Here’s our weekly look at the coaches with the most riding on this weekend’s games:


Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss: In a best-case scenario, the Rebels will be playing for a trip to Atlanta when they take the field Saturday night in Starkville. Whether that comes to fruition is entirely out of Freeze’s control at this point — Ole Miss needs an Auburn win over Alabama to open up the possibility of a division title — but even short of that, the Rebels have plenty to play for in the Egg Bowl. The first 10-win season since 2003 is still on the table, and Freeze would love to carry the momentum gained in last week’s win over LSU into recruiting season.

Mark Stoops, Kentucky: It’s not just a bowl bid Stoops is coaching for in this weekend’s rivalry game against Louisville. He’s also coaching against stagnation. The Wildcats haven’t reached a bowl game since 2010, so the importance of getting to six wins in obvious in that respect. But it’s also important that Stoops show positive momentum. After a two-win campaign in his first year in Lexington, the Wildcats went 5-7 last year. The outcome this weekend will be the difference between a step in the right direction and holding steady below .500.

Gary Pinkel, Missouri: It’s been a disappointing, tumultuous season for the two-time defending champions of the SEC East, but the Tigers have a chance to send their coach out on a high note and secure a bowl bid if they can knock off Arkansas on Saturday.


Nick Saban, Alabama: The stakes are obvious in this year’s Iron Bowl. A win and Alabama is going to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. A loss, and not only is the SEC West title in doubt, so are the Tide’s national title hopes.

Les Miles, LSU: Reports say Miles could be on his way out regardless of what happens Saturday against Texas A&M. One thing is clear: a fourth straight loss makes it all but a foregone conclusion that the Tigers will be seeking a new head coach very soon.

Mark Richt, Georgia: The situation at Georgia is similar to LSU’s, where a veteran coach with a strong record is perceived by many fans and powerful boosters to be on the decline. Georgia has won three straight since rumors started swirling that Richt was in danger of losing his job after the Bulldogs’ 27-3 loss to Florida. But Georgia needed overtime to beat Georgia Southern last week, stirring the coals of discontent. A loss to Georgia Tech might be more than Richt could withstand.