A half-dozen college football reporters and analysts sat around a big picnic table inside an Oxford, Mississippi, restaurant. It was Halloween night, and Will Muschamp was on the verge of being fired at Florida. That led to a spirited conversation about just how good the Florida job was, circa November 2014.
Where did it stack up with others? What made it good? Where had it fallen behind peers in the SEC and nationally?
Our debate, as you well know, was not unique. It has manifested itself in myriad places. Just sub Florida for any number of schools and replace our dinner table with tailgate tents, barstools, offices, churches, etc., etc.
That conversation stuck with me: Why not create a ranking system of every Power 5 job? I enlisted four ESPN colleagues -- Chris Low, Brett McMurphy, Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlabach -- to help poll coaches and industry sources and provide their insight.
The central question: If every Power 5 job came open tomorrow, which would be the most desirable? Which would be least appealing? And where does your team fall?
Though each person weighs things differently -- that's why it's such a subjective, hot-button topic for debate -- the criteria is roughly the same. It includes factors such as location, administrative stability, support from that administration, facilities, recruiting base, path to conference titles/playoff, sense of tradition, fervor of the fan base, too much fervor from the fan base ...
We hope and believe we have provided an intelligent and accurate overview of the Power 5 jobs in college football, from worst to best.
Tier 10: The worst
Put bluntly, these are the worst jobs in major college football. But hey, they're still major college football jobs.
65. Wake Forest
Wake was nearly a consensus No. 65, and that's not a good thing. It's not in a terribly difficult league, and yet the academically stringent private school colloquially known as "Work Forest" is all but invisible -- to recruits and the general public -- in its state and region, let alone nationally. Put it this way: When we asked a room of several assistant coaches which program they thought would be last in our polling, they didn't respond with Wake -- because they had forgotten that Wake was a Power 5 school. Really, history just might show that Jim Grobe, who was 77-82 in 13 seasons and took the Deacons to five bowl games (including the BCS's Orange Bowl in '06), was more of a miracle worker than anyone truly recognized at the time.