ACC coaching job rankings: Florida State remains the class of the conference

What's your dream job?

Everybody has one. Some people grow up wanting to be an astronaut while others want to be an athlete. For some reason completely foreign to me, some people even grow up wanting to be a lawyer.

The point is that when it comes to a dream job, different things suit different people. That's what makes our ranking the best jobs in college football so subjective. What one coach might consider a plus could be another coach's negative.

What I'm trying to do in these rankings is view each job from a neutral point of view. I considered many different factors when trying to figure out which job is the "best." The tradition of a school was a factor, as was the amount of success it's had, and how the school is positioned for future success.

Throw in some recruiting -- not only the recruiting base, but the level of difficulty involved in recruiting players to the school -- expectations and the loyalty of the fan base, and I think I came to some pretty reasonable conclusions.

So without further ado, here are the 14 jobs of the ACC ranked from best to worst.

ACC Job Rankings
1
Florida State was actually in danger of falling behind before Jimbo Fisher took over and made football king again in Tallahassee. When compared to the other schools of the ACC, there's really only one other school that comes close to everything Florida State has to offer, whether we're talking history, tradition, fan base or recruiting. FSU's well-positioned in it all.
2
Clemson could be on its way to passing Florida State in the near future. I strongly considered putting it ahead of the Seminoles now. It's a school where football is easily the premier sport, and the school has also opened its pocketbook to help get the program where it wants to be. The biggest reason I kept it at No. 2 is that Florida State doesn't need to recruit the state of South Carolina, but Clemson needs to recruit in Florida.
3
Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, Dennis Erickson and Butch Davis have all shown us what Miami can be when things are going right. Just because they haven't done it in a while doesn't mean the potential isn't there, and much like he had at Georgia, Mark Richt has a sleeping giant in his hands. The negatives are that Miami is a smaller, private school without the spending power of many others within the conference. Still, the ceiling is high.
4
Rome wasn't built in a day, and over the course of 29 years, Frank Beamer built a hell of a football program in Blacksburg. While Virginia Tech not a top-tier job in the ACC, it's the best in the second tier, and there's definitely room for more success. It also has one of the most passionate fan bases in college football.
5
Go back 10 or 15 years and Louisville's ranking here is likely a lot lower -- and not just because it wasn't in the ACC yet. While Louisville doesn't have the kind of long-standing tradition many of its ACC counterparts, the school has definitely placed an emphasis on improving its athletics in recent years, and it's paying off.
6
It's this middle section of the rankings that was extremely difficult to put together because so many of these schools are similar. So if you see your school ranked 10th, just know that the difference between 10th and sixth here is minuscule. The one thing that gave Virginia an edge in my mind was that it's the state school with a fertile recruiting ground. So there's talent to be found, you just need the right staff to find and mold it.
7
North Carolina faces the same problem as many of the schools in this range. You can win there, but there seems to be a ceiling to how much. Plus, no matter how much you win, football is always going to finish second to basketball.
8
See North Carolina, but in upstate New York rather than the southeast. Also, the Carrier Dome may be functional, but it's not exactly a selling point. The good news is that with so many Syracuse grads in the media, if you do well, there won't be a shortage of people willing to tell people about it. See: Northwestern.
9
Pitt isn't a basketball school, and it has a nice football history, but there are other factors working against it. First of all, playing in an NFL stadium rather than on your own campus is always a drawback. Furthermore, it's one thing to be a college team in a major city without pro sports options (i.e. Louisville), but it's another thing entirely when you're in a town that's obsessed with the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates.
10
NC State fans will probably be annoyed that I have them ranked this far below UNC, but again, the margin with these schools is razor thin. I suppose the good news here is that, while a basketball school like UNC, if the football team were to go on a prolonged run of success, the fan base could probably be swayed toward football.
11
Paul Johnson really deserves a ton of credit for what he's been able to do at Georgia Tech because it's not the easiest place in the world at which to win. There's a reason the option has been a good route to success. Problems arise from the face that Tech's not only located in a major city with pro sports options, but it's also in the city that basically serves as the home base of the SEC. It's one thing to compete for attention with Georgia; it's another to compete with nearly every other SEC program as well.
12
A lot of the same things you can say about North Carolina apply here as well, but one major difference is that while UNC is a public school, Duke is a much smaller private school with an even stricter academic requirement. Plus, again, basketball is always going to be the obsession.
13
Kind of like Duke, but without the long history of basketball success. Holding it back further is that the school is located in a portion of the country that isn't exactly a fertile recruiting ground, and within a city that is absolutely obsessed with its pro teams. There's just not a lot of personal connection in the city to Boston College athletics.
14
Jim Grobe winning an ACC title at Wake in 2006 has to be one of the most amazing accomplishments in college football history. I mean, Wake Forest is a wonderful school, but it's still a tiny private school. Higher academic requirements and a smaller enrollment typically don't lead to football success. So while it's a Power Five job, it's not one you're striving for.
CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories