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15 reasons NFL coaches don't want to become college football coaches

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When NFL coaches leave for college jobs, it's usually because they aren't winning many games anyway. If Jim Harbaugh does it, it'll be because he is an unusual guy.

1. NFL coaches are richer.

According to one list, the average NFL coach makes $4.9 million. The average SEC coach makes $1.2 million less, and every other conference trails the SEC. Alabama's Nick Saban makes $7 million, but nobody else is close to the top of the NFL.

2. Recruiting takes forever.

NFL media types have the notion that college coaches spend summer shootin' the breeze on the golf course. Maybe Steve Spurrier does.

College coaches spend every hour not devoted to team stuff or sleeping/eating stuff on evaluating high schoolers and telling them where to attend college.

"When you're a college coach and the last game is done and then the bowl game comes, you don't have a month off," Chip Kelly has said. "I would argue my schedule was more hectic from a recruiting standpoint than it [is with the Eagles]."

3. Recruiting is weird.

You have to be familiar with rappers one third your age. You have to know how to use every social media thing the teenagers are into as of right now. You have to make funny doodles that stand out from all the other letters these kids are getting from your indistinguishable competitors. You have to go to high school games the Friday night before your Saturday noon kickoff. You have to be a heartless commander of warriors one day a week and the state's best grandma charmer the other six.

And that's the normal stuff. It gets way weirder.

4. Recruiting means everything is your fault.

If your players aren't smart or talented or durable or plentiful enough to run your amazing schemes, there's no general manager to take the fall. You spend half your living hours doing GM stuff. You should've GM'd better players.

5. Recruiting is hard.

When an NFL team wants a player, it tells him he'll love it here and this roster is one piece away from championships. But it often just offers him more money.

When a college team wants a player, it tells him he'll love it here and this roster is one piece away from championships. But it often just offers him more money; don't get caught.

6. College roster management is hard.

In the NFL, your team has 53 players and some other guys. They can stay for one day or a couple decades. At any point, even during a season, you can get rid of any players and add other ones. You can trade stuff for another team's players.

In college, your team has a dozen or a hundred players or so. You can only add a certain number of players per year. The only way you can add during a season is to import a kicker from the soccer team or something. Every year, you will have fewer people on your roster in November than you had in February, since anyone who quits or gets booted or transfers or gets hurt can't be replaced by a free agent.

7. Coaching college players is hard.

While NFL players don't have to practice around the clock, they have to treat football as a full-time job.

College players, usually full-time college students, can only ("only") practice for 20 hours a week, tops. Coaches often literally don't have time to fix the bad habits and poor technique those players picked up in high school. Fans do not accept this as an excuse.

8. Recruiting is unfair.

If your college team is bad, good recruits won't want to play for it. College football is designed for your 0-12 team to maybe go 5-7 once you get your system implemented and can thus be fired.

If your NFL team is the worst in the whole league, you are given the No. 1 recruit with no strings attached. The NFL is designed for every team to finish between 7-9 and 9-7, and who fires a coach with nine wins? Nebraska, a college team, that's who.

9. Everything else is unfair, too.

Each NFL team has the same salary cap, roster size, TV revenue, equipment deals, conference rules, and so on.

Each college team is unique and has its own list of challenges. Maybe your state never produces elite high school quarterbacks. Maybe your stadium is an hour away from campus, so students never come to games, which hurts revenue and recruiting. Maybe your school requires players to take calculus. Maybe all the high school coaches in your state hate your team because of the idiot before you. Maybe your recruiting rivals all play in prettier towns. Maybe your fans are old and won't let Nike give you the ugly uniforms that all the recruits want to wear. Maybe your weight room is 30 years old. Maybe your school has a decades-long infatuation with Winning Specifically Like The Guy We Built A Statue Of Did; winning any other way doesn't really count.

If you can't win despite these things, you'll be fired.

If you can land somewhere like Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas, or USC, your list of problems is small. Because of that, you have one big problem: you have to win almost every game every year.

If you don't, you'll be fired.

10. Everyone actually hates it when college coaches discipline players.

Any team at any level will have an arrest or two or 13 each offseason.

In the NFL, you either ignore them or suspend somebody or take the commissioner out for golf, depending on the severity. If it's bad enough, you fire your arrested players. Either way, your fans remain focused on fantasy football.

In college, you can't suspend a player for skipping class without every message board in the state accusing you of having lost control of the program. You can't boot a player without rival coaches telling recruits their scholarship wouldn't be safe in your hands. On the flip side, you can do the thing coaches have been doing for decades, which is making really good friends with local law enforcement, but that runs the risk of actual terrible things happening.

11. NFL coaches don't have to worry about academics.

Hate the NFL Draft process? It has nothing on college football, where a player can be unable to even enter the university if he's bad at school. While NFL scouts worry about whether a player's hips are too angular or whatever, college scouts (aka the coaches) have to worry about defensive tackles getting good enough ACT scores to make bargains with the admissions department.

And once players get in, coaches have to spend at least three years worrying about tutors and professors and grades for all of them. Coaches can hire people to handle that stuff, but those people might be bad at cheating.

12. College football is in strange places.

The NFL has a couple oddball cities, but its teams are in places lots of people like to live. Several power-conference college programs are hours away from anything. Even if you don't live in one, you'll travel to road games in them.

Also, NFL coaches travel by jet everywhere, when they even travel at all. They don't have to recruit, you'll recall. College coaches travel by every vehicle known to humanity like every day of their lives.

13. Almost half of the NFL goes to the playoffs.

A college football team can win almost all of its games and have to go to the Bitcoin Bowl.

An NFL team can lose half or more of its games and be three wins from the Super Bowl.

14. NFL coaches don't get banned from the playoffs for breaking rules.

What's best for the NCAA's business is not getting sued too much for not allowing players to be paid, which means punishing certain teams by taking away their postseasons. Those things are connected somehow. Try not to think about it.

15. The bigger your school is, the more people who can get you fired.

An NFL coach has an owner and a general manager, and they won't fire you as long as the fans buy tickets.

A college coach has an athletic director and an ocean of other people who can try to get the athletic director to fire you. This includes boosters, regents, school presidents, important local cults, your school's NFL alumni who liked their college coach more than they like you, professors who are worked up about your players going rogue, energy-vampire student groups who think colleges should be used for school stuff, the NCAA, and so on.

More: How to be a college coach who doesn't get fired for a while