Nick Saban hasn’t won SEC Coach of the Year honors since 2009.

An SEC East coach hasn’t claimed the honor since the Head Ball Coach took the trophy home to Columbia, S.C., in 2005.

Expect one of those streaks to end in 2015, and right now, the odds favor the New Ball Coach in Gainesville.

Jim McElwain took over a team in turmoil, a team without an established quarterback and a team picked to finish fifth (fifth!) in the SEC East.

Last week his Gators secured the SEC East title and a spot in the Dec. 5 championship game.

How’s that for progress?

Florida did so much, so early in large part because McElwain re-established a winning culture and managed his way through a tricky patch after his public beatdown of running back Kelvin Taylor after the player was penalized for excessive celebration.

In just his second game as Florida’s coach, in extremely colorful language, McElwain told Taylor that selfish acts hurt the team and won’t be tolerated.

That tirade prompted a response from Fred Taylor, not only Kelvin’s father but also the fourth-leading rusher in Gators history.

Players supported the message, if not the delivery, and within three days, the episode was over. Even Fred Taylor said he understood, adding that McElwain was hired to push the program in a different direction, to change the culture.

Kelvin Taylor responded as well — on the field. After gaining 154 yards in his first three games, he ripped off 102 in a pivotal 28-27 victory against Tennessee. He followed with 83 and 99 in wins over Ole Miss and Missouri.

LSU cooled him off, but when Florida needed him most — against Georgia without suspended quarterback Will Grier — Taylor cranked out a season-high 125 yards.

Credit McElwain for dealing with distractions — some self-induced — and carrying on, putting his team in a position almost nobody thought was possible.

Saban, meanwhile, and LSU’s Les Miles — the other two leading COY candidates — are doing almost exactly what was expected.

Alabama was No. 3 in the preseason poll.

LSU was top 15, led by Leonard Fournette, who almost immediately became the Heisman Trophy frontrunner … until he ran into Saban last week.

Saban put on another coaching clinic, limiting Fournette to just 31 yards and a meaningless touchdown.

But this award doesn’t always go to the best coach. Often, it’s somewhat of a nod to the coach who did more with less — or at least fewer expectations.

Dan Mullen, for instance, did just that in winning the award last year. His Mississippi State team was picked to finish fifth (fifth!) in the SEC West and rose all the way to No. 1.

McElwain’s Gators haven’t risen quite that far in the national rankings, but they started the season with similar expectations.

That combination of wins-over-projected wins likely will be enough for the New Ball Coach to join the Head Ball Coach as an SEC Coach of the Year.