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The grandfather of Conference USA Football: Southern Miss is still a great job

Southern Miss has just about everything you could ask for in a G5 program.

Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

Southern Miss is the only original member left in Conference USA. They lead the conference in CUSA Championships (5), bowl appearances (22) and bowl wins (10).

As the grandfather of CUSA they will always be synonymous with CUSA football no matter what conference they may join in the future as some of the conference's most landmark wins are held by Southern Miss. Alabama in 2000Oklahoma State in 2001, and Nebraska in 2004.

Aside from Marshall, no other team in CUSA can make an argument of having a stronger winning tradition than the Golden Eagles.

PROS

  • Southern Miss has been one of the most reliable G5 teams over the past decade. There's a reason why it was shocking to see the football program plummet to an 0-12 season. That type of apathy doesn't happen there.
  • Brett Favre and Ray Guy are the most famous football alums but there have been a ton of other players to come out of Hattiesburg and make it to the NFL. Since the 2000 NFL Draft, there have been only four drafts that a Southern Miss player didn't get selected in. Defensive Tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches, wide receiver Mike Thomas, and cornerback Kalan Reed made it four years in a row that a USM player got selected in the NFL Draft.
  • The fan support is superb.
  • Recruiting good players to Mississippi isn't too hard as Alabama and Louisiana are nearby if you wish to get talent out of state.
  • Southern Miss just recently upgraded their locker room and strength and conditioning facilities making it among the best in CUSA.
  • Easy path to the CUSA West title as no school in the division has an established winning tradition that rivals Southern Miss other than Louisiana Tech.

CONS

  • It isn't what UAB has to go up against as far as getting attention away from Alabama and Auburn, but Southern Miss is a distant third in the Magnolia State behind Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

Making the case for why Southern Miss is the second best job in CUSA: Jeremy Addock, UDD Managing Editor

If someone does not quickly understand just how good of a job it is to coach Southern Miss, it would be hard for me to respect their opinion on anything. Southern Miss has an incredible history, constantly sends out players to the NFL, and is among the best G5 programs in the nation on a yearly basis. Just don't bring up Ellis Johnson.

I could mention the multiple C-USA titles, 25 bowl berths, or one of the most passionate fan bases in the nation (including P5 programs). But why bore you with those details when I am still holding a pair of aces. Brett Favre and Ray Guy. The greatest punter of all time and arguably the best quarterback of all time are Golden Eagles. Mic drop.

Verdict

Its hard to believe that Southern Miss had one of the worst teams in FBS a few years ago and yet here they are, fresh off an appearance in the CUSA Championship game and the definitive favorite to make a return trip this upcoming season.

You expect to see these type of turnarounds from say a Michigan or an Alabama. Just bring the right coach in and its only matter of time before they are a winning program again. Southern Miss is that program in the G5.

In CUSA West Southern Miss' only competition is Louisiana Tech. We all saw how that played out last year. A path to the conference championship isn't that difficult.

Although conference realignment hasn't been kind to Southern Miss as they have seen the likes of Tulsa, Tulane, and SMU pass them over for greener pastures, no one will mistake those schools as being Southern Miss' superiors as this job is one of the best in the G5.

Steeped in traditions, a known pipeline to getting players to the NFL, great access to talent, and an awesome fan base, Southern Miss is one of the most ideal jobs in the G5 for a coach trying to make a leap to the P5.

Best jobs in CUSA countdown:

14. Rice

13. Charlotte

12. MTSU

11. FIU

10. UAB

9. WKU

8. UTEP

7. UTSA

6. UNT

5. FAU

4. ODU

3. La Tech

2. Southern Miss