Michigan State Lands in Tier Three of College Football Jobs

McLain Moberg

Adam Rittenberg, a Senior Writer at ESPN, sorted the best college football coaching jobs into tiers, putting the Michigan State Spartans in tier three.

Other schools in the same tier are Arizona State, Baylor, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, TCU, Utah, and UCLA.

His criteria for tiers one, two, and three are the following.

"Tier 1 jobs: Great location with excellent access to elite regional and national recruits; strong infrastructure and commitment from university and athletic administration; few financial limitations on assistant coach and staff hires; history as a top-5 program (recent or long term)."

"Tier 2 jobs: Very good location and/or access to top 300 recruits; no major limitations around facilities, coaching salaries or support staff; the ability to win a national title occasionally and compete regularly for conference championships; consistent top-20 finishes (recent or long term)."

"Tier 3 jobs: Good location and/or access to regional recruits; solid facilities and salary pool for assistants and support staff; adequate administrative/fan support with occasional challenges; a place that should regularly contend for division titles and occasionally win the league with a College Football Playoff appearance as a realistic ceiling."

Ohio State is a tier one program, whereas Michigan and Penn State are listed at the tier two level. The rest of the conference, excluding MSU, Iowa, and Wisconsin, are spread out between tiers 4-5.

When describing why he felt MSU was a tier three coaching job, Rittenberg had this to say, "Wisconsin's position underscores the differences between most successful programs and best jobs. The Badgers boast 13 top-20 finishes since 1993. But coaches must embrace the Wisconsin way, which means winning without many nationally ranked recruits, over-the-top facilities, or limitless financial resources. ... Stanford is another job with recent on-field success and several clear pluses (location, first-class athletic department, finances) but also drawbacks (limited recruiting pool, small fan base). ... Other solid, stable programs fueled by player development include Utah, Iowa, Oklahoma State, and Michigan State. All four have contended for the CFP or BCS title game, with Michigan State reaching the CFP in 2015. Also, all four either have long-tenured coaches or, in MSU's case, just had one retire."

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