Statistically Speaking: Re-Ranking the Top Coaching Jobs in College Football

Zachary BallAnalyst IJanuary 3, 2011

Statistically Speaking: Re-Ranking the Top Coaching Jobs in College Football

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    Which is the best head coaching job in college football?

    Seems like a tough question, eh? Well upon further review, it's actually quite tougher than it seems.

    There are so many things to consider, as my recent top-25 ranking (and the comments it elicited) prove, as well as the wise musings of another article that has recently gone nuclear. So, let's reshape the rankings a little bit using the same teams plus five newbies but based on a few new criteria that are more, shall we say, factual:

    Each of the following criteria will be given a certain weight, in a percentage. They are as follows:

    Salary and growth in conjunction with winning

    • 25 percent of total ranking
    • points awarded from 25 (Alabama) to 2.6 (Navy)
    • quite possibly the biggest determinant in taking a position these days
    • salary statistics are taken from the average of 2009-10 USA Today coaches salary databases

    Quality of facilities 

    • 20 percent of total ranking
    • points awarded from 20 (Oregon—thanks Nike!) to 2.6 (Navy—thanks Obama!)
    • includes current as well as potential future contributions by boosters and benefactors
    • the ONLY subjective ranking in the entire article

    —Level of performance in terms of wins and losses

    • 15 percent of total ranking
    • points awarded from 15 (Boise State) to 1 (Texas A&M)
    • devised from the top winning percentages over the past decade
    • helps determine not only how successful each program has been but also how stable a coaching environment each school has

    —Level of performance in recruiting

    • 15 percent of total ranking
    • points awarded from 15 (USC) to 0.5 (Navy...again)
    • recruiting rankings from the past decade (2002-2011)
    • shows consistency of each program and its appeal to the nation's top athletes 
    • recruiting rankings are evaluated and ranked by averaging the past 10 seasons of recruiting according to Scout.com.

    Money and marketability

    • 15 percent of total ranking
    • points awarded from 15 (Texas) to 0.5 (Navy)
    • because, come on, this matters, and is the reason people take the top job at Michigan or Notre Dame
    • measured by the royalties from team merchandise and apparel info taken from Collegiate Licensing Company's 2010-11 rankings, as well as a compilation of the 2007 through 2010 rankings on each program's total revenue.

    Best places to live

    • 10 percent of total ranking
    • points awarded from 10 (Stanford) to 0 (Michigan State, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, etc)
    • courtesy of Men's Health 2010 rankings 
    • a definite factor in how likely each candidate, and his family, is to consider one position over another

Additional Criteria

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    In addition, special attention will be paid to and additional points awarded for a few other criteria. They are as follows:

    Conference prestige on a year-to-year basis

    • taken from the average of the Sagarin ratings from 2001-2010 that determine the strength of each conference against the others
    • includes each of the BCS conferences (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Pac-10, Big East), as well as the WAC, MWC and the I-A Independents.
    • because obviously a job in the SEC has more prestige and is more appealing than the MWC
    • points scale from 4 points (SEC) to 0 points (WAC)

    Sports town ranking 

    • provided by Sporting News' 2010 Best Sports Cities rankings
    • because coaching in a city with a loyal, rabid fanbase like Madision, WI, is a lot more fun than coaching in Boise, ID, where as readers point out, they can't even fill their 35,000-seat stadium on a regular basis
    • points awarded from 3 points (USC) to 0 points (Navy)

    —Job stability

    • evaluated by the number of head coaches at each program over the past 50 years
    • points awarded from 6 (most stable/fewest coaching changes) to 0.2 (least stable/most coaching changes)

    Historical significance

    • measured by awarding each team points based on the number of all-time wins, national championships, and all-time bowl performance
    • points awarded from 3 to 0.1 for all-time wins
    • points awarded from 3 to 0.1 for national championships, according to the College Football Data Warehouse (CFBDW) statistics
    • points awarded from 3 to 0.1 for all-time bowl victories

    Recent conference and national championship success

    • one point will be added to each team's total for each national title won in the past five seasons
    • half a point will be added to each team's total for each conference title won in the past five seasons

    Also factored in, but not awarded points for, will be these two final criteria:

    Potential for success ON the field over the next few seasons (this includes players who are returning as well as taking a look at future schedules to determine what type of success each school looks to have on the field in the not-too distant future)

    —And finally, potential for growth OFF the field over the next decade (hard to measure, but important, especially for programs like Boise State, TCU and Utah, who look to join bigger conferences, as well as upgrade their facilities to a more AQ-school-like standard)

    It looks to be a fun ride, and I'm sure it will elicit even more comments and dissension.

    And for all those Auburners and Michiganders out there, who were horrified at the thought that I might not include either school in this set of rankings, I added them in, just to see how they would stack up. Also included in order to make the rankings a top-30 are South Carolina, West Virginia and Michigan State.

    Let the fun begin!

30) United States Naval Academy

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 2.6

    You would think with a defense budget nearing $540 billion, the Naval Academy would be able to pay their coaches a wee bit more than the $700,000 which their head coach has averaged over the past two seasons. But, then again, it isn't really all about the football when it comes to Navy.

    Wins-Losses: 4.5

    Thanks to their 2-10 2002 campaign, Navy ranks in the bottom third of winning percentage since 2002. Still, they have managed to win at least eight games every season since that 10-loss debacle.

    Recruiting: 0.5

    Obviously, Navy is going to be at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to recruiting. They're busy training soldiers for war, not for the 40-yard dash.

    Money and Marketability: 0.5

    Even though Navy doesn't have a huge presence in marketing, they still turn a profit thanks to their outstanding football program.

    Best Places to Live: 2.0

    Annapolis is quite a pretty place, but high crime and lack of, really, anything to do, bring down its Men's Health rankings.

    Facilities: 2.6

    While the armed forces are given the newest technology and state-of-the-art supplies to fight wars across the world, their football team could probably use some new facilities. After all, they rank as the worst of any team on this list.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 0.8

    The head coaching position at the Naval Academy has been the third-least stable position in the country over the past 50 years.

    Wins All-Time: 1.1

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 0.3

    Navy's seven bowl victories rank them third-to-last, tied with Boise State.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.0

    Navy has yet to win any form of national championship as recognized by the CFBDW.

    Conference Prestige: 0.5

    The D-I Independents have placed as the second-to-last "conference" when it comes to performance over the past decade.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None


    Superlatives

    Because Navy is really the only local sports experience to offer Annapolis, it isn't any wonder that it ranks at the bottom of Sporting News' 2010 Best Sports City rankings (+0.1 point).

    On the field, Navy should continue to be a dominant force, running the option as well as any team in the country. Expect eight to nine victories next season, as well as another top-five rushing attack.

    Off the field, Navy continues to flounder when it comes to recruiting, but given the fact that the program is more designed to give Naval officers an outlet, and the fact that they still continue to win at an impressive rate, it really doesn't mean too much.

     

    Total Points: 15.6

29) Michigan State University

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 9.0

    Mark Dantonio's 2009-10 salary average of $1.8 million ranks him tied for 21st among teams on this list.

    Wins-Losses: 1.5

    Despite their success in 2010, Michigan State ranks as the third-worst team in terms of winning percentage since 2002, at .532.

    Recruiting: 2.0

    In recruiting, MSU hasn't fared much better. They have managed to steal a few key players away from in-state rival Michigan, but since 2004, when their class ranked 13th, they have yet to pull in a top-25 class.

    Money/Marketability: 5.0

    MSU ranks in the bottom third of teams on this list in regards to revenue generated by the football program, which is no surprise since the school has basketball and hockey teams that perform better and get more attention.

    Best Places to Live: 0.0

    I can't testify to its beauty, but according to Men's Health, it is hard to do worse than living in East Lansing.

    Facilities: 4.4

    Michigan State's facilities are nothing special and would rank near the bottom of a rankings list if one existed. Instead, they'll just have to settle for my disappointing grade.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 2.0

    MSU has had 10 coaches over the past 50 years, tying their program for 21st on this list.

    Wins All-Time: 1.0

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 0.2

    Like Navy, Michigan State has seven bowl victories in their history, ranking them near the bottom of the pile.

    National Championships All-Time: 1.8

    Surprisingly, Michigan State lays claim to four national titles since 1869, according to CFBDW.

    Conference Prestige: 2.0

    The Big Ten ranks as the fifth most impressive conference since 2001.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    Big Ten (2010) +0.5 points


    Superlatives

    East Lansing might not be the best city to live, but it's a pretty good one if you're a big-time sports fan. You not only have MSU football but one of the most successful college basketball programs of the past 20 years and a top-notch college hockey team. The city checked in at 64th on SN's top sports city list, earning them 1.3 points.

    On the field, MSU should continue to be strong as long as Dantonio sticks around. After this season, in which the Spartans shared a piece of the Big Ten title and performed incredibly well, the sky is the limit.

    Off the field, they're looking at a possible top-25 recruiting class, the first time they could lay claim to that honor since 2004.

     

    Total Points: 30.7

28) Boise State University

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 5.8

    Chris Petersen gets decent pay, especially for a non-AQ school's coach, but still pales in comparison to some of the top coaches, most of whom have won many fewer games. Still, he's received pay raises at a decent rate over his six years with the program, and assuming he can get Boise to another BCS game in 2011-12, he should be in line for another. He certainly has the resume to be the top-paid non-BCS conference coach.

    Wins-Losses: 15.0

    When it comes to winning over the past decade, no team has done it better and at a higher rate than the Broncos. They are the only program in the country to rack up 100 wins in the past 10 years. If you're an up-and-coming young coach looking to win at least 85 percent of your games, Boise State is the place for you.

    Recruiting: 1.0

    It's no secret that Boise State can't hang with the big boys (USC, UF, LSU, etc) when it comes to recruiting the top talent in the country. And while it hasn't necessarily hampered their play on the field, next year's step up to the Mountain West Conference should be a good test for how well their players can compete with better talent than they faced on a week-by-week basis in the WAC.

