Ticket sales haven't been inelastic for the Texas Longhorns since the program began to struggle in the 2010 season, but national perception has been inelastic to a greater extent, as ESPN Insider Travis Haney named the Horns the top job in college football ($).
The criteria? ESPN looked at location, administrative stability, support from those bosses, facilities, recruiting base, path to conference titles/playoff, sense of tradition, fervor of fan base, too much fervor from a fan base, and spoke with college coaches and industry sources to make conclusions.
Sitting at the top of Tier 1, Texas is considered one of five dream jobs in the country -- schools that have every resource and every opportunity to succeed.
The other competition? Alabama, USC, Ohio State, and Florida rounded out the top five.
What kept the Crimson Tide out of the top spot given head coach Nick Saban's recent success and the rabid fanaticism Alabama?
Impossible expectations is one of the only things keeping Bama from the top spot in our rankings.
Given that, here's why Haney and company had the Horns in the top spot:
Ah, we've arrived at our destination. If every Power 5 job suddenly opened tomorrow ... Texas would be the most desirable choice. Even its conference and regional rivals didn't argue much with those results. "I mean, what more could you want?" one Big 12 coach said. Austin is a vibrant, diverse and growing city that is receiving international acclaim; it's a destination for coaches and recruits alike (if only for Franklin Barbeque brisket).
Remarkably enough, Texas is at the top of the list despite the fact that it will arguably feature the third-best facilities in the state once the renovation of Kyle Field is complete:
The facilities aren't brand-new, but they're still among the best in the country. Even so, you're not going to catch the school's brass sitting on its hands -- not with A&M's headline-grabbing stadium project and the acclaim for new venues at Baylor and TCU. Texas let everyone know last summer that it had earmarked $750 million for athletic facilities spending for the next five to 10 years. That includes updates to the football building and some parts of DKR Stadium. The administration is proud enough -- and has deep enough pockets -- to make sure the football program has everything it could possibly need, and more.
So the ability to quickly catch up and upgrade those facilities remains a major advantage in light of much more significant competition there from in-state rivals.
And there are more advantages, to be sure:
As for recruiting, Texas high school football is as close to a minor league feeder as there is for college football. Skill players are especially plentiful -- and quarterbacks, too, though that hasn't been Texas' strong suit in recent years. The Longhorns have a gigantic fan base but it has never been known as particularly exuberant once inside DKR. The "wine-and-cheese" metaphor for North Carolina basketball also works for Texas football, one coach suggested. It's a fairly accurate portrayal, though a counterpoint is that some of that is coach-driven; someone could come in and immediately enthuse the Exes.
The game-day environment is hardly among the best in college football, but the treasure trove of talent in the state of Texas helps keep the Horns in the pole position, especially since no other programs in the state crack the top 10.
Of course, there's also the additional downside -- the crazy political environment situated just off campus. Having a Texas alum as the governor and a Board of Regents more amenable to the true mission statement of the university should help reduce the amount of ridiculous drama caused by Rick Perry and his minions in recent years.
Still, it's a knock on the Horns:
The only discernible downside of the gig is a sometimes turbulent political climate at the university -- where the AD and president, in addition to the head football coach, have been run off in the past year. A powerful or successful enough coach, however, can avoid the political potholes.
In the end, here's the bottom line:
There's pressure involved, sure, but the job also entails myriad perks. The Forty Acres is college football nirvana, all the live long day.
Amen. And hook 'em.