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The Athletic- Toughest CFB jobs

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7 months 1 week ago #27541 by HawkErrant
The athletic.com: The hardest jobs in college football: Coaches, ADs and agents on Miami, Vanderbilt, Kansas, UMass, Michigan and more

Excerpts for those without access..

Points: 94
First-place votes: 10

Vanderbilt was the runaway winner among Power 5 schools. The reasons are as obvious as you would think.

“No shot in the league,” one Power 5 assistant said. “They play with who they have to recruit.”

Added another Power 5 assistant: “Handcuffed by academic restrictions. In the hardest conference in America. Impossible to win there.”

Some of the coaches and agents surveyed, however, saw it differently, pointing to the success of James Franklin, who went 24-15 from 2011-13 and landed at Penn State afterward. The Nashville location doesn’t hurt, either.

“​​I don’t think expectations are crazy at Vanderbilt,” one agent said. “You’re not gonna win a national championship ever, but I don’t think (the pressure) is as bad. I’m a big quality of life guy, too.”

Still, it has been a struggle for the Commodores since Franklin left, as they went 27-55 under Derek Mason, who was fired after a 0-8 campaign in 2020 and replaced by Clark Lea, who is off to a 2-4 start.

Vanderbilt is also on its third athletic director since January 2019.

Points: 67
First-place votes: 5

Kansas has won before. Now consider this qualifier from a former Power 5 head coach: “Mark Mangino needs two statues. They went to the Orange Bowl and won. They fired him because he was mean.”

The Jayhawks have not been the same since, making wrong hire after wrong hire for both head coaches and athletic directors. How else do you explain the program placing the No. 1 and No. 2 choices in The Athletic’s rankings earlier this season of the most confounding coaching hires of the past 10 years? (And there is plenty of healthy debate among Kansas fans about who was actually worse: Charlie Weis or Les Miles?)

Coaches and agents pointed to the shadow of men’s basketball, the lack of football history and so-so facilities. Perhaps that all changes with the recent hires of Travis Goff and Lance Leipold, but they are starting from a very rough spot.

“What a nightmare,” an agent said.

Points: 38
First-place votes: 3

The Cornhuskers’ tradition is as revered as anyone’s nationally — just ask them — but population shifts and conference realignment have made for a potentially toxic combination.

“Great history and fan base,” one Power 5 assistant said. “But it’s a hard area to recruit to. Population, location and the league they are in right now puts them like all the other teams in the Big Ten. When they were in the Big 12, they were the big and physical team in a league full of speed. They had a niche.”

The past tends to haunt the Huskers. Several coaches from smaller schools scoffed at the notion of Nebraska being hard, given the program’s resources, but the gap between expectations and reality in Lincoln was clearly at the forefront for many surveyed.

“Because of the success they’ve been able to have in the last 30 years, it raised the expectation level,” one Power 5 AD said. “But there aren’t any players in the state.”

Points: 30
First-place votes: 4

We have our first job on this list that also appeared last month in The Athletic’s list of best jobs.

The intrigue in Texas speaks to its appeal. It probably also explains why the program hasn’t won a Big 12 title since 2009.

“Just a lot of political aspects to it that have nothing to do with football that makes it very difficult,” a Power 5 administrator said. “Takes a very skilled person.”

Alignment has been incredibly difficult to pull off there. The program is on its third head coach since Mack Brown. And the looming move to the SEC — while making the richest program in the country even richer — may make it even more difficult for the on-field product to get back on track.

“Expectations are so unrealistic,” an agent said. “Delusional fan base, but they do have the money to throw at any problem that comes their way.”

Washington State
Points: 30
First-place votes: 0

Washington State fits the category of a program that occasionally shows flashes of greatness, creating unrealistic expectations among supporters who wish for more sustained success.

“In the middle of nowhere,” a Power 5 assistant said. “Not great facilities. Have to recruit against everyone in the Pac-12 and really have no edge with anything.”

Mike Price and Mike Leach both had successful runs, but even at their best, the Cougars still regularly struggled against rival Washington in-state. Price went 3-11 against the Huskies; Leach went 1-7.

“If you’ve ever been to Pullman, you would know how special it is,” an agent said. “Recruiting against schools with beaches, warm weather, LA, and deep pockets like Oregon and Washington is a nightmare. The facilities improved dramatically under Bill Moos, but no more help is on the way. You have to run a unique system because you just can’t out-recruit people.”

