Each time a vacancy emerges at one of college football's most successful and popular programs, the conversation is rebooted.
It doesn't matter the time of year or what else is going on within the sport. The question will be asked and regurgitated on social media and across message boards.
What is the best job in college football?
This time, it comes in the thick of a chaotic start to the 2021 season after USC fired Clay Helton two games in. Given that the coaching search is well underway for the Trojans, we asked B/R readers to tell us what is the best job in the sport.
Here are the suggestions, with accompanying commentary to help make the case.
Suggestion: The USC job is and will always be the best job in sports. Period.
It's a fitting place to begin given the reason for this exercise. Also, I appreciate the confidence being exhibited when you consider the program just fired a coach who largely underwhelmed (and still kept his job) for more than six years. (Just sayin'.)
I'll rip off the Band-Aid fast. This is not the best job in college football. It might have been when Pete Carroll paced the sidelines and Reggie Bush uncorked video game jukes in real life in the early 2000s, but that is not the case now.
Still, this is a wonderful job. The recruiting is an enormous plus, as the next coach has a chance to keep the greatest players in California from leaving the state.
The tradition is excellent too. And the uniforms? Superb.
But there are better jobs out there, no matter how nice the weather is and how much USC has to offer.
Roll Dang Tide
Suggestion: Let's be realistic, is this a rhetorical question or what? It's easily Alabama
We arrive in an obvious and necessary place: The most dominant program in sports.
Alabama is indeed a living, breathing dynasty capable of adding multiple national championships to its expanding trophy case. (The Crimson Tide have quite literally had to expand it multiple times since Nick Saban's arrival in 2007.)
In terms of recent success, it cannot be argued. Saban is an absurd 173-23 at Alabama with six national championships. In a sport as chaotic as this—and with the task of essentially reshuffling rosters every season—one cannot capture how dominant this program has been under his guidance.
But when I think of Alabama, I think about its coach first and foremost. That is not to say this program isn't worthy of the crown. It has to be a part of the discussion. This job has everything a major program should have: from facilities to the fanbase to a state rich with talent.
And history? Buddy, check out that expanded trophy case.
But it's hard to know how much of this is because of one person. Specifically, we likely won't know if this is indeed the best program until Saban, who's 69 years old, finally retires.
I love watching this dominant team, and I hope that's not for some time.
Suggestion: HC at Hawai'i. I mean… you don't have to be a national championship-caliber coach. And you get to live in Hawai'i. Todd Graham has it made.
Let's take a moment and break free from our serious discussions about program worth. Let's instead contemplate what it would be like to coach a team with modest expectations in paradise.
Since 2005, the Rainbow Warriors have won 10 or more games four times. In that time, Hawai'i has also entertained millions of fans—and gamblers—with football that is often played deep into Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Whether you've won or lost that day, betting on or against Hawai'i is pure joy.
Forget about recruiting. Forget about championships. Forget about all the metrics applied elsewhere in this piece.
Imagine waking up in a place people dream of vacationing, making a fortune as a yearly salary and being able to coach a team that doesn't have to win a ton of games.
This job won't transform you into one of the greatest to ever do it. But you'll get a great tan, a lot of money and grow numb to great views.
The Magnificent Case for the Bulldogs
Suggestion: It's Georgia. Not by a wide margin, but it's Georgia. You have a top 4 recruiting state of your own with essentially no resistance from other programs in state; unlike Florida (UF, FSU and Miami), Texas (A&M, Longhorns, TCU), and California (UCLA and USC). Not to mention the facilities are up there with the best in the country. The athletic department and boosters will give you whatever facilities you want/need. It's a nationally known brand. One of the best college towns in America. It's in the SEC, which is a major draw and doesn't have to play regular season games against Alabama every year. The Georgia job is the best in America.
First and foremost, bravo.
Second, thank you for such a detailed answer. I can keep my feedback to a minimum because of your fine work. And I agree with pretty much all of it.
If you were to ask college coaches to name the best job in the country—and I have over time—many would say Georgia.
Few programs can offer what UGA has in terms of recruiting and resources. And Athens, Georgia, is a wonderful city to call home. It's also a perfect hub to draw talent from across the Southeast.
One of the few negatives, and it's a big one, is that Georgia hasn't won a national title since 1980. This is where Alabama flexes in this discussion. The Bulldogs came close in 2017—and they have a real shot this season—but this has eluded the program and its fans for some time.
Still, I have a hard time arguing with anything else. This is an elite program. If it's not No. 1, it is comfortably inside the top three.
Short and Sweet, Go Tigers
So, this suggestion is slightly less descriptive than the one that came before it. That's perfectly fine. We must talk about LSU, even if @Brodyhg22 is so excited about his answer that he's apparently at a loss for words.
Since 2003, LSU has won three national championships with three different coaches.
That is amazing. It's also at the core of what the question is all about. This program has excelled under three very different personalities, which speaks to its ability to draw talent and adapt, no matter the person guiding it.
In terms of environment, Death Valley is as good as it gets. The fanbase is passionate—bordering on obsessive. The football atmosphere, especially for its most important games, is superb.
The Tigers haven't won at the same level as Alabama, but no one has. And although Saban was only there for one title, LSU has found its way back to the peak of the sport without him.
LSU has a strong case.
Suggestion: Fired head coach? Collecting millions a year for literally doing nothing
This. This is the answer.
We can argue about facilities. We can yell at one another about which states offer better recruiting pipelines. We can debate whether a coach makes a job or a job makes a coach.
But we cannot argue this simple thought: Being paid to sit on the couch is awesome.
Now, I feel bad for Helton. I do not envy the thought of being fired in the most public way imaginable. That part isn't great.
But the rest? That's the American dream. For the very public firing, Helton will reportedly get more than $10 million to do nothing.
No more pressure. No more boos. No more meetings with the athletic director.
That, my friends, is the dream job.