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 its amount of success, 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 AAC ranked from best to worst.
|The AAC was one of the most difficult conferences for me to sort out when it came to ranking jobs, but choosing the No. 1 spot wasn't tough. As we've seen in recent years, if things are going right at Houston, you not only have a chance to compete for conference titles, but people even mention you as a College Football Playoff darkhorse. There's a ton of support for the program at the school and from boosters who are clinging to the hope the school can earn an invite to the Big 12 in the future. You're also located in Houston where there's plenty of high school football talent available to you.|
|The biggest advantage South Florida has over many of its AAC counterparts is that it's located in Florida. Yes, there are plenty of other FBS schools in the state -- including another within the conference -- and everybody recruits it, but being in the state is always an advantage when it comes to recruiting. As we've seen recently with Willie Taggart, succeeding here can catapult you to a major Power Five gig as well.|
|I can say the same things about UCF that I did about USF, and the truth is that UCF is more of a 2B than a 3 here. It's the largest school in the conference, and football is the most important program in the athletic department. If you honestly want to know what the deciding factor was for ranking UCF behind USF, well, it's somewhat silly, but something I would consider if looking for a job. USF is in Tampa, which is on the water. UCF is in Orlando, which is landlocked. Sure, there are lakes in the area, but if I'm living in Florida, I'm choosing the city along the ocean or gulf ahead of the one that isn't. No offense to Disney World!|
|Navy is a difficult job to rank. Based on a lot of the limitations that you would face as the coach here, there's a reasonable argument to be made for ranking Navy as the worst job in the conference. I don't feel that way because, while there are a lot of restrictions here you wouldn't face elsewhere, and it takes a certain kind of coach to be successful here, you can be successful! Paul Johnson won games here, as has Ken Niumatalolo. Yes, there's a ceiling for how much winning you can do, but I'm not sure that ceiling is any lower than any of the other AAC schools remaining on this list. Now, if the AAC ever truly becomes a Power Six school and gets easier access to the College Football Playoff, that would change Navy's ranking. That's not the case right now.|
|East Carolina is an underrated spot, in my opinion. There's plenty of fan support, and Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is a great atmosphere for home games. Furthermore, the school may not be the first choice of a lot of the top talent in the region, but Greenville is in the southeast, and there's plenty of talent to be had there. Maybe I'm overstating how good of a job this is, but I do believe you can advance your career if you're successful here. Just ask Lincoln Riley, and he wasn't even a head coach while in town.|
|If you think Cincinnati should be ranked ahead of ECU, trust me, I believe you have a valid argument. Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly and Butch Jones all won here and used the job as a stepping stone to better jobs elsewhere. The school is in a major city, but one in which there aren't a lot of professional options available, so the Bearcats get plenty of love. You're in a state that has strong high school football, but at the same time, it's also the home to Ohio State and plenty of other FBS programs.|
|Maybe my opinion is influenced by the recent success more than it should be, but just because Memphis football doesn't have a long, glorious history doesn't mean it can't continue doing well in the future. Memphis football is never going to surpass Tennessee within the state, and it won't be bigger than its rival to the south in Mississippi, either, but the opportunity to succeed is here. The Liberty Bowl has seen better days, but there are a lot worse places to live than Memphis. The food and music alone make this a pretty nice job if you can get it.|
|At this point, we've reached the lower tier of AAC jobs. Matt Rhule did excellent work here, and he deserves to be lauded for it. Temple isn't an easy gig. It's a large, public school in a major American city, and while that has its advantages, it has disadvantages as well. One of the biggest being that Temple football is never going to be all that important to the people of Philadelphia. Plus, you have to play in an NFL stadium, and while that can be a terrific thing, it's not nearly as much of a bonus when the stadium is mostly empty. But there is talent in the area, and as Rhule showed, it's possible to win football games here.|
|On the surface, SMU has advantages other AAC teams don't -- the biggest being its location in Texas, surrounded by talented high schoolers capable of playing at the next level. The problem is that when it comes to the pecking order of Texas' FBS schools, there are a lot of other options within the state for those players to choose from, and a small private Methodist school isn't usually going to be at the top of that list.|
|Another one of the AAC's smaller private schools. You almost forget that at one time -- long, long ago -- Tulane was in the SEC. It even won three SEC titles! Also, if you're a coach, living in New Orleans can certainly be considered a plus, but if you're going to be a successful football coach at Tulane, I'm not sure how much free time you'll have available to enjoy it. Plus, no matter what, you're always going to be in LSU's shadow. Getting out of the Superdome and into Yulman Stadium makes the job a bit more appealing as well.|
|I had a difficult time figuring out where to put Tulsa. If I were just basing these rankings on nothing more than recent successes, I'd have to put it a lot higher, but even as good as Tulsa's been, the school still has some significant drawbacks. It's a private school in a state that has both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. It's also has an enrollment of only 4,682, according to Wikipedia. That's small. If you do win here, though, you can probably get a Big 12 job out of it.|
|I'm sorry, UConn, I know the last thing you want right now is to see the football team finishing last somewhere, but it's just hard to make an argument to rank this job any higher. While you might be attractive to conference commissioners because of your television market possibilities, as a job, you just aren't as appealing. The location isn't great, as the closest you are to any other school in the conference is more than a four-hour drive away in Philadelphia. There also isn't a ton of local high school talent in the area, and no matter what, football will never be anything more than the third-most popular sport amongst the fan base, as it will trail both the men's and women's basketball programs.|