    Money/Marketability: 1.0

    The Broncos' annual revenue pales in comparison to Texas and Ohio State, and they come nowhere close to competing in merchandise sales, but hey, at least they're the top-selling team in Idaho.

    Best Places to Live: 9.2

    Boise has consistently ranked among the top places to live, to raise a family and to get a decent paying job. This year was no exception. The simple fact that Coach Pete hasn't left the cozy confines of the city of trees for any number of positions over the past three seasons should tell you enough.

    Facilities: 3.2

    The Broncos have been upgrading their facilities at a rate faster than any other program, but they lack the fund that say, an Alabama has to make a true impact in a year or two. It's going to take some time, but they're on the right track.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 2.4

    The Broncos have had nine head coaches since 1960, ranking them tied for 19th.

    Wins All-Time: 0.1

    Bowl Wins All-Time: 0.4

    The Broncos have already won seven bowl games in their limited time as a Division I-A program, and no team on this list has as stellar a winning percentage. Still, they rank tied for second-to-last, ahead of only South Carolina.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.0

    Conference Prestige: 0.0

    The WAC is by far the most underperforming conference in college football, earning the Broncos zero points.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    WAC (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010) +2 points


    Superlatives

    Despite having only the Boise State football program to keep it interesting, Boise ranks as the 59th best sports city (+1.6 points) in the U.S. It also houses a minor league baseball affiliate and an Arena football team.

    On the field, the Broncos will be poised for another run at the BCS in 2011. With most of their offense returning, they should look forward to an easy 10- or 11-win season.

    Off the field, the Broncos have made waves with their transition to the MWC, where at least for one year, the level of play will get slightly more difficult. They're also beginning to make great strides in recruiting.

     

    Total Points: 41.7

27) West Virginia University

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 3.4

    For all the talk of head coach Bill Stewart not being the kind of coach who can lead his team to a national title, the school certainly pays him like they agree. WVU brought the salary way down for Stewart, who gets paid a measly $800,000, in my opinion not nearly the kind of monetary compensation for the two successful seasons he's led the Mountaineers to. With Stewart stepping down in 2012, the new man in charge is going to be former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, who agreed to a six-year deal that will pay him more than $500k next season and about $2 million per year when he takes over for Stewart in 2012. 

    Wins-Losses: 11.5

    Despite playing in a weaker conference (and perhaps thanks to it) and getting less attention, West Virginia has quietly chalked up an 85-29 record since 2002, which ranks them as the eighth-winningest team since then. As one loyal reader so passionately pointed out, WVU has won at least eight games every year since 2002.

    Recruiting: 3.0

    As relatively successful as WVU has been in luring some pretty good recruits to Morgantown, they still rank near the bottom of teams on this list. Their high-water moment came in 2007, when they put together the 18th-ranked class in the nation.

    Money/Marketability: 3.0

    Surprisingly, West Virginia ranks dead smack in the middle of the school rankings when it comes to money from merchandise and apparel and total revenue. I say surprisingly, because I've only ever met one WVU alum in my travels and seen just about as many WVU shirts and hats.

    Best Places to Live: 0.0

    As you can guess, despite its gorgeous surroundings, not too many people, including those at Men's Health, think of Morgantown as a top place to live, and while the city has garnered some love in the past from various publications, they find no love and no points in 2010.

    Facilities: 9.8

    West Virginia's recent additions to their football facilities, including the expansion of the Milan-Puskar Center, have boosted WVU's credibility among serious football programs. The building, which is connected to the stadium, houses video rooms, conference rooms, the football offices and an academic performance center. The weight room isn't flashy, but it's a solid addition for one of the most consistent programs in college football. The Mountaineers also have an indoor practice facility, which is key in today's facilities war.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 4.4

    WVU has had seven coaches since 1960, not counting Holgorsen, ranking them tied for ninth of teams on this list.

    Wins All-Time: 1.7

    Bowl Wins All-Time: 1.2

    WVU has 13 bowl victories all-time and missed out on a chance for No. 14 with a sloppy performance against NC State.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.0

    Conference Prestige: 1.5

    The Big East has ranked as the sixth best conference since 2001.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    Big East (2007, 2010) +1 point

     

    Superlatives

    West Virginia ranks pretty high on Sporting News' list of top sports towns, earning them an additional 1.9 points. Residents of Morgantown are deadly serious about their Mountaineers and their John Denver.

    On the field, WVU has a promising future. With new head coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen on board, look for the Mountaineers to tinker with their offensive play-calling, utilizing more passing than ever, which should also help the Mountaineers off the field with recruiting. Their biggest threat to continued Big East dominance will be the addition of TCU to the conference in 2012.

    In terms of recruiting, the Mountaineers have always been solid. Look for them to experience an up-tick in recruiting with the new offensive game plan of Holgorsen and the departure of Bill Stewart.

     

    Total Points: 42.4

26) University of Miami

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 5.8

    The U is one program that likes to keep its contract info confidential. Rumor had it, though, that Randy Shannon made somewhere in the neighborhood of $1-1.5 million. We'll split the difference.

    Wins-Losses: 7.5

    The Canes trailed off near the end of the 2002-2010 period, winning more than eight games only once since 2004. They rank 16th in winning percentage over the past 10 seasons.

    Recruiting: 8.5

    Despite the fall-off in victories, the Canes are still hitting the recruiting trail pretty hard. They rank 14th over the past decade.

    Money/Marketability 2.0

    The U is a private institution, and as such, doesn't make too much money. They're also hampered by some pretty shoddy facilities, a crappy stadium and a wishy-washy fanbase.

    Best Places to Live: 0.8

    Miami can be a tough place to live, but Men's Health views the city more favorably than most publications, placing it 94th on their list, which is good for 24th on this list. I'm sure they jumped up a few rungs since LeBron has hit South Beach.

    Facilities: 9.2

    The Canes' facilities rank near the middle of the pack of teams on this list. Whereas it's good enough to be utilized for the Canes' famous pro-day activities, it isn't the most flashy and isn't the most state-of-the-art.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 0.2

    If you're looking for the watershed program, look to Miami to find the least-stable program over the past 50 years. During that time, the Canes have had 13 coaches, by far the worst of these 30 programs.

    Wins All-Time: 0.6

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 1.7

    The Canes have won 18 bowl games in their history, one fewer than in-state rival Florida and two fewer than FSU.

    National Championships All-Time: 2.2

    The Canes have won an impressive five titles since 1869, all of those after 1960.

    Conference Prestige: 3.0

    The ACC, which Miami was a member of for most of the past decade, ranks third among conferences since 2001.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None


    Superlatives

    Miami has become quite the hotbed for sporting goodness. Not even just LeBron, but also the positive direction the Dolphins were headed in before the 2010 season, as well as the buzz surrounding the Miami program preseason. The Sporting News took notice, ranking Miami as the 11th best sports city in America, earning the Canes 2.7 extra points.

    On the field, it should be quite an interesting ride for the Canes. Randy Shannon and his hard-nosed discipline is gone and in his place is former Temple coach Al Golden. Golden worked wonders at Temple but even he might not be good enough to return the U to its former luster.

    After several top-15 runs in recruiting in the early 2000s, the bottom has really fallen out at Miami. Going into next season, they're currently looking at the 83rd-ranked recruiting class. Granted, there is still plenty of time to fix that, but with the coaching change, they're probably looking at a number somewhere in the 25-40 range.

     

    Total Points: 44.2

25) Texas Christian University

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 9.0

    Surprisingly, Gary Patterson has averaged over the past two seasons the same salary as the positions at Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Michigan State offer. And with TCU making their second consecutive BCS bowl and notching their first BCS victory, he's due for a pretty hefty raise.

    Wins-Losses: 13.0

    TCU is just emerging over the past two seasons as an annual BCS threat, but over the past decade they've posted the fifth-best winning percentage of any team on this list. Their cause is certainly aided by back-to-back undefeated regular seasons.

    Recruiting: 1.5

    TCU doesn't recruit with the big boys either, but they still find a way to get it done on the field better than teams with classes ranked much higher. For 2011, however, they are currently looking at a top-30 class.

    Money/Marketability: 1.5

    TCU ranks only ahead of Boise State and Navy when it comes to making money. The football program took in an estimated $20 million in revenue this past season but barely managed to break even in terms of profit.

    Best Places to Live: 7.6

    Fort Worth is splendid. Definitely one of the nicest, cleanest and friendliest cities in America. Men's Health clearly agrees, as they ranked Fort Worth the 33rd nicest city to live in America. That was good enough to rank them seventh among teams on this list.

    Facilities: 5.6

    It's no secret that TCU's facilities could use a definite facelift, which is excellent because the school has pledged at least $7.5 million to help upgrade and renovate the athletic facilities, which rank 25th on this list.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 2.0

    As consistent as TCU has been the past few seasons, it's hard to believe they've blown through 10 coaches in the past 50 years. That ties them with five other schools for 21st.

    Wins All-Time: 0.5

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 0.8

    Despite their lengthy and storied history, TCU only has 12 bowl wins under its belt, placing them ahead of only seven other teams. They did just record possibly the biggest in the program's history with a 21-19 victory over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.2

    TCU lays claim to one national title according to CFBDW.

    Conference Prestige: 1.0

    The MWC ranks as the seventh-toughest conference over the past 10 seasons.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    MWC (2009, 2010) +1 point


    Superlatives

    Interestingly enough, the Dallas-Fort Worth area ranks second behind only Los Angeles on SN's Best Sports Cities list. That earns TCU an additional 2.9 points. I'm sure they would like to thank America's biggest cash-cows—the Dallas Cowboys and Mark Cuban's Mavs.

    On the field, TCU should be good-to-go. They'll lose some important impact players next season, but with Patterson at the helm, their defense should again be top-notch, and they'll find enough on offense to compete for another MWC crown. Their biggest obstacle will be first-year/last-year conference opponent Boise State.

    Off the field, TCU has made huge strides in recruiting. They actually posted the nation's 114th class back in 2008 but since then have averaged the nation's 49th-ranked class, including the projective rankings for 2011, which sees the Horned Frogs currently ranked 31st.

