- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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It's difficult to rank coaching jobs, but that's what we've been asked to do this morning for the Pac-12.
Is a coaching job all about the money? Is it about the prestige of the program? Is it about potential? Is it about location? Stadium size?
It's probably about all of those things.
1. USC: It's the prestige program in the Pac-12. A top-five job nationally. And the only top-five job located in an A-list city.
2. Oregon: The Ducks have become a national power. Great facilities. Sugar daddy booster in Nike boss Phil Knight. Cool town, too.
3. Washington: The Huskies have money and are willing to spend it. Renovation of Husky Stadium also helps. Will winning come next? The Huskies fall behind the Ducks because they have not been to a BCS bowl since the 2000 season.
4. California: The Bears have substantially upgraded facilities and were willing to give Jeff Tedford a fat contract. And you can't beat the Bay Area.
5. Stanford: The Cardinal have moved up based on the past two seasons, and a big part of that happening was a willingness to recognize the importance of football. Academics are both a plus (smart players) and a minus (only smart players get in). And again, you can't beat the Bay Area (especially if you can afford it).
6. UCLA: A lack of recent success knocks the Bruins down a bit. Also, football remains second to basketball in Westwood. Still, the potential to win is here. And so is the Southern California market.
7. Arizona State: The Sun Devils are tired of being called a sleeping giant, and they have to compete with pro sports for fickle local fans' attention. Still, if ASU starts to win again, it could fill up the conference's fourth-biggest stadium.
8. Arizona: The basic knock is Arizona is a basketball school. Underrated stadium experience, though. Further, capable athletic director Greg Byrne is fully focused on doing everything he can to make the football program successful.
9. Utah: Moving up in the world because of a pair of BCS bowl wins this decade and a jump to the Pac-12. It's also notable the school has anted up to retain coach Kyle Whittingham and his assistant coaches. Second-smallest stadium in conference, though.
10. Colorado: Cool stadium in a great town and a history of success that suggests the Buffaloes can win and win big. Coach Jon Embree, however, is the lowest-paid coach in the conference. And state laws limiting multiyear contracts are an issue for any head coach trying to hire and maintain a staff.
11. Oregon State: The Beavers, at present, are struggling during Oregon's rise. Reser Stadium seats only 45,674, and coach Mike Riley is the second-lowest-paid coach in the conference.
12. Washington State: Mike Leach would obviously disagree with this ranking -- "Why Washington State? Well, that's a stupid question," he said during his first news conference as Cougars coach -- but Martin Stadium is the smallest in the conference (32,248 capacity), and Pullman is the most isolated town in the conference. Of course, Leach's $2.25 million salary and some Martin Stadium upgrades have the Cougs moving in the right direction.