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 12 jobs of the Pac-12 ranked from best to worst.
|A rather obvious choice, as USC is one of the premier jobs in the country, let alone the Pac-12. A wonderful location, a ton of high school talent in the area, rich tradition and the desire to be successful. Also, when USC is good, it can be the most popular football team in town, even with two new NFL teams.|
|Nike has done so much for this program. While Oregon isn't exactly a fertile recruiting ground, the program's brand gives it access in California and around the country. The school also has facilities that are some of the most impressive in the country. It even boasts a loyal fan base and the best stadium experience in the conference.|
|Some might put UCLA higher here, but I prefer Washington . Husky Stadium is one of the best atmospheres in the game, and even if it's not on par with other places like California, Texas and Florida , there is still real talent within the state. Also, there just aren't many campus locations as lovely to look at as Washington.|
|The main reason I have UCLA behind Washington here is that, while it enjoys a lot of the same advantages as USC, it never feels like there's as much support within the university for the program. Also, no matter what, you have to think basketball will always be the school's genuine passion. All that said, with the right hires and motivation, you can win a lot of games at UCLA.|
|While it's been one of the more successful programs in the conference lately, it's still below the top tier when it comes to best jobs. Palo Alto is great, though it's not cheap to live there, and while the facilities are strong, the fan support can be rather lackluster. You wouldn't see as many empty seats in other stadiums if their teams were having the same amount of success.|
|I gave some consideration to putting Arizona State over Stanford . There's quality talent within the state, and there's access to Southern California recruits. The biggest reason I kept it below Stanford is that Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw have shown you can have consistent success there. We're still waiting on somebody to do the same at Arizona State.|
|This was a hard one to figure out. I probably could have ranked Arizona a few spots lower, and I almost did. There hasn't been a great tradition of football success here, and I'd consider Arizona to be a basketball school. That said, the local recruiting as well as the access to SoCal led me to give Arizona an edge over the schools just behind it in these rankings.|
|A few years ago, Colorado would have been lower, but there have been upgrades to the facilities on campus. There's been increased support from the administration, and it seems as though there's motivation to help the Buffs become nationally relevant again. As far as fan support, it's fine, so long as you're winning games.|
|I was pretty close to putting Utah ahead of Colorado and possibly Arizona, too. There's a lot to like about this job. While it's not a recruiting hotbed, there's better talent within the state than most people realize. The facilities are excellent as well. Unfortunately for Utah, it came down to where I'd rather live, and I'd prefer Boulder over Salt Lake City. I'd take both over Tucson, though.|
|There was a very clear bottom tier in the conference to me, and congrats to Oregon State for being at the top of it. It's not just that Oregon State has to live in Oregon's shadow, but it feels like everything it has to offer pale in comparison as well. Also, while Mike Riley had success, it's not easy to win here.|
|Consider this more of a 10b to Oregon State's 10a. Washington State has to deal with a lot of the same things as Oregon State. As far as recruiting, it's not easy to convince recruits to come to Pullman, and that was another factor in keeping it behind Oregon State. Everything else being equal, I'd rather live in Corvallis than Pullman. Some would go the other way.|
|This decision may come as a surprise to a lot of people because California has a lot to offer as a school. It's one of the best public universities in the country. That only means so much, though, because there's a lot here to be concerned about right now. First of all, football's never going to be too important at Cal. Secondly -- this is probably the biggest concern -- the athletic department is just a mess right now. The department is in debt largely due to spending a bunch of money on a stadium overhaul that hasn't gone all that well . Frankly, I'd avoid this job right now.|