Ranking the college coaching openings:
1. Southern Cal: Even after all this time, the Trojans are still the marquee school in the Pac-12. They have the tradition, the money and the recruiting base for a coach to follow in the footsteps of John McKay, John Robinson and Pete Carroll.
2. Missouri: Open after the stunning resignation of coach Gary Pinknel, the Tigers have shown that they can compete in the SEC already. The Tigers dominate their state’s recruiting, and if the right guy comes to town, the winning can continue.
3. Miami: Those who scoff that the Hurricanes will never be what they were miss an important question: Why not? The Hurricanes still live in a recruiting hotbed, and the coaches’ pay is about to go up. The team needs an on-campus stadium, but it’s never had one. Rumors of different coaches being interested have already begun, including Alabama assistant Mario Cristobal.
4. South Carolina: Steve Spurrier made a lot of things look possible for the Gamecocks. There is a great recruiting base at South Carolina, but it’s going to take the right guy to keep South Carolina afloat.
5. Virginia Tech: Blacksburg is a gorgeous town, and a lot of coaches would like to live there. You can recruit, as Frank Beamer proved, and you can compete. A sleeping giant.
6. Central Florida: Those who say the UCF job is better than Miami’s are doing it for effect, but the Knights job will attract a lot of attention. With an on-campus facility, UCF has a lot attractions. Also, after this year, the expectations are low.
7. Maryland: There is no real reason that the Terps can’t win if they hire a dynamic recruiter. The on-the-field performance hasn’t been up to par, but with the right guy, that can change.
8. Illinois: It seems as if the Illini haven’t been a great team since the days of Dick Butkus, but the time might be ripe for the team to climb in the Big 10. Again, it will draw a lot of interest
9. Hawaii: Yeah, recruiting trips are long. But you get to come back to Hawaii. If Hawaii can distinguish itself, it has a chance to be interesting.
10. North Texas: There are so many colleges playing football in Texas that North Texas tends to get lost in the shuffle. But it’s not a bad starter job for a hungry coach, and a coach can get rich on transfers from the major colleges in the state.