Power Ranking The Most Desirable NFL and College Head Coaching Jobs That Are (Or Will Likely Be) Open This Offseason

Not all head coaching jobs are created equal. Some jobs are simply better, for any numbers of reasons. Some college football jobs are better than NFL jobs because it's easier to win and schools invest a tremendous amount of resources. Several high-profile jobs are already open, or are highly likely to come up by the end of the season. We've narrowed it down to the Top 12 jobs, although this will likely expand as the season progresses. With that in mind, here are The Most Desirable NFL and College Head Coaching Jobs That Are (Or Will Likely Be) Open This Offseason:

12. South Carolina Gamecocks

After Steve Spurrier's surprising resignation, the Gamecocks are searching for a head coach. Filling the shoes of the 'Ol Ball Coach will be a tough task. It's not easy to win at South Carolina and Clemson has passed the Gamecocks as the top team in the state. Still, it's an SEC job that a good coach can have plenty of success with. 

Top 3 Candidates: 

Kirby Smart, Alabama defensive coordinator

Smart seems like the perfect fit for the Gamecocks, as he has an SEC and defensive background. However, Smart has stayed at Alabama despite several chance to leave. It's unclear if he'll leave for South Carolina. 

Tom Herman, Houston Cougars head coach

Herman's name will appear often on this list and for good reason. He has a bright future ahead of him.

Justin Fuente, Memphis Tigers head coach

Like Herman, Fuente will be a popular name this offseason. He has a good thing going at Memphis, but the allure of an SEC school might be enough to get him to leave. 

11. Missouri Tigers

Whoever gets this job has massive shoes to fill. Gary Pinkel will resign at the end of the season because of health issues. Pinkel turned Missouri into a true threat in both the Big 12 and SEC. You can win at Missouri, but it's not as easy as Pinkel made it look. He's that talented of a coach. Still, the allure of an SEC job will be intriguing. 

Top 3 Candidates: 

Tom Herman, Houston Cougars head coach 

Missouri's current AD hired Herman at Houston, which could give the Tigers a boost. 

Matt Campbell, Toledo Rockets head coach

Campbell will be a hot name, and Missouri could choose to dip in the Toledo pipeline again after striking gold with Pinkel.

Justin Fuente, Memphis Tigers head coach

Another young coach that will be a popular name this offseason. Fuente has a bright future and has the making of a future SEC coach. 

10. Virginia Tech Hokies

Three straight teams needing to replace a beloved coach. Frank Beamer had a hell of a run at Virginia Tech, but the time had come for him to leave. Plus, the Hokies were on the decline. His early resignation allows AD Whit Babcock extra time to explore the coaching options. Winning at VT is doable, but it takes the right coach. Beamer set high expectations, and the new coach will be held to those. 

Top 3 Candidates: 

Justin Fuente, Memphis head coach

Fuente would be a good fit in VT. He’d be a perfect replacement for Beamer.

Bud Foster, Virginia Tech defensive coordinator 

Foster has been the long-time DC for the Hokies. He's worthy of a head coaching job and could have left, but instead stayed with VT. Because the Hokies have struggled a bit in recent seasons, that might hurt Foster's chances.

Rich Rodriguez, Arizona head coach

This one might be a bit of a reach, but it does make sense. Rich Rod knows Babcock from their time together at West Virginia and Rodriguez knows the area well. However, it would be a bit of a lateral move. 

9. Cleveland Browns 

The Browns are the lowest NFL team for several reasons. They don’t have a QB of the future, as it doesn’t look like Johnny Manziel is the answer. The upper management constantly shuffles through head coaches and doesn’t provide a “winning environment.” It’s not a great job, which is why the Browns might have to settle for a head coach if/when they fire Mike Pettine.

Top 3 Candidates:

Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator 

McDaniels will get another shot as a head coach in the near future. With the Patriots offense humming along, that might be at the end of this season. McDaniels struggled in Denver, but he's earned another shot. 

Adam Gase, Bears offensive coordinator 

Gase nearly took the 49ers job last season, but the team and Gase couldn't agree on a defensive coordinator. Gase's stock has stayed high with the Bears. However, it's unclear if Gase would even want the Browns job. 

Teryl Austin, Lions defensive coordinator 

Austin has a bright future, and it's frankly a bit surprising he hasn't taken over as the interim Lions head coach. If the Browns can't get one of their top targets, a coach like Austin would be a good backup. 

8. Washington Redskins

The Redskins haven’t fostered a strong environment, in large part because of Dan Snyder. Things are looking up now that Scot McCloughan is the general manager, but it’s still not an ideal head coaching gig. There also isn’t a franchise QB, because Kirk Cousins isn’t the answer. McCloughan didn't hire Jay Gruden, which means he could want his own coach. 

Top 3 Candidates:

Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator

McDaniels appears once more and it's not the last time he will. Washington has some young talent, and McDaniels could be a good fit. Of course, that assumes he wants the job. 

Doug Marrone, Jaguars assistant coach

Marrone had done well with the Bills, before deciding he didn't want to be a head coach for Buffalo anymore. He'll get another shot in the future. 

Art Briles, head coach Baylor

This is really only an option if Snyder demands Robert Griffin III get another chance. That's unlikely. 

7. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have taken quite the fall without Jim Harbaugh. Part of that is coaching and part of that is the team has suffered numerous personnel losses. It’s not a terrible job, but the front office hired a yes-man in Jim Tomsula for a reason. Plus, the 49ers QB situation is murky, as Blaine Gabbert isn't the answer and it doesn't look like Colin Kaepernick is anymore either. 

Top 3 Candidates:

Adam Gase, Bears offensive coordinator

The 49ers nearly hired Gase last season, so perhaps they'll hire him if the job comes up again this offseason. 