Points: 29
First-place votes: 3

“Miami should be better than what they are from the outside looking in, but it doesn’t look like they’ve invested in their program to give them a chance,” a Power 5 athletic director said, citing a lack of nutrition and strength staff and academic support compared to powers like Alabama and Clemson.

A Group of 5 assistant agreed and pointed out the team’s spotty fan attendance: “Miami is hard. There are no resources. There are big expectations while playing at ‘The U,’ but you’re also playing in front of nobody.”

The team plays at a pro stadium 45 minutes from campus, making attendance difficult when the Canes aren’t dominant and giving the stadium a significant disadvantage without a student section, the rowdiest portion of any crowd. Multiple respondents also cited poor facilities at Miami that raise the degree of difficulty in recruiting, even when there is so much local talent. Other programs in the state can raid the area’s top prospects.

Points: 27
First-place votes: 2

Auburn is already a difficult job most years, as a less consistently successful program in its own state and with a fan base that wants to compete for SEC titles. But in the current state of college football, where Georgia and Alabama rule the annual recruiting rankings, Auburn and Tennessee are the only schools that have to play both each year because of annual cross-division rivalry games.

“That’s like an 8-4 job where everyone there thinks they should be national champ contenders,” one Group of 5 administrator said.

Added one Group of 5 assistant: “The Tennessee and Auburn people are friggin’ vicious.”

Points: 26
First-place votes: 2

Tennessee hasn’t played for an SEC title since 2007, hasn’t won one since 1998 and has had five head coaches since Phillip Fulmer’s ouster in 2008. Outsized expectations and access to talent were the most frequent reasons for including Tennessee.

“Not much in-state talent compared to a lot of SEC schools, but sky-high expectations and controlling donors,” one agent said.

The state of Tennessee’s talent is improving, in part because of Nashville’s booming population, but it’s not possible to field a high-level SEC program in Tennessee on in-state talent alone.

“Tennessee was great because Clemson wasn’t around, North Carolina wasn’t around. Those great Tennessee teams and players came from that area,” one Group of 5 assistant said.

Fan expectations also make life difficult and coaching stays short, but that problem isn’t just at Tennessee, one agent said.
e football, where Georgia and Alabama rule the annual recruiting rankings, Auburn and Tennessee are the only schools that have to play both each year because of annual cross-division rivalry games.

“That’s like an 8-4 job where everyone there thinks they should be national champ contenders,” one Group of 5 administrator said.

Added one Group of 5 assistant: “The Tennessee and Auburn people are friggin’ vicious.”

Wake Forest
Points: 20
First-place votes: 0

Like Vanderbilt, Wake Forest battles a trifecta of higher academic standards, lower budgets and lower enrollments than its conference counterparts.

“They never have a home-field advantage that can help win you a game,” one Power 5 assistant said.

This year, though, the Demon Deacons are one of 13 undefeated teams remaining and are a contender for their second ACC title since 1970.

“I think Dave Clawson has done an incredible job with what’s an incredibly difficult opportunity. The academic requirements at Wake Forest are high, and you’re maybe the fourth or fifth choice in your own state,” one agent said. “I also think that Wake struggles as an institution from a branding standpoint, in that I feel as though when you’re recruiting to Wake Forest away from the Mid-Atlantic/South, a part of the job is educating recruits on what Wake Forest is.”

Points: 18
First-place votes: 1

Being inextricably tied and compared to a power like Ohio State was the most consistent reason Michigan’s name came up. Beat the Buckeyes or it’s not good enough.

“Ohio State has one rival,” a Power 5 assistant said. “Michigan has three. You have to compare yourself to others.”

Any season that doesn’t include a win against Ohio State, a perennial Playoff contender and consistently the most talented team in the Big Ten, isn’t a success.

After Lloyd Carr, neither Rich Rodriguez nor Brady Hoke lasted more than four seasons.

“Leash is short for any non-alum,” one Power 5 assistant said.

Other notable Power 5 vote-getters: Alabama (17), South Carolina (13) Syracuse (11), Arizona (8 ), Rutgers (7), Oregon State (7), Minnesota (7), Texas Tech (7), Colorado (7)

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don’t do anything about it” ~Albert Einstein
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7 months 1 week ago #27544 by bklynhawk
Thanks for putting this up HE!
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