Published August 3, 2012 - 9:30am
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SDS is getting into the Olympic spirit, and the ceremonies carry us just about right into the start of football season. We will be handing out SEC Podium Awards for the top three players at each position. And we finish with the coaches.
It’s a difficult task to rank college football coaches on their actual coaching job. We tend to let universities’ prowess persuade us in our thinking. Without taking into consideration outside forces such as the school’s facilities, the quality of the coaching staff, or number of player arrests, let’s give it a shot. And no, you merely can’t rank coaches on record, either.
Gold: Nick Saban, Alabama
There is not doubt that Nick Saban is the best college coach in America. You give me one coach in college football, I’m going with Nick Saban. The discipline, the mental and physical toughness and the detail and determination in preparation could not lead you anywhere else, especially college football as we know it. Two national championships in four seasons and four straight seasons of 10 wins will get you to the top in a hurry. If that’s not enough, he’s won a national championship at two different SEC schools – LSU and Bama. Indicated by the massive talent exodus in Tuscaloosa this past NFL Draft, Saban recruits the best players, and he develops them better than anyone in the country. And we’re talking about Alabama in the national championship picture once again.
Silver: Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
Love him or loathe him, Steve Spurrier is mentioned among the top coaches in the country. And how could you loathe him? He’s historically the most quotable coach, and historically the regular season’s second most winning coach – based on wins – in SEC history, behind the Bear himself. It has taken a little bit of time, but Spurrier has the Gamecocks competing for East championships every year. And one of the things I love about Spurrier is that he is changing his pass-happy offense to cater to talented running backs and his mobile quarterback. He dominated at Florida, but he’s proven he can build a program in a short amount of time. You have to give Spurrier his due.
Bronze: Les Miles, LSU
Since taking over for Nick Saban at LSU, the Mad Hatter has maintained a high level of play and athletes funneling through Baton Rouge. Miles won a national championship in 2007 and has had four 10-win seasons in six years. Sure, he has his quirks of in-game management mistakes, and that one loss last year in very embarrassing style, but still Miles’ players love him and play hard for him. He takes gambles, and he usually comes out on the better end of them, too. You just have to love him for it. Miles has his best and deepest team yet returning this season, and we’ll know what kind of coach he will be after this year – as if you needed any more evidence.