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An Embarrassment of Riches

While everyone has their favorite candidates for the premier football coaching position in New Jersey, one thing we should be able to appreciate is the caliber of the candidates at hand.

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We're a few days into the search for Kyle Flood's replacement and we're seeing a remarkable paradigm shift from past Rutgers football coaching searches.

While Greg Schiano was a slam dunk hire, he was by far the most prestigious coach on our radar. Today? Notable names include both National championship coordinators, Miami's most recent head coach and one of the all-time Rutgers greats.

No, none of these coaches are perfect. None are. However, we are truly in a new golden age of Rutgers hiring. Let's take a look at the rumored candidates and why they could be great for dear Old Rutgers.

Greg Schiano

Will the old boss come back for another round of pigskin adventures? At this point, it's looking less likely, but every Rutgers coaching conversation is going to start with Schiano. The guys is already a legend and will never have to pay for a drink in the Garden State. He coached some of the best defenses in college football and brought Rutgers football into the era of big time college football. His return would immediately make Rutgers a team to be respected in the Big Ten and would provide a big boost to recruiting. Plus, you know the guy runs a tight ship - no more arrests, no more suspensions. With a few years around The League and working the coaching circuits, he looks like a coach with the same fire, but more perspective on his craft. Come on home Greg!

Al Golden

Schiano 2.0 is a great defensive coach, runs a clean program, and is nothing if not a snappy dresser. Just like Schiano brought Rutgers back from the ashes, Golden did the same with Temple. Yeah, he had a tough run with a near-Death Penalty Miami squad, but the guy has Jersey roots and has experience running two major college football programs. If Golden can recruit anywhere near the level he did at Miami, a better situation overall at Rutgers could lead to a really high-end future for the program. At this point, Golden is making more and more sense, with message board rumors heating up about mutual interest between Golden and Hobb's search committee.

Matt Rhule

While everything points to Rhule staying with the Temple program he's taken to new heights, he is still in play and crazier things have happened. No matter what, it's hard to not appreciate the work that Rhule has done with his tenure at Temple, both in a Head Coach and Assistant capacity. The guy took the work that Golden and Addazio did and realized the vision of Temple as a legit major football power. Yes, power. If Rutgers were to swing a deal with Matt Rhule, The State University of New Jersey would have one of the top up-and-coming coaches in all of college football. One who is familiar with the recruiting profile of New Jersey - especially South Jersey - and who understands the challenges of running a program in the northeast.

Chris Ash

Apparently there are no pictures of Chris Ash on the internet...

Apparently there are no pictures of Chris Ash on the internet, so here's Urban Meyer and Sad Kyle Flood.

A name that came out of nowhere, Ash's candidacy seems to be gaining steam. A top-flight defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer, his career has followed a similar trajectory to Greg Schiano's early years. Ash brings tons of Big Ten experience from Ohio State and Wisconsin, including a potential glut of assistant coaches ready to take the next step up in their respective careers. He's seen how a first-class organization is run and learned from the best in the business. Most importantly, Ash recently bowed out of the Syracuse coaching search, so he clearly has common sense (that Carrier Dome, right?). Wouldn't it be the greatest thing ever if Ash were to turn down Sorrycuse in order to accept the job at Rutgers and continue the Scarlet Knight's upward trajectory, while Syracuse continues to spiral towards obscurity? Delicious.

Ed Warriner

Maybe this is Ed Warriner?

Maybe this is Ed Warriner?

This rat bastard is the one who keeps stealing Jersey's top recruits for Ohio State. So, if you can't beat 'em, hire 'em! Warriner is another Meyer disciple who brings big-time coaching experience at a premier program to the table, as well as familiarity and relationships with high school programs throughout the Garden State. Pretty much everything that can be said about Ash can be said about Warriner. While he seems to be a secondary OSU candidate to Ash, his resume is certainly impressive, with stops over 30+ years at Notre Dame, Michigan State and Illinois. You think he's had some time to think about how he would run a program?

PJ Fleck

Energy, energy, energy. Our old Wide Receivers coach is an outside candidate for the job and would bring an immediate caffeine boost to the Scarlet Knights' program. Fleck has done some miracle work at Western Michigan and is regarded as an exceptional recruiter. While he's on the young side for this search, he's one of those coaches who has a very high ceiling and who would make waves at Rutgers. It's hard not to get excited about an individual like PJ, and he comes with a pretty great meme.

Mario Cristobal

While Cristobal's name hasn't surfaced much recently, the amazing work he did at FIU and the experiences he's gained working for Nick Saban make him another great candidate on the radar. As an assistant at Rutgers, he graded positively and has always been a strong recruiter. With deep roots in Florida and an elite ability to connect with recruits, Cristobal could be a great long-term program builder. With the resources at hand over the coming years at Rutgers, one wonders what he would be able to do with the talent that turned FIU into a reasonable approximation of a football team.

In summary, we win. We win! We win! We Win!

There aren't too many names on this list that don't inspire some serious levels of confidence and Rutgers should be in great hands moving forward.

Got a favorite candidate? Any other coaches floating around the rumor mill? Anyone you'd like to see in the big chair? Hit up the poll below and let us know what you think in the comments!

Onwards and upwards Rutgers fans! There are good times ahead.