Winning a national title is no easy task. Realistically, there are only 10 programs each season that have a shot at winning it all, though that list can look slightly different each and every year.
The standard programs like Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Florida State, and the now-obvious addition of Clemson, always seem to be part of that list. Other teams have proven capable of positioning themselves for a title run, too.
By now, college football fans are all aware that Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Bob Stoops, Les Miles and Jimbo Fisher have etched their names in the history books in recent years, and all have a shot at another title run in 2016.
But which coaches are on their way to winning their first national title?
Here are the next five coaches who will win their first NCAA title.
5. Clemson's Dabo Swinney
After falling just short of a title this past season, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney sounds like the obvious choice here. The Tigers return plenty of talent for the 2016 college football season and, as it sits today, have the second-best odds to hoist the College Football Playoff trophy when it's all said and done.
">April 21, 2016
Swinney has continued to solidify his program as one of the nation's best, both on the field and on the recruiting trail - the two most crucial aspects of every title contender.Whether or not the Tigers get it done in 2016, expect Swinney to join the club sooner than later.
Next: No. 4 Brian Kelly >>>4. Notre Dame's Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly is yet another head coach that fell short of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the title game, though "just short" wouldn't exactly describe how far away the Irish were from a title that year. All title game discussions aside, Kelly and the his Fighting Irish were there, and have an opportunity to make a similar run in the coming years.
">June 21, 2016
Notre Dame consistently recruits at a high level under Kelly, not to mention having complete control over its scheduling, so it's not that far-fetched to imagine the Irish back in the title game sometime soon. The thing to keep an eye on in the coming years is whether or not ND will have to fold and join one of the Power 5 conferences. With the SEC, Big 10 and, at this point, the ACC basically getting automatic bids, it puts them in a difficult position against the Big 12 and the Pac-12 for the final spot in the Playoff. With all that being said, Kelly is in prime position to make a run in South Bend.Next: No. 3 Michigan's Jim Harbaugh >>>3. Michigan's Jim HarbaughYes, Jim Harbaugh has only coached one full season at Michigan, one that has Wolverines fans excited for the future. But it's more than what the Wolverines did on the football field that has fans excited. It's Harbaugh's determination to resurrect one of the biggest programs in all of college football.
Harbaugh has already proven more than capable on the recruiting trail, too, adding the No. 1 overall recruit to his 2016 class which finished Signing Day as the No. 5 class in the country by 247 Sports. As we've stressed before, recruiting means everything in college football, and Harbaugh is not afraid to do the leg work. Despite having to battle the likes of Ohio State and Michigan State every season, expect Harbaugh to make his mark at some point in the near future.
Next: No. 2 Georgia's Kirby Smart >>>2. Georgia's Kirby Smart
I know, I know.. Kirby Smart hasn't even coached a game at Georgia, but the Dawgs are already in great position for future success. Not only do the Dawgs dominate the recruiting trail in the talent-rich state of Georgia, but Smart also spent years under Nick Saban in Alabama witnessing what it takes to become an elite program. It would be silly to think he won't implement some of those things in Athens.
">April 13, 2016
For somebody who has yet to take the field as a head coach, Smart's coaching pedigree is impressive. As a key assistant, he was part of all four of Alabama's national titles under Saban. He has also spent time at LSU and Florida State. Recruiting has been a huge part of his success, and that has already been apparent at Georgia. UGA currently has the No. 5 class in the country for 2017, and this after pulling in five-star quarterback Jacob Eason in 2016, who many consider to be the best signal caller in the class.Don't be surprised if the Dawgs make noise in the coming years.Next: No. 1 ??? >>>1. Tennessee's Butch JonesWith all the hype surrounding the Tennessee Volunteers ahead of the 2016 college football season, it shouldn't surprise anybody that Butch Jones makes this list. The Vols return tons of talent this season including starting quarterback Joshua Dobbs and running back Jalen Hurd, a duo talented enough to win the SEC.
">April 16, 2016
But Jones' success extends beyond the expectations for 2016 - he has been building a contender since arriving on campus in 2013 and doesn't appear to be slowing down. Tennessee recruits well enough under Jones to compete in the toughest conference in all of college football, so it only makes sense that that momentum could carry him to a national title.
Whether or not the Vols get it done in 2016, don't be surprised to see Jones hoisting the trophy at some point in the future.