     

    Total Points: 46.6

24) University of South Carolina

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 12.2

    Steve Spurrier has brought in, on average, precisely $2 million since 2009 and has made the other USC the 18th-highest spender in college football. With Carolina breaking new ground this season (making their first SEC Championship Game), Spurrier should probably be in line for a modest raise.

    Wins-Losses: 2.0

    Since Spurrier came to Columbia, the Gamecocks have won at a more consistent rate, but they're still one of the worst on this list when it comes to winning percentage. This year's team certainly helped buck that trend, but on the whole, they haven't blown anyone away.

    Recruiting: 7.5

    Since Spurrier took over, and especially on an every-other-year basis (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009), the Gamecocks have made huge strides in recruiting, and you can see the results on the field, especially this season. For the 2011 season, USC is looking at another top-15 class.

    Money/Marketability: 6.0

    South Carolina is a tough place to make a huge chunk of change, but the Gamecocks rely on a devoted fanbase. They ranked 17th in total sales for merchandise this past season and generally rank around 20th in terms of total revenue.

    Best Places to Live: 6.4

    South Carolina is a pretty nice place to live, according to Men's Health, ranking 10th of teams on this list and 39th overall.

    Facilities: 7.4

    Facilities are another area that Spurrier has had a huge impact on at Carolina. The Gamecocks facilities rank 22nd among teams on this list.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 2.0

    South Carolina, along with five other programs, has burned through 10 coaches since 1960, but with Spurrier around, they've finally found some decent stability.

    Wins All-Time: 0.4

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 0.1

    The Gamecocks have the fewest bowl victories (four) of any team on this list, even fewer than Division I relative newbie Boise State (seven).

    National Championships All-Time: 0.0

    Obviously, the Gamecocks have had no claim to a national championship.

    Conference Prestige: 4.0

    Thanks to playing in the SEC, the Gamecocks can add four points to their total.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None

     

    Superlatives

    Columbia ranks only above Baton Rouge (LSU) and Annapolis (Navy) when it come to ranking them as a sports town. Their college football fans are rabid, but that doesn't make up for a lack of general interest when it comes to major sports in the entire state. Still, they earn 0.3 points.

     

    Total Points: 48.3

23) University of Wisconsin

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 7.4

    Over the past few seasons, Bret Bielema has turned Wisconsin into an annual contender for the Big Ten crown. Despite the Badgers' loss to TCU in the Rose Bowl, Bielema has put together a 49-16 record since taking over in 2006, and the Badgers have paid him handsomely for his efforts, to the tune of almost $1.7 million on average over the past two seasons. And whereas that seems like a respectable number, that's the seventh-lowest average of coaching positions on this list.

    Wins-Losses: 9.0

    What the coaching position lacks in money, it more than makes up for in victories. Wisconsin has 83 wins since 2002 and a winning percentage of .716, good for 13th on this list.

    Recruiting: 3.5

    Wisconsin has never been a big-time recruiting program, but over the past few seasons, the Badgers have seen their recruiting rank climb into the low 30s, indicating Bielema and his staff must be doing something right.

    Money/Marketability: 10.0

    Wisconsin made close to $100 million in revenue back in 2007-08, and thanks to their large fanbase and their massive influence on the local economy, they continually rank among the top 20 programs when it comes to profit and licensing revenue.

    Best Places to Live: 9.6

    When it comes to living the high-life, few places can rank higher than Madison. From the lovely people to the rabid attraction to a certain football team named after a goofy-tailed mammal, the city seems to have it all.

    Facilities: 3.8

    The Badgers' athletic facilities are so-so. They do get some credit for having an indoor practice facility, but since they often face the threat of massive snowstorms (see 2010), it makes having such a place a necessity. The fact that the Badgers just added a team dining room only five years ago tells you all you need to know about how much further this serious football program could take themselves.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 3.2

    Wisconsin has seen eight coaches since 1960 but only two (Bielema and Barry Alvarez) since 1990.

    Wins All-Time: 0.9

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 0.9

    Wisconsin has 11 bowl victories all-time, after missing out on No. 12 against TCU in the Rose Bowl.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.0

    The Badgers have yet to lay any claim to any form of a national title in football.

    Conference Prestige: 2.0

    The Badgers earn two additional points for playing in the Big Ten.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    Big Ten (2010) +0.5 points


    Superlatives

    Wisconsin ranks in the middle of the Top 100 of SN's rankings, but that's good enough to take home another 2.0 points, as they rank as the No. 11 city on this list.

    On the field, the Badgers return a decent amount of talent from a team that won 11 games and made a Rose Bowl appearance after sharing a piece of the Big Ten title. Their 2011 recruiting class looks strong.

    Off the field, the team has a top-30 recruiting class to look forward to, as well as the continued support of AD Barry Alvarez, who certainly realizes the importance of a football program at a school like Wisconsin.

     

    Total Points: 52.8

22) Florida State University

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 13.8

    Jimbo Fisher got his start at FSU making a pretty penny ($1.8 million), but that number is just a fraction of what Bobby Bowden took home on a yearly basis. Fisher's 2010 salary ranks him 16th among his coaching peers on this list. With the progress he made in year one (10 wins, ACC Championship Game berth, bowl win), he could be on his way to a raise right quick.

    Wins-Losses: 6.0

    Gone are the days of the Seminoles making a permanent residence in the top three. It had been a decade since the Noles had won 10 games in a season before this year's effort. They have 76 wins since 2002, just fewer than eight per season.

    Recruiting: 11.5

    As underperforming as the Noles have been on the field, it hasn't really hurt their recruiting that much. Yeah, they've missed out on more than a couple of 4- and 5-star players to rival Florida and other SEC schools, but they've remained a consistent presence in the top 20 throughout the decade. This season, they're working on the nation's third-ranked class for 2011.

    Money/Marketability: 2.5

    FSU hasn't only suffered ill-effects on the field, but off of it as well. They have struggled to capitalize on the market that made them one of the top revenue producers of the 1990s. They rank near the bottom of this pack in terms of marketability and merchandise sales, and they haven't really done much to change it in the past few years.

    Best Places to Live: 3.2

    Can you think of many people who want to live in Tallahassee? Clearly most publications, including Men's Health, agree. The Noles run neck-and-neck with their hated rivals, the Gators, who take up residence in just-as-dull Gainesville.

    Facilities: 5.0

    You would think that for all the success that the Noles had on the field in the 1990s and early 2000s that they would have some of the nicest football facilities in the country. Unfortunately, you would be dead wrong. The Noles' outdoor practice fields look old and shoddy, and they lack an indoor practice facility.The football offices are still attached to Doak Campbell Stadium and their weight room lacks any real pizazz.

    Fear not, though, Noles fans! Jimbo Fisher is on it and has promised to improve the facilities in an effort to turn FSU back into a national powerhouse in all aspects.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 5.6

    Nothing says job stability like Florida State. They've only known two coaches in the past 30-plus years and it looks like Jimbo wants to build FSU into an empire. He won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

    Wins All-Time: 0.2

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 2.0

    With their most recent victory over Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks, FSU now claims 21 bowl victories.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.6

    The Noles lay claim to two national titles, both of which came under Bobby Bowden's reign, with the last one occurring in 1999.

    Conference Prestige: 3.0

    The Noles' position garners an additional three points for their play in the ACC.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None


    Superlatives

    Tallahassee checks in near the bottom of Sporting News' Top Sports Cities list, ranking ahead of only Annapolis (Navy), Columbia (South Carolina) and Baton Rouge (LSU). Still, they cracked the Top 100, earning them 0.4 points.

    On the field, the Noles appear to be back on track and headed in the right direction. They lose Christian Ponder to graduation but should be strong with E.J. Manuel at the helm. They also feature tons of playmakers on offense and defense.

    Off the field, the Noles are finally reclaiming some recruiting gusto. They've managed to steal a few top recruits away from Florida, especially since the coaching change, and they appear headed for at least a top-five class.

     

    Total Points: 53.8

21) Stanford University

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 16.2

    Like Miami, Stanford is very hush-hush about what they pay their football staff. They were one of three programs to refuse to give information to USA Today's annual study. Therefore, I'm taking the average of the top program (Alabama) and the bottom (Navy) to find a suitable estimate for Jim Harbaugh.

    Wins-Losses: 0.5

    Stanford, at 44-61, has the worst winning percentage of any team on this list. Jim Harbaugh has turned around the direction of the Cardinal program, but even with 19 wins in two seasons, the position still rakes in very little "pointage."

    Recruiting: 4.5

    Few teams have made the strides over the past few seasons in recruiting that the Cardinal have. Just ask Andrew Luck, whom Harbaugh personally recruited to the school. Luck's development will surely aid Harbaugh's cause if he sticks around long enough to reap the benefits of bringing in a future No. 1 pick.

    Money/Marketability: 4.5

    Stanford makes some serious coin off their football program, but thanks to their relatively poor play on the gridiron, and their great success in less popular sports (volleyball, women's basketball, etc), they continue to struggle in merchandise sales.

    Best Places to Live: 10.0

    When it comes to living high, Men's Health can find no better place than Palo Alto, making Stanford first in something for the first time in a very long time.

    Facilities: 12.2

    Stanford's football facilities have improved greatly over the past decade and have been a prime concern of Harbaugh's, who knows first-hand what it takes to succeed both on and off the field. Their Arrillaga Center has state-of-the-art equipment, and Stanford Stadium provides one of the best on-field experiences of any college football stadium.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 0.4

    Stanford has blown through more coaches (and with good reason) than any other program since 1960, save for Miami. And with Harbaugh entertaining numerous prospects after this season, they could be on to No. 13 in no time.

    Wins All-Time: 1.3

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 0.7

    For all their storied history, Stanford has only nine bowl victories. They would love to make it 10 against Virginia Tech.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.2

    The Cardinal claim one national title, a share of the 1926 crown.

    Conference Prestige: 3.5

    The Cardinal benefit from playing in the No. 2 conference.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None

     

    Superlatives

    Palo Alto's close proximity to San Jose and San Francisco make it quite the sports haven, and the city ranks 19th overall on the Sporting News 2010 list, good for fifth among cities on this list, and earning them 2.6 points.

