UW head football coach Steve Sarkisian.

If the Washington Huskies football team ends up losing Saturday at the Las Vegas Bowl, head coach Steve Sarkisian probably won’t be the most well-liked guy in town.

That’s O.K., though — in Twitter-land, he’ll still be one of the most-popular coaches in the nation.

According to a USA Today ranking of the college football coaches with the most Twitter followers, Sarkisian ranks fifth among all coaches with 43,290 followers and is one of only two Pac-12 head coaches in the top ten. Washington State head coach Mike Leach ranked eighth with 40,561 followers. Note: Oregon’s Chip Kelly does not have a Twitter.

The thing about head coach Twitter accounts in college football is that they’re usually run by a school social media guy. Read through @CoachSark’s latest Tweets and it’s clear that the person Tweeting is likely not Sarkisian himself. In the end, his account is really used as a recruiting tool more than anything.

An authentic Tweet from UW head men’s golf coach Matt Thurmond

And that’s too bad. Whether your followers are recruits, fans or sports journalists — I covered the Huskies for The UW Daily —  I think there are advantages for everyone in allowing coaches to let their personality and private lives out a little bit. Recruits learn more about their potential coach, fans get what sometimes feels like an “exclusive” look, and sports journalists can use that content as “quotes,” essentially.

Having all your coaches active and authentic on social media is just “hip.” For teens — yes, I’m talking about recruits — there’s just something neat about following a coach on Twitter. Nothing beats in-person interaction, but you might be able to get a better vibe or perspective about a potential coach via Twitter.

Interestingly, all the other UW coaches with Twitters and even men’s hoops coach Lorenzo Romar appear to be “themselves” when Tweetin’. I love how you can learn about what head women’s soccer coach Lesle Gallimore’s dog looks like or find out how the White Elephant gift exchange went for golf coach Matt Thurmond or track and field coach Greg Metcalf.

It’s just different than Sark’s Twitter, which feels plastic and seems more like a tool for him to Tweet out news content from his “personal” blog, CoachSark.com.

Coach Sarkisian has an impressive “personal” blog

On the other hand, the website is really incredible for a college coach. The interface and layout are first-class, and ten tabs lead to content-rich pages like “Dawg’s Life,” and “Huskies in the Pros.” There are tons of well-produced videos all over the site and we all know how much teenagers love visual content these days. If I was a budding high school athlete trying to find a school, there’s no doubt that the site would impress me. In a business-sense — college football does seem to be like a business more and more every day — the website does a great job of building up the Coach Sark “brand.”

Aside from that, I’m wondering what the number of followers says about Sark and the UW fan base. Does it mean Husky fans and alumni tend to be on Twitter more often? Did the UW just do a better job of social media penetration and “branding” than the other schools? Or do people just really love Sark?

Other football coaches rounding out the top five in the USA Today list are LSU’s Les Miles (@LSUCoachMiles at 87,448 followers); Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly at 81,857); Georgia’s Mark Richt (@MarkRicht at 55,205 followers); and Tennessee’s Butch Jones at  (52,579 followers).

Previously on GeekWire: Twitter limit: University of Washington caps live game coverage for media, threatens credential revocation… Washington football players get their faces on NCAA Football ’13 covers

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