The one thing that stands out about the AP SEC Coach of the Year Award is there are no favorites in the preseason. Unlike the players who earn preseason honors for the SEC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year awards, all coaches seem to head into the season with an equal slate. Literally anyone can win the award.

Now, there have been some trends that have helped land the hardware.

One: Lead your team to a 10-win season. The past nine winners won at least 10 games. The last time a coach won the AP award without doing so was in 2007, when Mississippi State’s Sylvester Croom went 8-5.

Two: Reach the conference championship game. Seven of the past nine winners did that.

That said, since we really don’t know who is going to come away with this honor, here’s a look at what each coach can do to assure themselves of consideration.

Nick Saban, Alabama: Go undefeated

Nick Saban won the award last season and has won it three times as the Crimson Tide head coach (and shared it once with LSU). So, with expectations so high at Alabama, it might not be enough to win the SEC once again. Another undefeated season, however, could make Saban the first coach to win this award in back-to-back seasons since … Nick Saban (2008-09).

Bret Bielema, Arkansas: Reach 10 wins

It won’t be easy, with games at Alabama and LSU, not to mention home games against Auburn and Big 12 contender TCU. But if Arkansas can go 2-2 in those four and somehow win its other eight, it would be difficult for voters to not consider Bielema for SEC Coach of the Year.

Gus Malzahn, Auburn: Beat Alabama, reach Atlanta

Alabama is an overwhelming favorite to capture the SEC West and the conference title. So, for any other coach to have a chance at this award, taking down Alabama would go a long way.

Gus Malzahn won this award in 2013, thanks in large part to a miracle win over Alabama and an SEC Championship. This season winning the conference title might not be necessary to take home the Coach of the Year award.

Jim McElwain, Florida: Win SEC Championship

In 2015, Jim McElwain won the SEC Coach of the Year award in his first season with the Gators, winning the SEC East Division.

The Gators won the East again last season, and in the preseason they are picked second in the division, behind Georgia. But even a third consecutive division title might not be enough for McElwain to add another coaching trophy. A conference championship, however, would likely seal that deal.

Kirby Smart, Georgia: Reach SEC Championship Game

Expectations are high for the Bulldogs. They are favored to win the SEC East and reach their first SEC Championship Game since 2012.

Anything less than a title game appearance would likely rule out Kirby Smart as a contender.

Mark Stoops, Kentucky: Win nine games

The Wildcats reached their first bowl game since 2010, and the hopes are for another bowl appearance this season. But expecting Kentucky football to be at the level where it plays for the SEC title is probably not realistic at this point.

However, nine wins is possible, something the Wildcats have not done since 1984. There is no Alabama, Auburn or LSU on the schedule, and Kentucky gets Florida, Tennessee and ACC rival Louisville at home.

Kentucky will have to win some big games to reach the nine-win mark. But if it can get there and post a winning record in the conference for the first time since 1977, expect Mark Stoops to get plenty of votes for Coach of the Year.

Ed Orgeron, LSU: Win SEC West

It has been six years since LSU played for the SEC championship. Back in 2011, the Tigers had a 12-0 regular season, won the SEC title and played for the national championship. It also earned Les Miles SEC Coach of the Year.

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This season will not be easy for the Tigers in their quest to win the West Division. They have road games at Florida, Tennessee and Alabama. But if they improve their play slightly from 2016 (all four losses came by an average margin of 5.8 PPG) the Tigers could find themselves in contention for the West title.

That would likely put Ed Orgeron as the frontrunner for the Coach of the Year award.

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State: Second in SEC West

Three seasons ago, Dan Mullen led the Bulldogs to their first 10-win season in 15 years. But last season, they finished under .500 for the first time since Mullen’s first season of 2009.

Expecting Mississippi State to go from sub-.500 to winning the most difficult division in college football isn’t fair. Especially when you consider the Bulldogs have one of the toughest schedules in college football, thanks to games against LSU, Georgia, Auburn and Alabama.

But if the Bulldogs could surprise and finish runner-up in the West, some big wins will have to be a part of that run, and that could put Mullen in serious contention for the top coaching award.

Barry Odom, Missouri: Win 8 games, beat Auburn, Georgia or Florida

Missouri has slipped dramatically since winning back-to-back East titles in 2013 and 2014. Its four wins last year tied the 2001 campaign for fewest in the past 16 seasons.

But the Tigers return 10 starters on offense and have enough winnable games to reach six wins. A 6-6 regular-season record will not be enough to get Barry Odom Coach of the Year honors. However, upset Auburn, Georgia or Florida and reach eight wins, Odom will certainly get his share of votes.

Matt Luke, Ole Miss: Win 8 games

Matt Luke has been put in a terrible position at Ole Miss. The Hugh Freeze resignation, NCAA hearing looming have combined to dramatically reduce optimism in Oxford.

Add in road games in consecutive weeks at Alabama and Auburn, along with a home game against LSU two weeks later and the Egg Bowl in Starkville, and there’s good reason to believe the Rebels could have the worst record in the SEC.

So, leading Ole Miss to eight wins would be a major surprise, and likely garner plenty of Coach of the Year votes for Luke.

Will Muschamp, South Carolina: Win East Division

In his second season in Columbia, Will Muschamp’s Gamecocks have been mentioned as a surprise team in the SEC this season. And after back-to-back losing seasons, for South Carolina to overtake Florida and Georgia and earn a trip to the SEC Championship Game would make the Gamecocks the conference’s surprise team of the year.

Impossible? Keep this in mind, in his second season as the head coach at Florida in 2012, Muschamp led the Gators to an 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl berth.

Butch Jones, Tennessee: Win 10 games and East Division

Butch Jones has been the most successful Tennessee coach since Phillip Fulmer left following the 2008 season, leading the Volunteers to back-to-back nine-win seasons. But with success comes expectations, and Tennessee will need to come up with something a little more than a 9-4 season in 2017. Even while forced to replace the departed stars of 2016.

If Jones could lead the Volunteers to their first 10-win season and East Division title since 2007, it would be hard to imagine the fifth-year head coach not receiving serious consideration for the top coaching award.

Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M: Finish second in SEC West

It appears no coach in the SEC needs a 10- or 11-win season more than Kevin Sumlin. After averaging 10 wins in his first two years, Sumlin’s Aggies have had three consecutive 8-5 seasons.

With a new quarterback leading the Aggies this season, it’s probably not realistic to expect them to overtake Alabama, Auburn or LSU and win the West. However, with Alabama and Auburn coming to College Station, if Texas A&M can surprise one of those teams, perhaps a runner-up finish in the division is in the cards. Which might keep Sumlin around for at least another season.

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: Win 8 games, post winning SEC record

In his three seasons as Vanderbilt’s head coach, Derek Mason has led the Commodores to 0, 2 and 3 SEC wins. And in 2016 the Commodores surprised many by making a bowl game.

Now, with nine starters back on offense and seven more on defense, could we expect even more from the Commodores in 2017? Vanderbilt has finished with a winning record in SEC play once in the past 34 seasons (5-3 in 2012), so the odds aren’t exactly on the Commodores’ side.

But another 5-win SEC season could very well produce top coaching honors for Mason.