Big 12 Conference

Opinion: Big 12 football coaching jobs rank right with Pac-12, behind on the SEC

Opinion: Big 12 football coaching jobs rank right with Pac-12, behind on the SEC Berry TramelbyBerry TramelPublished: Wed, June 17, 2020 3:00 PM Updated: Wed, June 17, 2020 4:28 PM

The hierarchy of college football jobs always is an interesting subject. Is Texas a better job than Michigan? Is North Carolina a better job than West Virginia? Is Auburn a better job than Oregon?

ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg set out to give us some clarity on the issue. He ranked all the Power 5 Conference jobs by tier – five tiers in all.

Here is Rittenberg’s story. He explains the factors and what are the prevailing characteristics of each tier.

OU, as you might expect, is listed as one of nine schools in Tier 1, along with the likes of Alabama and Ohio State.

OSU was listed a Tier 3 job. That’s probably correct. The Cowboys have been as successful for more than a decade than some of the Tier 2 jobs, but coaches in and out of Stillwater often talk about how OSU is not necessarily an easy job.

Some examples of Tier 2: Auburn, Texas A&M, Florida State.

Some examples of Tier 3: Tennessee, OSU, Virginia Tech, Arizona State, Iowa.

In the Big 12, OU and Texas are listed as Tier 1; OSU, TCU and Baylor are listed as Tier 3; Kansas State, Texas Tech and West Virginia are listed as Tier 4; and Iowa State and Kansas State are listed as Tier 5.

Texas is the anti-OSU. The Longhorns punch below their paygrade. The Cowboys punch above their paygrade.

TCU has approached OSU’s success. Baylor has had spectacular highs and incredible lows. So Tier 3 is about right for both.

KSU and West Virginia could be considered for Tier 3. Both have rabid fan bases, unlike many Tier 4 programs. K-State has been more successful than most Tier 4 schools.

The Big 12 program that most likely was undervalued was Iowa State. The Cyclones historically have not won much and are Tier 5-level. But Iowa State has an excellent fan base that is far greater than any other Tier 5 school.

Either way, Rittenberg is not too far off and has an interesting list. And it got me to thinking. Which conference has the best jobs? The SEC, of course, with four Tier 1 schools. But on average, how do the conferences stack up?

So I figured it up. I averaged each of the conferences’ schools. And the Big 12 came out surprisingly well. Here’s how they ranked:

  1. SEC 2.8: The SEC had four Tier 1 schools (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU) and two Tier 2 schools (Auburn, A&M). But half the SEC was a Tier 4 or Tier 5. Rittenberg made South Carolina a Tier 4; I thought the Gamecocks might have been the most under-valued program on the list.

  2. Pac-12 3.25: The Pac-12 has as many Tier 1, 2 or 3 teams (seven) as does the SEC, with two fewer members. Arizona State, Utah, UCLA and Stanford were all Tier 3, while Southern Cal was a Tier 1, and Oregon and Washington were Tier 2.

  3. Big 12 3.3: Move Iowa State to a Tier 4, and the Big 12 jumps ahead of the Pac. Of course, Rittenberg made Arizona a Tier 5, and I thought UofA joined Iowa State in not belonging with the likes of Kansas and Vanderbilt and Boston College.

  4. Big Ten 3.4.: A lot of good jobs in the Big Ten. But lots of bad jobs, too. Rutgers, Illinois and Indiana were Tier 4; Maryland, Minnesota, Northwestern and Purdue were Tier 4.

  5. ACC 3.7: Nine of the 14 jobs in the conference were Tier 4 or Tier 5. Only Clemson (1), Florida State (2), Virginia Tech (3), Miami (3) and Louisville (3) escaped such status.

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Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,… Read more ›

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