    If Harbaugh stays at Stanford and a contract that includes a hefty raise has been offered to him, Stanford should continue to work its way toward the top of the Pac-10. This season was just a glimpse of what they could do now that they have the players and potential for more top-level recruits.

    Off the field, Stanford continues to make waves in recruiting, as well as breaking new ground in terms of creating a winning attitude among their fanbase.

     

    Total Points: 56.6

20) Virginia Tech University

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 15.4

    With four conference titles in the past seven years, it's almost embarrassing that Frank Beamer's annual salary doesn't reach higher than $2.1 million. It is tops in the ACC, for now, but ranks behind five SEC schools and places him 13th overall, behind several schools that have fewer wins in the past decade than the Hokies have.

    Wins-Losses: 11.0

    The Hokies have precisely 91 victories since 2002 and are the only team to have at least 10 wins every season since 2004.

    Recruiting: 5.0

    The Hokies have never been amazing at recruiting, in fact their top class of the past 10 years placed 18th, but Beamer's boys continue to put up wins in massive amounts.

    Money/Marketability: 3.5

    Tech isn't really a money-magnet either. That their program is so successful is fantastic, but it has, as of yet, to translate into any real appeal nationwide.

    Best Places to Live: 0.0

    Blacksburg doesn't really hold a special place in the hearts of the editors at Men's Health, as the city was nowhere to be found in their annual rankings.

    Facilities: 8.6

    Lane Stadium is easily one of the more electric atmospheres in college football, but it isn't just that that makes Tech such a nice place to play. The Merryman Center features a stunning weight room and excellent rehabilitation complex. The coaches' offices are also something to marvel at.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 5.0

    Interestingly enough, Virginia Tech has the sixth-most stable coaching history in college football over the past 50 years. Give credit to current coach Beamer, who has been in charge since 1987.

    Wins All-Time: 1.6

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 0.5

    Despite their recent successes, Tech only has nine bowl wins all-time.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.0

    They missed out on their one chance for a national title back in 1999 and are still without one.

    Conference Prestige: 3.0

    The Hokies earn three points for playing in the third-best conference since 2001.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    ACC (2007, 2008, 2010) +1.5 points


    Superlatives

    Mostly thanks to the Tech football program, Blacksburg ranks as the 56th-best sports city in the 2010 rankings, and once you attend a home game there, you'll immediately know why. Ranking 13th of these teams earns the Hokies 1.8 points.

    On the field, Beamer will lose some impressive talent in 2011. But losing players hasn't stopped him from winning at least 10 games for close to a decade now, so it shouldn't have too much of an impact.

    Off the field, Tech is working on bringing in their best class since 2007 and also plans more work on their facilities.

     

    Total Points: 56.9

19) Oklahoma State University

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 9.8

    Mike Gundy's salary is very middle-of-the-road, but with this past season's success (11 wins and a bowl victory), the head coach is looking at a well-deserved raise. His $1.85 million average since 2009 ranks him 20th.

    Wins-Losses: 4.0

    Despite the Cowboys' recent string of success, they've mostly been an underachieving program in the sense that they usually begin the season on a tear and then consistently struggle once conference play starts up. They have the eighth-worst winning percentage since 2002.

    Recruiting: 4.0

    In recruiting, the Pokes also rank eighth worst with their banner class being 2006's 16th-ranked class. They are currently in the midst of creating a new high (16th), but they could drop out of the top 20 before signing day.

    Money/Marketability: 11.0

    Thanks to having one of the nation's most generous benefactors, Oklahoma State has created quite the cash-cow football program. They don't rank too high in merchandise sales but still bring in huge amounts of revenue.

    Best Places to Live: 2.4

    Oklahoma is an excellent place to live, but its less-than-flashy style didn't go over well at Men's Health, and the city ranked 74th on their top 100.

    Facilities: 18.8

    Thanks to numerous generous donations from OSU booster T. Boone Pickens, Oklahoma State has put together one of the finest football facilities known to man. State-of-the-art everything. All the best technology and the finest equipment for the Cowboys.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 2.0

    The Cowboys have had 10 coaches since 1960, placing them tied for 21st with TCU, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Michigan State.

    Wins All-Time: 0.3

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 1.3

    Oklahoma State has an impressive 14 bowl victories in their history, one fewer than Notre Dame, and more than Wisconsin, Arkansas, A&M, Stanford or Oregon.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.0

    Despite their numerous bowl appearances, none of the Cowboys' victories have resulted in a championship.

    Conference Prestige: 2.5

    They earn additional points for playing in the Big 12.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None

     

    Superlatives

    Despite the recent success and overall appeal of the city's NBA franchise, Oklahoma City still doesn't rank very high on SN's list, placing 69th to be exact and garnering the Cowboys the 10th-lowest number of points (1.0) of the teams on this list.

    On the field, the Cowboys will most likely lose star receiver Justin Blackmon to the NFL, but hopefully, QB Brandon Weeden will return to lead an explosive offensive attack that lit up Arizona in the Alamo Bowl.

    Off the field, Gundy is looking for his first top-20 signing class since 2006. And OSU is one of the luckiest schools in the nation in that if they need any sort of edge in terms of facilities, Pickens is only one phone call away from granting them it.

     

    Total Points: 57.1

18) University of Arkansas

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 17.8

    Bobby Petrino has really upped the ante at Arkansas, forcing the boosters to break open their piggy banks and fork over a seven-year extension, close to $3.6 million per year, and a commitment to spend at least $30 million on upgrades to the Razorbacks football facilities. His 2010 salary of $2.7 million ranked him 10th among head coaches, while his 2011 salary will bump him into the top six.

    Wins-Losses: 3.0

    Arkansas' impressive runs in 2003 (9-4), 2006 (10-4) and this year (10-2) can't detract from the fact that they were an average team for most of the past decade. They posted three losing seasons and have the sixth-worst winning percentage among these 30 teams over the past 10 years.

    Recruiting: 7.0

    The Razorbacks are definitely a sleeper when it comes to recruiting and competing in the powerful SEC. It's hard to fault them for only ranking in the top 30 on a consistent basis. This season, they are working on one of the top classes (currently ranked fifth by Scout.com), as it's clear that Petrino is having a huge impact on the trail.

    Money/Marketability: 4.0

    Thanks in part to their inconsistent play over the past decade, Arkansas ranks in the bottom half of teams on this list when it comes to recognizability via apparel sales. They bring in some pretty hefty coin but pale in comparison to the kind of change their SEC counterparts rake in.

    Best Places to Live: 5.6

    Surprisingly, Arkansas is seen as a pretty good place to make a life. The state actually has two cities that rank in the top 100 according to Men's Health.

    Facilities: 10.4

    Even before the $30 million promise, Arkansas had pretty good facilities. They have one of the nicest indoor practice facilities in the SEC and have a fairly new strength and conditioning building. Their rating is further enhanced by an all-academic building designed for academic support and greater achievement.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 4.4

    When it comes to job stability, you get docked a few points just for having your name be Bobby Petrino. But he seems to have taken a liking to Arkansas, and his seven-year extension should keep him there for quite some time. 

    Wins All-Time: 1.4

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 1.0

    Arkansas has 12 bowl wins all-time.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.2

    The Razorbacks claim one national title.

    Conference Prestige: 4.0

    They earn the most conference points possible for playing in the SEC.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None 

     

    Superlatives

    In terms of best sports town, Little Rock ranks pretty far down the list, in part because aside from Razorback football, there really isn't that much to get excited about. Still, they cracked the top 100, meaning they garner 0.8 points.

    On the field, Arkansas should remain near the top of the new SEC elite. They have begun to recruit top notch players on a consistent basis, and improving the facilities should only help with their recruiting efforts.

    Off the field, Petrino is doing wonders for the program. The $30 million guarantee to replenish the facilities are going to be exactly what Arkansas needs to continue to compete in the nation's most brutal conference.

     

    Total Points: 59.6

17) Penn State University

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    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 4.2

    Lord only knows how, but Joe Paterno only makes $1.1 million, the third-lowest number of any coaching position on this list, behind schools like Boise State and TCU.

    Wins-Losses: 6.5

    The Nittany Lions have the 18th-best winning percentage since 2002, and in that time, have three 11-win seasons.

    Recruiting: 6.5

    Despite his old age and increasing age difference between him and the kids he's recruiting, Penn State still manages to pull in top-20 classes.

    Money/Marketability: 14.0

    This past year, Penn State posted the third-biggest profit of any college football team, at $50 million. That number is further enhanced by PSU's generous sales in officially licensed team apparel and merchandise.

    Best Places to Live: 0.4

    Happy Valley sounds ideal right? Yet, somehow, the charming little town that Joe-Pa calls home fails to register with Men's Health. Maybe it would have better luck with "Senior Men's Health."

    Facilities: 12.8

    Again, despite its appearance, PSU has some of the nicest football facilities in the Big Ten. They are the very antithesis of its leader: new, fresh, advanced.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 6.0

    Obviously, there is no more stable place to coach than Penn State, where the Nittany Lions have had only two coaches since 1960. 

    Wins All-Time: 2.5

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 2.8

    Penn State has the third most bowl wins all-time, with 27.

    National Championships All-Time: 1.8

    The Nittany Lions lay claim to a share of four national championships.

    Conference Prestige: 2.0

    The Nittany Lions earn two points for their participation in the Big Ten.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    Big Ten (2008) +0.5 points


    Superlatives

    Only because of Penn State does Happy Valley rank as the 67th-best sports town in the U.S. Congrats to Joe-Pa for building an empire that earns PSU's head job another 1.1 points.

    On the field, I suppose it's only a matter of years before Paterno kicks the bucket. For the time being, however, he should put together another 6-9 win team, capable of pulling off a few upsets here and there.

    Off the field, recruiting is finally starting to slow down, despite his renewed passion for it

     

    Total Points: 61.1

16) Texas A&M University

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    Darren Carroll/Getty Images

    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 9.0

    A&M's annual salary has remained stagnant at $1.8 million over the past two seasons, good for 21st among all positions on this list. Head coach Mike Sherman went from being on the hot seat before this season to potentially garnering enough support for a raise after the Aggies finished strong in 2010.

