Rankings Of SEC Teams: Hot Seats

I’ve recently discovered that I have more time than I thought. I’m settled in well, and I have time for another big post.

So what I’m going to do is rank some things in the SEC.

I’ll start with coaches’ hot seats.

1) Mark Richt, Georgia

This should not come as a surprise. Richt’s Bulldogs have gone 14-12 in the last two years. Despite the fact that we Gators know that that’s about right for a Georgia team, the athletic office in Athens doesn’t quite think that way. Even 2008 was a disaster. A preseason #1 ranking turned to ashes in a Cocktail Party ambush, a few short weeks after getting beaten at home by Alabama, and a few short weeks before being shocked at home by unranked Georgia Tech. 2009 and 2010 have been far worse, but the point is, it’s been 3 consecutive underachieving seasons for Georgia. If it becomes 4, Mark Richt becomes unemployed. And the par level in Athens is pretty high now. Anything short of winning the SEC East and a win against either Florida or Boise State and he’s probably gone.

2) Derek Dooley, Tennessee

There is a major dropoff from 1 to 2. But it’s pretty clear to see why Dooley is #2. His first year was actually worse than Kiffin’s. He has said, and Tennessee has backed him up, that his winning games would take time. OK, cool. But if it doesn’t at least make a run at an SEC East title this year, he’ll be in trouble. He needs to perform well this year. He’s had a year to get settled in. He’s no longer a rookie with big bright eyes. If UT doesn’t win at least 8 games, he’ll be in big trouble in 2012.

3) Gene Chizik, Auburn

Why is the guy who just took an unproven team to the BCS Championship #3 on the hotlist? Well, the NCAA has made it pretty clear that they’re going to camp out in Auburn’s backyard for a while. If anything is discovered involving Chizik that’s a major violation, I’m not so sure his job is very safe. The Cam Newton story delivered a major blow to his job security right when it seemed like firing him would be dumber than trading a new Cadillac and an SUV to be named later for a rusty old Volkswagon. Even if he wins, if something we don’t know about comes up, watch out Gene.

4) Houston Nutt, Mississippi

After back to back 9-4 seasons capped off with convincing Cotton Bowl wins with a team that won 3 SEC games the previous 3 years, you’ve got some job security for at least a year. Well, that year is over, and it’s time for a new one. A disgusting 2010 season lowlighted by home losses to Jacksonville State and Vanderbilt is not what you want to build on those 9-4 campaigns. Hell, 9-4 isn’t what you want to follow 9-4 with. If 2011 doesn’t see Ole Miss win a bowl game, this guy’s in jeopardy.

5) Bobby Petrino, Arkansas

From here on out, it’s pretty much by default. Petrino’s Hogs were great in 2010, but with the same team minus Mallet remaining, 2011 should be even better. Guess what? It better be because if there’s a dropoff, everybody says it’s all because of Mallet that Arkansas did so well, and not because of Petrino’s coaching. There’s no excuse for Petrino’s team to fall in 2011, and if there is, 2012 becomes a hot seat year for him.

6) James Franklin, Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt’s athletic office will never come out and say it, but they probably give coaches gold watches if they can last out two years. Nobody wants to be here but young hotshot coaches. This is a hotseat job for the former Maryland OC not because of pressure of being fired, but the frustration of getting pounded by teams that look horrible a week later against a real team. How long can Franklin hang on? Normally, Vandy coaches have the most job security, but Franklin deserves better. This is simply a transition job, nothing more, for Franklin.

7) Les Miles, LSU

Wait if… Tennessee used its brains and only sent out 11 players on the final play? What if the tight end reverse failed against Alabama? What if the fake field goal failed against Florida? That’s 3 more losses, and suddenly that record reads 7-5. Yep, he’s Lucky the Lesprechaun, and he’d better keep getting those breaks, because if not, he’ll be beheaded by Tiger fans. Hell, Tiger fans wanted his head after the Tennessee game… the game that boosted his team’s record to 5-0. And the same was true for the Florida game, which made LSU 6-0. If LSU doesn’t win 10, he’s in big trouble.

8) Dan Mullen, Mississippi State

A gigantic season looms for MSU and Mullen. How do they build off the tremendous success they enjoyed in 2010? By doing better of course. But Mullen has nothing to worry about since this is MSU and not Florida/Texas/Michigan/Alabama/Oklahoma where there are gigantic expectations. He’s fine, even if the Bulldogs lose 7 games, because his breakthrough 2010 season gave him that security blanket. MSU would have to go 3-9 to put Mullen on the hot seat.

9) Joker Phillips, Kentucky

He’s kept Rich Brooks’ level of success through his first year, give him that. Give him this, too: if Kentucky was to go 0-12, he’d still have a job at UK. That’s how low of a profile the Wildcats’ football team has. It’s below sea level. There’s nothing Phillips can do to lose his job. He’s got a decent team returning, too, although probably not good enough to contend for an SEC East title. And he doesn’t have to.

10) Will Muschamp, Florida

If Jeremy Foley was not the AD, and somebody far more impulsive was, Muschamp would be way, way up high, because this is Florida. Foley is pretty quick with his trigger finger- for somebody in his third year at least, if not longer. However, Muschamp was the first and only guy Foley went after. So he’s got a year or two to prove Foley right about the move. He does need to at least match last year’s 8-5 record, but that shouldn’t be a problem given that Florida has so much talent and that the Gators should start out 4-0. Go look at UF’s schedule.

11) Steve Spurrier, South Carolina

Considering that SC has never had much football success at all, Spurrier would have to have a Vandy type season (2-10) in order to lose his job in year 7 of his tenure. Well, at least one, and probably two. After breaking over the hump (sort of) last year, his job is well secure for at least two, maybe three years.

12) Nick Saban, Alabama

Fresh off of winning the BCS Championship, Saban’s Crimson Tide stumbled to a 10-3 season in 2010. The fact that Saban is loved by everybody associated with Alabama, combined with his 36-5 record the last 3 years, means he’s not going anywhere. He’ll probably be right back in the national title mix, too.

4 thoughts on “Rankings Of SEC Teams: Hot Seats

  1. Good post Neil.
    Richt will be out of the job by next season. Book it.
    I’m really going out on a limb with that prediction, ain’t I.;)

  2. @ Buc

    Yea man thats a bold statement your making ha ha. Neil great post man, I dont agree with you on Dooley though, he has at least 3 more years in Tennessee. Also the Kentucky job is better than your giving it credit for. If the Kentucky job opened today it would be alot of great coaches eager to coach in the SEC.

  3. @ Buc

    Yea man thats a bold statement your making ha ha. Neil great post man, I dont agree with you on Dooley though, he has at least 3 more years in Tennessee. Also the Kentucky job is better than your giving it credit for. If the Kentucky job opened today it would be alot of great coaches eager to coach in the SEC.

  4. @ Buc

    Yea man thats a bold statement your making ha ha. Neil great post man, I dont agree with you on Dooley though, he has at least 3 more years in Tennessee. Also the Kentucky job is better than your giving it credit for. If the Kentucky job opened today it would be alot of great coaches eager to coach in the SEC.

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