lot easier than at most places. The gap between these two and the rest of the league? Enormous.
3. Oklahoma State: Ain't nothin' wrong with a sugar daddy. T. Boone Pickens has helped elevate this program off the field and Mike Gundy turned it into a big winner on the field. OSU's facilities are impeccable, and its proximity to Texas allows it to reel in some top talent from the state.
4. West Virginia: This is the only team on our list that truly has an entire state behind the program. That pays off, even if it's a small one like West Virginia. Being a historic winner helps, too. Big 12 membership will pay off in facility upgrades soon, too.
5. Texas Tech: Tech's facilities are nice and the Red Raiders often get first dibs on the declining-but-still-underrated talent in West Texas. Winning big is possible, and the rowdy fan base provides a nice home-field advantage. Look out for that wind and lack of an indoor facility, though. Lubbock has a reputation as a small town, but it's actually one of the league's biggest with a population of well over 200,000. It's not the prettiest city, but there's more there than most think.
6. Baylor: Waco's proximity to the metroplex makes it a nice draw for recruits, and though the city isn't a huge draw, the campus is nice and the facilities are strong. A small fan base is the biggest negative. It's never fun for coaches or players to play home games in atmospheres that feel like neutral-site games. It happens too often at Baylor.
7. TCU: TCU has the same problem as the Bears, and we'll see if Big 12 membership fixes its home field getting flooded by opposing fans in Texas. Being located in the DFW metroplex is huge, and the facilities are in the process of a major upgrade that will be done soon. Gary Patterson winning for a decade gives this job a big upgrade for the next guy, too.
8. Kansas State: Bill Snyder did the impossible and turned K-State into a power (albeit briefly), but no one else seems to be able to win in Manhattan. It's a tiny town in central Kansas, and unless you're arguably the greatest coach in the history of the game, nobody else has been able to consistently win there. The fan support is outstanding and way underrated, but taking the job has to give any coach pause, even if Snyder's done everything he can to make the program a winner for the next guy.
9. Kansas: An apathetic fan base that seems more interested in basketball is the biggest problem with the KU job. It's the only school in the Big 12 that prefers the roundball. Mark Mangino proved you could win big there, but even he had trouble winning consistently. The stadium is quiet and underwhelming, but its proximity to Kansas City offers some nice payoff in recruiting -- if you can beat out Mizzou.
10. Iowa State: Iowa State holds the distinction of being the only truly "little brother" program in its own state, and that lands it at the bottom of our list. ISU is way north in the Big 12, and in a state that has little football talent. Best of luck convincing top Texas talents to sign up for Iowa winters. Feign offense at the "little brother" tag, but Iowa has 11 conference titles, 22 consensus All-Americans and a Heisman Trophy. Iowa State has two titles, three All-Americans and no Heisman. It's not close. Iowa's also won 14 bowl games, compared to three for ISU. That said, Paul Rhoads is doing an unbelievable job in Ames. So did Dan McCarney.