    Wins-Losses: 1.0

    A&M has barely managed to keep themselves above .500 for the past 10 seasons, and this season's 9-3 effort helped tremendously.

    Recruiting: 8.0

    In recruiting, A&M regularly performs better than the performance on the field would lead you to believe. They've pulled in five top-15 classes since 2002 and rank 15th among all these teams in average ranking since then.

    National Appeal: 10.5

    Interestingly, A&M ranks as one of the most visible programs in college football. They make a boatload of money off their games and even more off of merchandise and apparel. 

    Best Places to Live: 6.0

    In terms of fine living, at least according to Men's Health, College Station ranks about near the middle-of-the-pack. 

    Facilities: 19.4

    The Aggies have one of the most impressive athletic facilities dedicated to football. The Bright Football Complex cost the school nearly $30 million and gave the Aggies one of the most spacious, technologically advanced facilities in the country. One of the many highlights includes the "Foot Locker" where the athletic department stocks, on average, 2,000 pairs of shoes for A&M athletes.

    The athletic training room was recently quadrupled in size and features one of the nation's only walk-in aquatic rehab pools. The facility also has 28 digital coaches stations, each of which accompanies a 60-inch plasma TV.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 2.0

    The Aggies have had 10 coaches since 1960, good for 21st on the list.

    Wins All-Time: 1.5

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 1.1

    They have 13 bowl victories, tied for 18th all-time among these teams.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.6

    A&M claims two national titles, the last of which came in 1939.

    Conference Prestige: 2.5

    The Aggies gain some extra points for playing in the Big 12.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None 

     

    Superlatives

    College Station ranks pretty low on this list of teams in SN's rankings. Still, they earn 0.8 points for their history, tradition and culture.

    On the field, expect the Aggies to take another step forward in 2011. They have a coach who is a bit more secure about his future and an offense which should take another step forward.

    Off the field, the Aggies have continued to slide in recruiting. It's still early, but this would be the second year in a row that the program has gone backwards in the rankings.

     

    Total Points: 62.4

15) University of Notre Dame

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 6.6

    Notre Dame is another program that is hard to get a handle on when it comes to coaches' salaries. Charlie Weis reportedly made around $400,000 during his final season with the Irish, and Brian Kelly's 2010 salary is anyone's guess.

    Wins-Losses: 2.5

    For all the talent the Irish have had over the years (Brady Quinn, Jimmy Clausen, Michael Floyd, Golden Tate, John Carlson, etc), they've still been pretty bad at racking up wins. They look like they're on the right path with Kelly in charge, but that's what everyone thought about Charlie Weis when he went toe-to-toe with USC and almost won.

    Recruiting: 10.0

    Even though they haven't been able to turn 4- and 5-star recruits into tons of victories, the Irish have still recruited their fair share of top-notch talent over the years. Weis couldn't ever win the big one, but he sure could win over some of the top high-schoolers, and after a cooling-off period, the Irish appear to be back on track with Kelly behind the wheel.

    Money/Marketability: 9.0

    Ahhhhhhhh! That's the sound of angels singing. Notre Dame is clearly a pretty classy place and seems to have tons of fans all over the country. That's certainly helped them rack up tons of revenue year after year, which is even more impressive considering what a small school it is. They are consistently one of the best sellers in terms of merchandise and ranked near the top once again this year.

    Best Places to Live: 4.0

    As anyone who's ever been to South Bend can tell you, it can be pretty scary, especially if you stray too far from campus. I personally stayed in a hotel there once as a teenager and was forbidden from leaving my room by my trip's chaperones. Men's Health seems to agree, ranking South Bend near the bottom of their Best Places to Live chart.

    Facilities: 17.6

    As bad as South Bend is to live, it's amazing if you're looking to turn a high school football star into a man-beast. Notre Dame has some of the finest facilities in the country, thanks to generous boosters all across the country. Their weight room is top-notch, as are their offices and study rooms.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 2.0

    For being such a historic, sought-after position, the UND job doesn't seem to keep too well. The Irish have had 10 coaches since 1960.

    Wins All-Time: 2.8

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 1.4

    Notre Dame only has 15 bowl wins all-time, 18 fewer than the leader, Alabama.

    National Championships All-Time: 3.0

    The Irish do have the most national titles, however, claiming 13.

    Conference Prestige: 4.0

    The Irish play as an independent, normally earning them 0.5 points, but since they play a more balanced, tougher schedule, we're going to go ahead and award them a SEC-like four points. They are Notre Dame, for Pete's sake.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None

     

    Superlatives

    South Bend doesn't really have much to offer the casual sports fan, and with some of the luster gone from UND in the past decade, SN awards it only 0.7 points.

    On the field, Brian Kelly looks to have a rather experienced squad returning. They'll lose their top receiver but look to bring in another top class.

    Off the field, Notre Dame will continue to be Notre Dame, bringing in top talent and refuting claims that they're surrendering their independent status for the cozy confines of the Big Ten.

     

    Total Points: 63.6

14) University of Tennessee

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 13.8

    Tennessee's average of about $2.1 million ranks about middle-of-the-pack, tying them with Florida State for 15th.

    Wins-Losses: 3.5

    The wins haven't necessarily been there for the Vols since 2002, especially since Phil Fulmer's final few years. They've reached the 10-win mark only once in the past six years.

    Recruiting: 10.5

    Thanks to Fulmer, Tennessee actually has the 10th-best recruiting effort since 2002 of teams on this list. Lane Kiffin made a great positive impression but made just as negative a one the next season, leaving current coach Dooley kind of shorted for 2010-11.

    Money/Marketability: 11.5

    Despite their recent poor play, Tennessee still rakes in tons of dough and consistently places in the top 10 in licensing sales.

    Best Places to Live: 1.2

    As nice of a football state as Tennessee is, not many people view it as a top destination state, and Knoxville is no exception.

    Facilities: 8.0

    Tennessee's facilities are pretty good, and they stand to get even better, with a $39 million pledge to improve the practice fields, the offices and the locker rooms. This should help UT compete for the top recruits as well as give their players access to facilities that are more SEC standard.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 3.2

    Despite the rapid change (two coaches in two seasons), Tennessee still has had only eight coaches since 1960.

    Wins All-Time: 2.2

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 2.4

    Tennessee has 25 bowl victories all-time, ranking them tied with Texas on this list.

    National Championships All-Time: 1.8

    Tennessee lays claim to four national titles, their most recent coming in 1998.

    Conference Prestige: 4.0

    The Vols earn four points for playing in the SEC.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None

     

    Superlatives

    Knoxville runs in the middle of the pack, ranking 58th on SN's 2010 list, earning the Vols job 1.7 points.

    On the field, it might take Derek Dooley another year or two to really put together a team capable of competing on a regular basis in the SEC. The Vols had a great finish to the season, save for their bowl game, and that should allow them to create some momentum heading into 2011.

    Off the field, the Vols are currently looking at a top-25 class and combined with the upcoming work on the facilities, it should be a pretty nice job to have for the next three to five years.

     

    Total Points: 63.8

13) University of Nebraska

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 12.2

    Bo Pelini has averaged about $2 million dollars per year since 2009, and given Nebraska's on-the-field performance (back-to-back Big 12 North titles); he should be in line for some sort of raise. Still, his average salary from the past two seasons ranks him 17th among current coaches on this list.

    Wins-Losses: 5.0

    Nebraska is a remarkable 30 games above .500 since 2002, yet that only ranks them 21st out of the 30 teams in these rankings. They were hurt by two five-win seasons during the middle of the decade but have bounced back, winning at least nine games for three consecutive seasons.

    Recruiting: 5.5

    For all of its storied tradition and history of amazing talent, Nebraska hasn't fared so well in recruiting against the big boys of the Big 12 (Texas and Oklahoma) over the past decade. They've gotten slightly better with the return of Tom Osborne and the addition of Pelini, but they still rank 20th of these 30 teams, pulling in, on average, the 27th-best class in the nation.

    Money/Marketability: 6.5

    For all of the inconsistency (at least for Nebraska standards), the Cornhuskers have still been able to remain a pretty big cash-cow, and it's easier when football is clearly the biggest sport at your school, with nothing in sight to rival it. They ranked 12th for the 2010-11 year in merchandise sales.

    Best Places to Live: 8.4

    No matter where you look and who you consult, Lincoln is a pretty nice place to live. It not only ranks in the top 20 according to Men's Health but is one of few locations on this list that actually ranked on Money Magazine's Top 100 list of places to live for 2010.

    Facilities: 14.6

    Nebraska easily boasts some of the finest facilities in all of college football. The 40-foot waterfall in the lobby of their football building tells you all you need to know. But that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of their state-of-the-art facilities.

    The Tom and Nancy Osborne Athletic Complex houses some of the more impressive technological and practical solutions for both coaches and players. One unique practical feature is a meeting room assigned to each position coach directly across the hall from their office. The weight room is one of the most advanced in the nation and has grown in size by 40 percent since the 1990s.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 5.0

    In terms of job stability, few positions offer as much as Nebraska. AD Osborne is a level-headed guy who knows Pelini is the right man for the job, and he'll give him as much time as he needs.

    Wins All-Time: 2.7

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 2.3

    Nebraska boasts 24 bowl victories all-time.

    National Championships All-Time: 2.2

    The Cornhuskers also claim five national titles.

    Conference Prestige: 2.5

    They earn 2.5 points for playing in the Big 12.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None


    Superlatives

    While Lincoln is apparently an exceptionally nice place to live, it still ranks near the middle of the pack according to Sporting News. Still, it garners an additional 1.4 points for ranking 63rd in the country.

    With fab-freshman Taylor Martinez returning and an always-destructive defense, Nebraska should be loaded on the field and a legit conference title contender as they enter the Big Ten next season, assuming Martinez is able to reign in the problems that made him such a loaded gun during the stretch run of 2010. 

    Off the field, they are quietly assembling a top-20 recruiting class and making greater strides to appeal to the best-of-the-best recruits.

