Happy Memorial Day! It’s this time of year when you start sniffing around those newsstands for the college football preview magazines. Those, of course, come about three months too early and get folks like me way too pumped up about football season. But, let’s talk about some anyway.
The hot seat in the SEC is somewhere almost everyone will eventually be. You can start the season on the hot seat and end it with a contract extension. On the other hand, you can start out safe and be fired in December. Here is where I see the SEC coaches heading into 2012…
1. Derek Dooley – Tennessee has some talent, but not like they’re used to. And the Vols certainly aren’t anywhere near where they should be. If Dooley can’t get at least 7 wins, and probably 8 – he is gone.
2. Joker Phillips – He is also heading into year 3 (like Dooley). While expectations at Kentucky aren’t all that high, the Wildcats seem to be moving backwards….and that’s no good.
3. John L. Smith – I’m not sure if you can really classify an interim coach as on the ‘hot seat’, but since he’s coaching for his job I will. Chances are he will not be the Arkansas coach in 2013 unless he is able to reach 10 wins with this team.
4. Mark Richt – He was able to make his way off the hot seat (temporarily). Dawg fans are thirsty for a national championship – and they are expecting big things this year. He has lost nearly half the fanbase…anything less than a Eastern division title may be the end of the line.
(past this line I don’t think there’s any chance of these coaches being fired after 2012 – outside of a scandal)
5. Will Muschamp – Gator fans are willing to give him a reprieve for last season, but they won’t be patient for long.
6. Dan Mullen – State fans are hungry for more than a .500 season. Win 8 again and beat Ole Miss and we’ll be eating out of his hand once again.
7. Les Miles – How could a coach who has won a national championship, 2 SEC championships and was national runner-up last year be this high? He’s Les Miles, and his offensive gameplan in the BCS Title Game.
8. Gene Chizik – Can he win without Gus Malzahn? Can he win big without Cam Newton? Tubbs got fired only four years after going undefeated so watch out.
9. Hugh Freeze – He’s in his first year. But look for Bear fans to start feeling uneasy come Thanksgiving.
10. Steve Spurrier – He’s the best thing to ever happen to South Carolina football.
11. James Franklin – One more bowl game and he’ll be the best thing to ever happen to Vanderbilt football.
12. Nick Saban – 55-6 over the last 4 years including two national championships….maybe he’ll retire early.