DALLAS, TX – OCTOBER 8: Demontre Hurst #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners returns a interception for a touchdown against the Texas Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl on October 8, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Sooners defeated the Longhorns 55 to 17. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Ranking the Big 12 coaching jobs

The kind folks at Athlon Sports asked me to participate in an experts poll ranking the Big 12 coaching jobs. (Insert joke here.)

You can find the results here. For the sake of conversation, here’s how I voted. Note that I based my rankings on the question of where I thought I could win the fastest for the longest time.

1. Texas

Texas has all the hallmarks of a great college football job. It’s the flagship university in a football-crazy state that is overflowing with elite, well-trained high school. Austin might be the best college town in the country. Money is no object. Academically, it’s one of the best public universities in the United States.


The Texas job probably get a little overrated in the eyes of the punditry. The Lone Star State breadbasket feeds a lot of mouths, and recruiting there has only grown more competitive with Texas A&M’s move to the SEC.

Furthermore, the messy search for Mack Brown’s successor showed the downside of having a cadre of minted boosters supporting a program. All those egos in the same room can make for a lot of dysfunction.

Texas is without a doubt one of the best gigs in the sport. But that doesn’t mean it’s not without its challenges.

2. Oklahoma

For all of the Longhorns advantages over their Red River rivals, Texas can’t match the Sooners’ historical success. OU’s rich football tradition reflects what makes Bob Stoops’ seat one of the most coveted in the country.

Much like Alabama and the Crimson Tide, Sooner football is woven into the fabric of the state of Oklahoma. As a result, OU plays to packed houses every week in Norman and annually takes in more than enough money to support one of the largest operating budgets in college football.

Historically, the Sooners have overcome a paucity of in-state talent by mining Texas talent. In recent years, Stoops and his staff have made inroads in California to supplement their major pipeline to the south.

Despite not being located in the middle of a recruiting hotbed, Oklahoma will still be picking from a boatload of quality candidates when Stoops does step down.

3. Oklahoma State

After the Big 12’s top two, there’s a sizable gap. OSU checks in at No. 3 thanks to the bottomless pockets of T. Boone Pickens.

The billionaire booster has funded substantial facilities upgrades in Stillwater and has shown a willingness to pump cash into Cowboy athletics on a level rivaling shoe baron Phil Knight’s support of Oregon. That helps OSU recruit in Texas and attract quality coaches.

4. TCU

Between Sammy Baugh and LaDanian Tomlinson, there’s not much to say about TCU football. In the course of the last two decades, however, the Horned Frogs rose from one of the strongest mid-majors in the country to Big 12 contender.

TCU’s location in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth area elevates it slightly above the conference’s other six candidates. Questions about the program’s staying power post-Gary Patterson are fair, though.

5. Texas Tech

Like plenty of other Big 12 schools, Tech has a location problem. Lubbock is about as much of an outpost as outposts get.

On the plus side, it’s still within the state borders of Texas.

6. Baylor

Given that the Bears have won back-to-back conference titles, maybe we should say Baylor is No. 6 with a bullet.

On the other hand, recent success doesn’t negate decades of abject futility. Baylor still has to overcome Waco and the fact that it’s a religious private school.

Art Briles has done some remarkable work at BU, but maintaining that success year after year would be an even more remarkable accomplishment.

7. West Virginia

Speaking of outposts, Morgantown sticks out like a sore thumb in terms of Big 12 geography. It would be one thing if the Mountaineers had an abundance of talent in their backyard instead of moonshine and pepperoni rolls, but Dana Holgorsen has to import players from far and wide.

WVU has money and solid fan support, but geography is a big negative.

8. Kansas State

Kansas State was consistently one of the worst football programs in the country before Bill Snyder took Manhattan. Decades of Snyder’s sorcery have lifted KSU up off the bottom rungs in the college football pecking order.

Unfortunately, if the Wildcats don’t hire another purple shaman when Snyder’s days on the headset are through, the situation could go south quickly. (See: Prince, Ron.)

9. Kansas

The best thing that could be said about the KU job is that the Jayhawks haven’t shied away from laying down serious cash to land a coach.

Otherwise, the bad parts are really bad. No recruiting base, no real history and no interest once things get cranked up at Phog Allen.

10. Iowa State

The Cyclones haven’t wanted for effort under Paul Rhoads. They’ve needed it because Ames is one one of the toughest places to recruit to in college football. That makes ISU the hardest job in the Big 12.