     

    Total Points: 68.3

12) Auburn University

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 15.4

    Gene Chizik is in line for a big raise, whether or not Auburn wins the title, and he's already the 13th-highest paid coach in college footbal.

    Wins-Losses: 9.5

    Auburn's 13 wins this season put them exactly five ahead of their arch-rival Alabama Crimson Tide since 2002. The Tigers have the 12th-highest winning percentage since then.

    Recruiting: 9.5

    In recruiting over the past decade, despite Alabama's recent success, the Tigers still average (by just a smidgen) the better recruiting class.

    Money/Marketability: 9.5

    Unfortunately, Auburn will most likely never be able to compete with the kind of money Alabama brings in each year. Still, they bring in a more-than-modest amount and continue to be a top seller in merchandise, especially in Orlando, which is apparently a huge Auburn alumni base.

    Best Places to Live: 0.0

    Auburn, like Tuscaloosa, gains nothing. It is, after all, Alabama. 

    Facilities: 11.0

    Auburn's facilities have improved dramatically over the past decade, and they're only going to get better with the revenue that is going to come from their national title run this season.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 4.4

    Auburn has had seven coaches since 1960, good for ninth on this list.

    Wins All-Time: 1.8

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 2.1

    If Auburn can bring home the national championship, it would be their 21st bowl victory, tying LSU for ninth on this list.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.6

    The Tigers lay claim to two national titles all-time.

    Conference Prestige: 4.0

    The Tigers benefit from playing in the mighty SEC.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    SEC (2010) +0.5 points 

     

    Superlatives

    Auburn ranks 81st in the SN ranking and earns only 0.5 points, more than only four other teams on this list. 

    Fortunately, it's looking like a good time to be an Auburn fan. They're chasing down a national title this year, and even without Cam Newton in 2011, they look to be very strong, and possibly even more balanced on offense.

    In recruiting, Auburn is currently working on building a top-20 class, and some of the talent they have coming in looks really promising.

     

    Total Points: 68.8

11) University of Iowa

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 19.4

    Kirk Ferentz has quietly put together one of the finest programs in the nation at Iowa and has the paychecks to prove it. He's earned about $3.4 million the past two seasons, good for eighth among head coaches in that time period.

    Wins-Losses: 8.0

    Iowa's winning percentage ranks them 15th since 2002. They've won at least 10 games four times since then and have only once finished under .500.

    Recruiting: 3.0

    Iowa continues to be a so-so recruiting spot. Ferentz pulled in the eighth-best class of 2005 but has yet to reach a number higher than 37 since then.

    Money/Marketability: 8.0

    Iowa makes good money, especially for a Big Ten school, and is helped by their standing among the top revenue producers in the sport.

    Best Places to Live: 6.8

    Anyone who's lived there will tell you Iowa is a lovely place to live. Just check out Field of Dreams.

    Facilities: 14.0

    Iowa's facilities are some of the nicest, most underappreciated in the country. They've scheduled another $19.5 million in upgrades, but as they are, they currently rank 11th, ahead of Texas, Auburn, and USC.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 4.4

    The stability at Iowa is actually quite surprising, too. The Hawkeyes have had only seven head coaches since 1960.

    Wins All-Time: 0.8

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 1.5

    Iowa has 15 bowl wins all-time, ranking them tied with Notre Dame.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.2

    Iowa has claim to a piece of one national title.

    Conference Prestige: 2.0

    The Hawkeyes play in the Big Ten, earning them two points.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None

     

    Superlatives

    Iowa ranks in the middle of the pack in regards to sports town rankings. They came in at 61, good for 16th among programs on this list.

    Despite not having the big names, Ferentz keeps putting together winning teams, and 2011's squad should be no different. They'll lose a couple key pieces here and there, replace some and win at least eight games.

    2011's recruiting class should be the best Ferentz has brought in since 2005, and the renovations to their facilities should keep the head coach there for the imminent future.

     

    Total Points: 69.6

10) University of Oregon

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 10.6

    Chip Kelly sure has earned his $2.4 million 2010 salary and probably a lot more than that. He should be in line to get a nice raise for 2011, upping the Oregon job from the 19th-highest-paying job into the 13-15 range.

    Wins-Losses: 8.5

    Oregon has the 14th-best winning percentage since 2002, and of course, going 12-0 doesn't hurt. Still, the Ducks have posted at least 10 wins for three consecutive seasons.

    Recruiting: 6.0

    The Ducks have been as right as Oregon's rain since Kelly took over, ranking 13th in 2009 and 26th so far this year in recruiting. Overall, they have the 19th-best average over the past 10 seasons.

    Money/Marketability: 6.0

    For all the money the Ducks (and Phil Knight) spend, they don't see nearly as much revenue as the SEC teams, and most of that comes down to viewership, attendance and the size of the fanbase. A national title would certainly help that cause.

    Best Places to Live: 8.0

    Oregon is a glorious place to live, just ask the kids from Twilight. Yikes, a Twilight reference! Really? I know that one look at the Oregon's highlighter unis would destroy any vampire.

    Facilities: 20.0

    Anyone who has seen Oregon's facilities firsthand, or even the famous YouTube video, knows there is no one who does facilities better than the Ducks, who have the added advantage of having Nike founder Phil Knight behind their effort.

    Just for a little perspective, the Ducks spent $26 million on renovating the solid wood lockers in their locker room. That's more than most programs are willing to spend on entire buildings. 

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 4.4

    Thanks to a pretty long tenure by Mike Belotti, Oregon has only had seven coaches since 1960, tying them for ninth and earning them 4.4 points.

    Wins All-Time: 0.7

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 0.6

    Oregon only has nine bowl victories all-time.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.0

    The Ducks have yet to win any form of a national championship. Check here for an update and added points if they can slay the mighty Auburn Newtons.

    Conference Prestige: 3.5

    The Ducks play in the No. 2 conference, earning them 3.5 points.

    Conference/National Championships

    Pac-10 (2009, 2010) +1 point

     

    Superlatives

    Eugene is a middle-tier sports town (ranked 65th) and earns the position an additional 1.2 points, good enough to bump the position into the top 10.

    On the field, the Ducks should be just as explosive in 2011 as they were this year. They'll have the pieces in place for another title run and their stranglehold on the Pac-10 should last at least another year.

    Off the field, the Ducks continue to make great strides in recruiting, and with their facilities, there should be no recruit they can't get.

     

    Total Points: 70.5

9) University of Georgia

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 18.6

    Mark Richt has been worth his weight in gold during his tenure at Georgia, but for the first time, there were whispers this season about how he might not be worth the $3.1 million he brings in annually.

    Wins-Losses: 10.5

    Still, for all the heat he took in 2010, Richt produced an average of more than 10 wins from 2002-2008, and UGA ranks 10th in winning percentage since 2002.

    Recruiting: 13.0

    Georgia has quietly, consistently put together some of the finest classes in the nation, year after year. They've peaked at No. 4 (in 2005, 2006 and 2009) and have only once fallen out of the top 20 (2010).

    Money/Marketability: 14.5

    Georgia pulled in more profits than any other program not named Texas this past year, a whopping $53 million. It also ranked in the top five in official licensing revenue.

    Best Places to Live: 7.2

    Athens regularly ranks as a pretty nice place to live, and I'm not really sure why. From what I hear, it doesn't sound too great unless you like shacking up at a new bar each night.

    Facilities: 6.8

    Georgia's facilities were once-upon-a-time very nice but have fallen well behind the new SEC standards. Hence a $40 million restoration project, designed to move the Bulldogs into the 21st century and into competition with the Gators, Crimson Tide and multiple Tigers.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 5.0

    Georgia has had six coaches over the past 50 years, tying them with Virginia Tech for sixth.

    Wins All-Time: 2.0

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 2.7

    Georgia has the fourth most bowl wins all-time.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.6

    They lay claim to two national championships.

    Conference Prestige: 4.0

    They play in the mighty SEC and garner four points for that.

    Conference/National Championships

    None

     

    Superlatives

    Athens ranks as the 70th best sports city in America and earns the position almost one point (actually 0.9 points).

    On the field, UGA should be primed for a bounce-back year in a tough SEC. Aaron Murray should be even better in 2011, and he was pretty good in 2010. They'll have to replace the school's best-ever wide receiver, but they should find plenty of depth to keep Murray happy.

    Off the field, Georgia has plenty cooking. They have a potential top-15 class on the way, as well as promised renovations to the football facilities.

     

    Total Points: 85.8

8) University of Michigan

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 16.4

    Whether Rich Rod stays or goes, the head job at Michigan still will pay quite well. At $2.5 million per year, it's currently the 11th-highest paying job around, and that's with an average of five wins over the past three years.

    Wins-Losses: 5.5

    The Wolverines began the decade great, winning 10 games in back-to-back seasons but have floundered down the stretch. They have the 20th-best winning percentage since 2002.

    Recruiting: 11.0

    The losses that have piled up haven't hurt the school's recruiting too much. They rank ninth since 2002 and have pulled in top-15 classes in all but one year, excluding 2011.

    Money/Marketability: 13.5

    Michigan raked in $45 million in profits this past year, good for fourth in all of college football, behind only Texas, Georgia and Penn State. In merchandise sales, the consistently rank in the top five.

    Best Places to Live: 5.2

    Ann Arbor gets rave reviews from numerous publications but received a mid-100 ranking from Men's Health, earning them 5.2 points for ranking 13th overall.

    Facilities: 16.4

    Michigan's facilities, including one of the finest indoor practice fields in college football, rank near the top of my subjective rankings. In addition, the Wolverines have planned another $26 million in upgrades and improvements, which will set them up for at least the next decade.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 5.6

    Thanks to long tenures by Lloyd Carr and Bo Schembecler, the Michigan program has known only five coaches since 1960.

    Wins All-Time: 3.0

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 1.9

    Michigan has 19 bowl wins all-time.

    National Championships All-Time: 2.8

    The Wolverines claim an impressive 11 national championships, according to CFBDW.

