The SEC has two head coaching jobs open this year: South Carolina and Missouri. Unless Ray Tanner decides to go with interim head coach Shawn Elliott, the two schools will be competing for the same guys like Memphis's Justin Fuente and Houston's Tom Herman.
Naturally, there will be argument over which job is "better". I whipped up a quick tale of the tape comparison to aid to that end:
|Your New Home||Columbia, Missouri||Columbia, South Carolina|
|Program All-Time Record||663–534–53 (.552)||587–559–44 (.512)|
|Division/Conference Titles||Four division, 15 conference||One division, one conference|
|Bowls, Last 10 Years||Eight||Eight||Push|
|2014 Money Spent on Athletics||$80,230,179||$95,762,786|
|Your New Boss||Mack Rhoades||Ray Tanner||Push|
|Your Boss's Boss||TBD||Harris Pastides|
|You'll Be Following:||Winningest head coach ever||Winningest head coach ever||Push|
|Assistants You'd Want to Retain||DC Barry Odom, DL Craig Kuligowski, really anyone on defense||OL Shawn Elliott, if he'd stay|
|Team F/+ Rank||72||82|
|S&P+ Offense Rank||124||67|
|S&P+ Defense Rank||12||87|
|2012-15 Recruiting Class Avg. per 247Sports Composite||34.5||18.8|
|Recruiting Grounds||MO, IL, TX, TN, GA, FL||SC, NC, GA, FL, VA|
|Avg. In-State Top 247 Recruits 2013-16||3.8||10|
I rated the ADs as a push because while Rhoades has a good history from Houston, he's not been at Mizzou very long. Tanner doesn't have that history as a former baseball coach, but he's been around his Columbia longer and can relate to what it's like to be a coach.
Missouri has a better history, and it's probably better set up to win now with a well stocked defense and an entire defensive staff you'd want to retain, if possible. South Carolina has a more stable administration, spends more money, and has more talent nearby. Granted, there is more competition for that talent with Clemson, Georgia, Florida State, and Florida as regional powers who mine the same areas, but the talent being closer to South Carolina makes a difference. Most recruits prefer to stay close to home if at all possible.
All else equal, I might give a slight edge to South Carolina. But in coaching searches, all else is never equal.
"Fit" is both an overused cliché and an underrated factor in head coaching changes. It really does matter. Rich Rodriguez is the canonical example, having taken West Virginia and Arizona to big money bowl games while bombing at Michigan.
Take Fuente. He is from Oklahoma and has spent his entire coaching career in the middle of the country at Illinois State, TCU, and Memphis. Geography and local familiarity helps but isn't everything, of course. Nick Saban had no ties to Louisiana before succeeding at LSU, nor Urban Meyer at Florida to name two.
But on top of having geography on his side, Fuente employed Barry Odom as his defensive coordinator at Memphis until Odom took the same job at Mizzou this year. If Fuente can convince Odom to stay, he might also be able to keep most, if not all, of the great defensive staff around. That would give him a leg up, considering the defense isn't what's broken at MU. For Fuente, Missouri might be a better fit than South Carolina.
There are a lot of jobs open already this year, and more might be coming. Regardless of which order you put them in, Missouri and South Carolina are two of the best.