The battle for No. 1 is ongoing--with Clemson and Alabama currently the prime contenders. But what about the more subtle and subjective topic which starts with this basic question:
If you factor in all the ingredients, which Power 5 conference head coaching job is the best in college football?
With all due respect to the folks down in Tuscaloosa, who assume the sun rises and sets around Alabama football, our opinion is that Clemson has moved into the top spot in that area as well.
Since this is a subjective topic, feel free to disagree. But in our opinion, here are the Top 5 jobs in college football.
- Clemson. 2. Alabama 3. Ohio State 4. USC 5. Texas[/membership] [membership]
It's a close call at the top, factoring in not only the resources of each school, but the location, tradition and comfort level for incoming recruits, as well as whether the coach has a realistic chance of meeting the expectations of his fan base.
Not surprisingly, Clemson has reached that level with an Alabama guy--Dabo Swinney--running the program.
The problem at Alabama is that Coach Nick Saban has set the bar too high for his successor. Would you like to be the coach who follows someone who has won 7 SEC titles, 5 national championships and is in the discussion when the topic is the "greatest college coach of all time'?
And while Alabama right now is a great job, Saban's success has been so overwhelming that anything less than a Final Four bid is regarded as an "off year'' at Alabama.
Swinney still has some wiggle room.
Swinney's footprints at Clemson aren't quite as prominent. Although, with a national championship game appearance two years ago, a national championship last season and a No. 2 ranking (behind Alabama) this season, Clemson has moved into the neighborhood.
And if there is a difference which moves Clemson to the top, it is the $55 million dollar football complex which opened last winter and has more amenities for the Tiger players than some 5-star vacation resorts.
Forget about the standard stuff such as weight room, dining room, meeting room and coaches offices. Lots of schools can claim state of the art facilities in those areas.
Clemson offers mini golf, a golf simulator, laser tag, a bowling alley, volleyball court and a 24-seat HD theater. It offers comfort and security.
If you are asking yourself what does this have to do with being a student at a university, you ask a valid question. But FBS football at the highest level has become an arms race, with schools such as Oregon, Alabama and Texas, to mention a few, matching each other in "extras'' as enticements for players.
What makes Clemson even more attractive for a new coach or new recruits, is the atmosphere around campus and in the town of Clemson. It is a college town with an SEC--more so than ACC-- tilt. The school's academic standards are flexible enough to allow all level of recruits into the program.
Swinney has made Clemson the ultimate destination job in college football.
And while the debate will continue through this season and beyond about the No. 1 TEAM in college football and could very well come down to a rubber championship game match in Atlanta in January, Clemson now has the edge as the most attractive job in college football.
The College Football Playoff Selection committee is not scheduled for its first official meeting of the season until Halloween weekend. Here's what looks like the biggest battle. Deciding the No. 1 seed between Alabama and Clemson. Why is that a big deal? Well, the two playoff bowls are the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on January 1 this season. The No. 1 seed goes to the closest bowl--Sugar for both teams. Both teams obviously would prefer to play there, rather than make the trip across the country to the Rose Bowl. How about this for a New Year's Day Final Four---Alabama vs. Penn State in the Sugar Bowl and Clemson vs. Washington in the Rose Bowl?[/membership]