    Conference Prestige: 2.0

    The Big Ten ranks as the fifth-most impressive conference since 2001.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    None

     

    Superlatives

    Thanks to talented programs in sports other than football, as well as some impressive pro teams in the area, Ann Arbor ranks No. 10 on SN's 2010 list, earning this position an additional 2.8 points, good for third among these teams.

    Assuming Rich-Rod gets another year, his 2011 team could be his best yet. Denard Robinson returns and should be even better than this year, and the defense will have another coordinator to hopefully coach them up a little better.

    Off the field, they continue to bring in recruits suited to Rich-Rod's style, and therefore don't rank as highly as some other schools that continue to pile up athletes regardless of their preferred style of offense.

     

    Total Points: 86.1

7) Louisiana State University

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 21.0

    Les Miles brings in about $3.9 million and has averaged about $3.8 million over the past two years, making him the seventh-highest earner in college football and the third-highest in the highly prosperous SEC.

    Wins-Losses: 12.0

    LSU has the seventh-best winning percentage since 2002 and is one of seven programs to win at a clip above .800.

    Recruiting: 14.0

    LSU ranks a close third in recruiting totals since 2002. They have yet to bring in a No. 1 overall class but twice have ranked No. 2, and finished in the top 10 every year but two.

    Money/Marketability: 8.5

    LSU brings in a ton of money but still ranks behind five other SEC juggernauts in terms of total revenue and merchandise/apparel sales.

    Best Places to Live: 3.6

    Baton Rouge-New Orleans ranks as the 72nd-nicest place to live in America according to Men's Health.

    Facilities: 15.2

    LSU's facilities are top-notch, and despite ranking as the third best in the SEC, are above and beyond what most non-SEC schools can dream of. Their practice fields are amazing, their indoor practice facility highly-ranked and their locker rooms better than some NFL teams.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 0.8

    LSU is tied for the third-least stable coaching job among these 30 teams, besting only Stanford and Miami and ranking tied with Navy.

    Wins All-Time: 1.9

    Bowl Wins All-Time: 2.2

    LSU has an impressive 21 bowl wins all-time, tied with FSU for ninth all-time among schools on this list.

    National Championships All-Time: 1.8

    The Bayou Bengals claim four national titles in their history.

    Conference Prestige: 4.0

    The Tigers earn four points for playing in the toughest, best conference.

    Conference/National Championships

    SEC (2007) +0.5 points, BCS (2007) +1 point


    Superlatives

    Baton Rouge is pretty abysmal when it comes to sporting events and teams other than the Tigers. And New Orleans doesn't feature too many spectacular teams or facilities, either. Still, they earn 0.2 points for being the 29th-ranked sports city on this list of 30 teams.

    On the field, LSU can hopefully find a true quarterback of the future and ride ONE of them to another 10-win season. All the surrounding pieces are there for another SEC title run.

    The recruiting effort at LSU is as strong as ever. They've already inked some impressive talent and could lock up even more before signing day.

     

    Total Points: 86.7

6) University of Alabama

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 25.0

    Alabama features the highest-paid coach in college football, and after claiming another national title for Alabama last season, who can blame them for shelling out $6 million per year.

    Wins-Losses: 7.0

    In terms of wins, Alabama has certainly been stronger the past few seasons than they were towards the beginning of the decade. They rank 17th in terms of winning percentage since 2002.

    Recruiting: 9.0

    The Tide's recent surge in recruiting, including the No. 1 class in 2008 and No. 2 in 2009, has helped bump their yearly average up to 13th among all the teams on this list.

    Money/Marketability: 12.0

    Bama has been one of the top revenue-producing programs in college football over the past three seasons, thanks to the fact they're good again, and Saban is such a mastermind. He's gotten this program more attention than Bear Bryant ever could have.

    Best Places to Live: 0.0

    Obviously, Tuscaloosa isn't going to rank too high on too many "best places" lists.

    Facilities: 15.8

    Thanks to Saban, the Tide have some of the nicest football facilities in the country, including some really nice outdoor practice fields and a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility which ranks as the largest in college football and is the envy of most programs that don't have such a building.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 3.2

    The Tide have burned through eight coaches since 1960, one more than arch-rival Auburn.

    Wins All-Time: 1.4

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 3.0

    With their New Year's Day dismantling, Alabama continues to pace all of college football with 33 bowl victories.

    National Championships All-Time: 2.9

    Bama also ranks second all-time to Notre Dame in national titles recognized by the CFBDW.

    Conference Prestige: 4.0

    The Tide earn the most additional points possible for playing in the mighty SEC.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    SEC (2009) +0.5 points, BCS (2009) +1 point


    Superlatives

    Thanks solely in part to their football program, Tuscaloosa ranks as the 41st-best sports city in America, earning the Tide program 2.3 points.

    Despite losing arguably their four best players, the Tide should remain strong next season, with a moderately experienced quarterback and one of the nation's top RBs in Trent Richardson.

    Off the field, the Tide are looking at a No. 4 recruiting class as of right now. 

     

    Total Points: 87.1

5) University of Oklahoma

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 24.2

    Bob Stoops has averaged the second-highest salary over the past two seasons and celebrated in style, with the Sooners' first BCS victory in five tries.

    Wins-Losses: 12.5 

    When it comes to winning, few programs do it better than OU, which has posted five 12-win seasons since 2002, more than any other program not named Boise State. They are also one of seven teams (BSU, Ohio State, Texas, USC, LSU and TCU are the others) to post a winning percentage over .800 since 2002.

    Recruiting: 13.5

    The Sooners consistently excel at recruiting, and aside from an aberration (a No. 30 ranking in 2007), they haven't dropped lower than 13th overall since 2002.

    Money/Marketability: 7.5

    Oklahoma brings in huge amounts of money each year, not Texas-type money, but very good nonetheless. They reported close to $80 million in revenue in 2007-08 and ranked in the top 15 in terms of apparel and merchandise this past year.

    Best Places to Live: 1.6

    Norman ranks near the bottom of the list in terms of "best place to live," earning the Sooners more points than only eight other programs.

    Facilities: 13.4

    The Sooners football facilities have blossomed quite nicely under Stoops, who has made it a priority, not only for his current players but for swaying recruits. The Barry Switzer Center is awe-inspiring, and the Roy Williams Strength and Conditioning Complex is top-notch.

    It's no wonder that the Sooners have remained among the elite of college football since Stoops took over.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 2.4

    Oklahoma has had nine coaches since 1960, tying them with one of the teams they will forever be linked with...Boise State.

    Wins All-Time: 2.4

    Bowl Victories All-Time: 2.6

    OU claims the fourth most bowl victories all-time. Their most recent victory over UConn in the Fiesta Bowl allowed them to move into a tie with Georgia, which missed out on its 27th victory with a loss against first-time bowl-winner UCF.

    National Championships All-Time: 2.6

    OU stakes a claim to seven national titles all-time, tied with Ohio State for fifth all-time.

    Conference Prestige: 2.5

    OU earns 2.5 points for playing in the Big 12.

    Conference/National Championships Past Five Seasons

    Big 12 (2006, 2007, 2008, 2010) +2 points


    Superlatives

    Oklahomans love their football, and Sporting News took notice, ranking the city of Norman as their 31st best sports city, earning the Sooners position 2.5 points.

    On the field, the Sooners should continue to dominate the Big 12 next season, with most of their offense returning save for a few big names. Their defense should continue to improve, and another top-15 recruiting class should help soften the blow of losing Ryan Broyles and DeMarco Murray, two all-time Sooner greats.

    Off the field, OU is working on another amazing recruiting class, as well as trying to work some interesting teams (Ohio State, Notre Dame and Tennessee) into their future schedules.

     

    Total Points: 89.7

4) University of Southern California

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 23.4

    Lane Kiffin is currently the third-highest paid coach in college football at $4 million per year, which is actually down $400,000 from the $4.4 million that previous coach Pete Carroll made during his final season at USC. Still, Southern Cal has tons of money to play with, so if Kiffin takes SC to another Pac-10 title, say, next season, he could be in line for a raise into the Carroll-like stratosphere.

    Wins-Losses: 14.0

    USC has posted the third-best winning percentage since 2002, behind only Boise State and Ohio State, including seven consecutive seasons with 11 or more wins from 2002-2007.

    Recruiting: 15.0

    In recruiting, nobody can compare with USC over the past decade. They started 2002 on the outside of the top 10 (at No. 12) and haven't fallen out since. They posted the No. 1 class in 2003, 2004 and 2006 and have finished an average of fifth in the past 10 years.

    Money/Marketability: 7.0

    USC is one of just a handful of schools to not have their apparel and merchandise licensed by CLC. Instead, they have created one of the largest independent licensing efforts of any college. USC also pulls in massive amounts of revenue.

    Best Places to Live: 4.8

    Los Angeles falls about right smack dab in the middle of the Men's Health rankings, at 54.

    Facilities: 6.2

    USC boasts decent facilities, but nowhere near in line with the kind of program they have and with the kind of money they have to toss around. The Trojans athletic department recently announced a planned $70 million renovation of the athletic complex, most of which will be devoted to the football facilities. The facility is expected to be completed by 2013.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 4.4

    In terms of job stability, USC has been one of the most stable jobs in the Pac-10 over the past 50 years, thanks to their consistent performance.

    Wins All-Time: 2.1

    Bowl Wins All-Time: 2.9

    USC's 30 bowl victories all-time rank second to only Alabama, which has 33. Without sanctions and this year's bowl ban, this Trojans team would definitely vie for that title of most bowl wins ever.

    National Championships All-Time: 2.7

    Even with sanctions, the Trojans still claim 10 national titles, good for fourth all-time, earning them 2.7 points.

    Conference Prestige: 3.5

    The Pac-10 ranks as the second-best conference since 2001, and the Trojans earn 3.5 points for that.

    Conference/National Championships:

    Pac-10 (2006, 2007, 2008) +1.5 points


    Superlatives

    USC gets additional points (+3) for being in the the No. 3-ranked sports city, according to the 2010 list by Sporting News. No other school on the list resides in a city ranked higher.