Darrell Bevell, Seahawks offensive coordinator

Bevell has his naysayers, but he's advanced this far for a reason. He'll be a head coach at some point. Perhaps the 49ers will try to steal him away from their rival. 

Hue Jackson, Bengals offensive coordinator

Jackson will appear on this list again, because he's going to be one of the hottest names this offseason. He's done wonders with the Bengals and did well with the Raiders in his limited time. Perhaps a return to the Bay Area is in his future. 

6. Miami Hurricanes

Head coach of the Hurricanes was once a great job. Not so much anymore, in part because Miami has been lapped in the facility race. The school didn't invest in it's athletic program the way others did. However, Miami still has some name recognition and there is a fertile recruiting base to tap into. The right coach can win big at Miami. 

Top 3 Candidates:

Mario Cristobal, Alabama offensive line coach

Don't let Cristobal's lack of coordinator job fool you. He'd be a perfect fit for Miami and he reportedly wants the job. The Miami alumnus and former Miami coach was doing well at FIU before the school foolishly fired him. 

Greg Schiano, former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach

Schiano is going to be a head coach again, despite a disastrous run with the Bucs. However, he did wonders at Rutgers and served as Miami's DC in the past.  

Rob Chudzinski, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator

Another Miami grad, Chudzinski could be a good fit. His last college coaching job was with Miami, before he jumped to the NFL. He wasn't given a fair shot as Browns head coach. He knows Miami and could help rebuild the Hurricanes. 

5. USC Trojans

The Trojans have whiffed on their last two coaching hires, but they're getting another shot. Don't expect Chip Kelly to be the next coach, but USC could still aim him. You can win big at USC, which is why many big names coaches have been linked to the job. 

Top 3 Candidates: 

Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M head coach

USC pursued Sumlin hard last time and they'll likely try again this time. It all depends on if Sumlin wants the job. 

Clay Helton, Interim USC head coach

Helton has stepped up twice as an interim for USC. Perhaps the Trojans will reward Helton with the full-time gig this time. If USC keeps winning, Helton might earn the job. 

Tim Drevno, Michigan offensive coordinator

A source told Chat Sports that USC is targeting Drevno. Drevno has coached under Jim Harbaugh for over a decade and has coached at USC. 

4. Detroit Lions

The Lions have their issues, but they're high in the rankings because of Matt Stafford. He's a franchise QB, despite his issues. Many coaches will believe they can get the most out of Stafford, so the Lions should have options. It seems like it's only a matter of time before Jim Caldwell is canned, as the Lions have not played up to their talent so far. 

Kyle Shanahan, Falcons offensive coordinator 

Shanahan has helped the Falcons' running game in a huge way, and that's exactly what the Lions needs. Shanahan will be a head coach at some point in the near future. 

Teryl Austin, Lions defensive coordinator 

Austin should probably already be the interim head coach. He's hurt by the Lions' struggles, but he has a bright future. 

Hue Jackson, Bengals offensive coordinator 

Given how well Jackson has done with Andy Dalton, he could do amazing things with Stafford. Don't be surprised if Jackson at least gets an interview. 

3. Tennessee Titans

The Titans haven't been good in a few years, but they have something other teams don't: a franchise QB. Marcus Mariota has a bright future, and the ability to not have to worry about finding a QB will entice many coaches. 

Top 3 Candidates: 

Kyle Shanahan, Falcons offensive coordinator

The Titans reportedly like the son of Mike Shanahan and for good reason. Kyle will be a head coach at some point soon and he could have success with Mariota. 

Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator

McDaniels could get the Titans job and never have to worry about finding a QB. That was his downfall with Denver. 

Adam Gase, Bears offensive coordinator

Gase has worked with several talented QBs and he could get the most out of Mariota. Whomever the Titans hire, expect them to do so with Mariota in mind. 

2. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are ahead of the Titans because they are close to being a playoff team. That's something the Titans aren't right now. Ryan Tannehill is already a franchise QB, despite some hiccups this season. The Dolphins job will be a popular one and Miami needs to get this one right. It can't afford another miss. 

Top 3 Candidates: 

Hue Jackson, Bengals offensive coordinator

I have a sneaking suspicion this one is going to happen. Jackson is going to make a great head coach if given the chance and he could do great things in Miami. 

Dan Campbell, Dolphins interim head coach

Campbell is coaching for the gig right now and he's done pretty well so far. Still, the Dolphins might look to hire somebody else, unless Campbell gets them to the playoffs. 

Sean Payton, Saints head coach

Payton might be unhappy in New Orleans and the Dolphins will inquire about Payton. Miami would love to get Payton for obvious reasons, but Payton might not want to coach in Miami. 

1. Indianapolis Colts

This situation is very similar to the Jim Harbaugh scenario from last season. Chuck Pagano is a good coach, but he just isn't getting along with the front office. Pagano's contract expires after the season and he might elect to coach elsewhere next year. The Colts are already a playoff team and have one of the best young QBs in the NFL in Andrew Luck. If this job comes up, it'll be the most sought-after job by far. 

Top 3 Candidates: 

Sean Payton, Saints head coach

If Payton leaves the Saints, he'll want to go to a place he can win now. The Colts are the best option and Payton would love to coach Luck and make him the best QB in the league. T

Adam Gase, Bears offensive coordinator

Gase would be perfect for the Colts if they don't hire a bigger name. He'd be able to get the most out of Luck and has already been linked to the team.

Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator

Stealing a bright young mind away from the Patriots would go over very well with the Colts' fanbase. They hate New England. McDaniels would love to coach Luck (as would everyone). 

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Related Topics: College Football, NFL 2015, Josh McDaniels, Kirby Smart, Sean Payton, Matt Campbell, Justin Fuente, Hue Jackson, Tom Herman, Adam Gase, Kyle Shanahan