    In terms of on-the-field potential growth, USC should be back as a top-15 program next season and into the foreseeable future. They have a stud QB in Matt Barkley, and he's surrounded by tons of explosive playmakers on both sides of the ball.

    Off the field, USC is set. They're primed to pull in another top-10 recruiting class for 2011, and the $70 million promise to expand the football facilities sets them up for success in the future like no other program.

     

    Total Points: 90.5

3) University of Florida

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 21.8

    Urban Meyer's combined two-year haul of $8 million makes UF the fifth-most lucrative position in college football. Will Muschamp's salary will take a dip from the number Meyer got, but it's still one of the top-paying jobs out there, and for good reason. The head coach at UF also has to double as a prison-warden. Ouch!

    Wins-Losses: 10.0

    The Gators have racked up 88 victories and a .744 winning percentage since 2002, good enough to rank 11th in that period and third among SEC teams.

    Recruiting: 12.5

    The Gators have made a killing in recruiting recently, posting two No. 1 classes since 2007. Urban Meyer and assistant coach Steve Addazio were geniuses when it came to recruiting, and the Gators should fare just as well under new coach Muschamp, although the type of players the Gators are recruiting will inevitably change.

    Money/Marketability13.0

    The Gators have gone from a po-dunk school in Nowhere, Florida, to one of the biggest revenue-making programs in college football history. In 2010 alone, the program took in nearly $70 million and saw $44 million in profits.

    Best Places to Live: 3.2

    Gainesville is right there with Tallahassee when it comes to niceness. It has certainly made strides that the Noles' home has not, but primarily, it's just a big college town.

    Facilities: 18.2

    Thanks to recent upgrades, the Gators' football facilities, centered around Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and the Heavener Football Complex, are some of the nicest in all of college football.

    The new weight room takes up about 25,000 square feet, close to three times the size of the old room and features state-of-the-art equipment. The football offices are enormous and technologically advanced, and the new Gator Room, which is designed to seat up to 200 people, has been a boom for the Gators recruiting effort.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 3.2

    With Will Muschamp, the Gators are on to their eighth coach in the past 50 years.

    Wins All-Time: 1.2

    Bowl Wins All-Time: 1.6

    With their most recent victory over Penn State, the Gators have 19 bowl victories in their history.

    National Championships All-Time: 0.8

    The Gators lay claim to three national titles, all of them since 1996 and two in the past five years.

    Conference Prestige: 4.0

    The Gators play in the mighty SEC, earning them four additional points.

    Conference/National Championships

    SEC (2006, 2008) +1 point, BCS (2006, 2008) +2 points


    Superlatives

    The Gators earn additional points (2.1) for being in what's ranked as the 50th-best sports town in America, good for No. 10 on this list.

    On the field, the Gators might take a step back over the next few years. They'll be adapting to a new offensive mindset with Muschamp and new OC Charlie Weis, and it might take some time to get everyone one the same page, as well as to get the right players in for the new system.

    Off the field, Muschamp should actually enhance the Gators recruiting situation. He'll help out with the Texas athletes he became so familiar with in his time as a Longhorn. Having Weis will help in that department as well.

    And if you thought the Gators churned out tons of NFL talent now, just wait until they start recruiting the pro-style offense athletes that Muschamp seeks.

     

    Total Points: 93.4

2) Ohio State University

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 21.0

    Jim Tressel's salary has averaged about $3.8 million since 2009, good for sixth among college coaches. He's been one of college football's most consistent earners since he joined OSU and has gotten several incremental raises over the years. He's going on a decade of solid performance both on and off the field, proving his worth.

    Wins-Losses: 14.5

    No team, aside from Boise State, has won more games and posted a better winning percentage over the past 10 years. The Buckeyes will go for win No. 99 against Arkansas in the All-State Sugar Bowl on January 4th. The Buckeyes have posted at least 10 wins in every season but one since 2002.

    Recruiting: 12.0

    Ohio State has put together really consistent recruiting efforts, and every three or four years, Tressel's squad produces one of the top classes. They had the No. 1 class in 2009, the No. 3 in 2002 and the No. 4 group in 2008.

    Money/Marketability: 12.5

    Ohio State is the only other "big gun" to go it alone in terms of official licensing. Still, they bring in just about as much money in terms of merchandise as any other school. Having the largest campus, and therefore the largest alumni base, doesn't hurt. In terms of revenue, Ohio State consistently ranks near the top, bringing in millions upon millions of dollars.

    Best Places to Live: 4.4

    Columbus ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to being a top place to live in the U.S. The higher-than-average unemployment rate doesn't help, and neither does its crowded nature. Having THE Ohio State University certainly aids their cause.

    Facilities: 17.0

    Ohio State easily boasts some of the finest facilities in the country. A few years ago, they finished up a $300 million renovation of the school's athletic facilities, including the football stadium and administrative offices.

    There are also plans in the works for a $21.5 million renovation of the football facilities, including the practice fields, weight and equipment rooms and the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 5.8

    Few coaches have as much job stability as Tressel does at Ohio State. In fact, OSU is the second-most stable position in the country, behind Joe-Pa's two-man, 50-year wrecking crew. Tressel has become ingrained in the community, teaching classes at OSU and traveling the state for numerous charitable causes.

    Wins All-Time: 2.6

    Bowl Wins All-Time: 1.8

    Ohio State has 19 bowl wins in their history, interestingly enough, tied with their arch-rival Michigan for 12th all-time.

    National Championships All-Time: 2.6

    Ohio State's seven national titles rank them tied for fifth all-time with the Sooners of Oklahoma.

    Conference Prestige: 2.0

    Playing in the Big Ten earns the Buckeyes two extra points, since the conference is the fifth-best since 2001.

    Conference/National Championships:

    Big Ten (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) +2.5 points


    Superlatives

    As middle-of-the-pack as Columbus ranks in terms of quality of life, it's near the top in terms of sports cities, ranking as the seventh best of teams on this list. That lovely honor earns them an additional 2.4 points

    On the field, things should be dicey for the first few games of next season, as the Buckeyes will be without several of their star players due to suspensions. Beyond that, the future looks bright, especially if Terrelle Pryor returns for his senior season.

    Off the field, OSU is looking at a top-three recruiting class for 2011, and that combined with their proposed further expansion and improvement of the football facilities should allow them to continue to grow as a football powerhouse.

     

    Total Points: 101.1

1) University of Texas

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    Primary Criteria

    Salary: 22.6

    At $5.2 million, Mack Brown is the second-highest-paid coach in college football. But, taking into account he only made $3.1 million last year, Texas comes out with the fourth-highest average salary paid out to a head coach since 2009. Given the disappointing season that the Longhorns just produced on the field, it's likely that $5.2 million is the peak for Brown at Texas.

    Wins-Losses: 13.5

    Texas has posted the fourth-best winning percentage since 2002, and until this season, had posted at least 10 wins for nine of those seasons. Another 10-win season in 2010 would have given the Longhorns the second-most wins behind only Boise State.

    Recruiting: 14.5

    If there's one program that can rival USC in terms of recruiting, it's Texas. They posted the top overall class in 2002 and are currently ranked No. 1 for 2011. Over the past six seasons, they have consistently recruited top-five classes.

    Money/Marketability: 15.0

    Cash-cow. Texas is, and has been for quite some time, the top producing team in terms of officially licensed merchandise and apparel. They've also consistently appeared at the top of college football's wealthiest programs when it comes to revenue solely derived from the football program. They also ranked as Forbes Magazine's Most Valuable College Football Program.

    Best Places to Live: 8.8

    No matter the publication, Austin, Texas is consistently rated as one of the top places to live in the United States. They have excellent schools, relatively low unemployment and the cost of living is quite reasonable.

    Facilities: 11.6

    A few years ago, Texas boasted some of the most impressive facilities in college football. Since 2006, however, they have been surpassed by several schools, and while their facilities are still excellent, they have fallen a rung below programs like Florida and Alabama.

     

    Secondary Criteria

    Job Stability: 5.6

    When it comes to job stability, you don't get much more comfy than Texas, which has known only five head coaches since 1960. Brown is inked through 2016, and at the rate that he's racking up wins, he should be there at least that long. He also has the benefit of not having to look over his shoulder at the young whipper-snapper Will Muschamp, who departed for Florida, eschewing his role as head-coach-in-waiting.

    Wins All-Time: 3.0

    Bowl Wins All-Time: 2.5

    The Longhorns have posted wins in 25 bowl contests, good for fifth all-time (tied with their hated rival Oklahoma).

    National Championships All-Time: 1.8

    The Longhorns lay claim to four national titles, placing them in a tie for ninth place all-time.

    Conference Prestige: 2.5

    Being in the Big 12 earned the Longhorns an additional 2.5 points, since the conference is the fourth-best since 2001.

    Conference/National championships Past Five Seasons

    Big 12 (2009) +0.5 points

     

    Superlatives

    Austin earns the Longhorns some extra kudos (2.2 points) for ranking as the 43rd-best sports town in America, good for ninth among teams on this list.

    On the field, Texas should bounce back from a subpar 2010 season. They have tons of talent returning, and second-year starter Garrett Gilbert should provide some experience at quarterback.

    Off the field, Texas is as strong as ever. They're in the midst of bringing in the top class for 2011, they're a money-making machine, and they might even use some of that record-setting profit from 2010 ($68 million) to provide some upgrades to their already impressive facilities.

     

    Total Points: 104.1

Final Ranking

32 of 32

    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Here's the final ranking for all 30 teams:

    1. Texas  
    2. Ohio State   
    3. Florida  
    4. USC   
    5. Oklahoma 
    6. Alabama
    7. LSU
    8. Michigan
    9. Georgia
    10. Oregon
    11. Iowa
    12. Auburn
    13. Nebraska
    14. Tennessee
    15. Penn State
    16. Notre Dame
    17. Arkansas
    18. Texas A&M
    19. Oklahoma State
    20. Virginia Tech
    21. Stanford
    22. Florida State
    23. Wisconsin
    24. South Carolina
    25. TCU
    26. Miami
    27. West Virginia
    28. Boise State
    29. Michigan State
    30. Navy

    Let the debate begin!