SEC Hot Seat Rankings: Week 5
Is it too early to begin talk of the hot seat? Possibly.
But coaching in the SEC isn’t easy, and someone’s always on the hot seat. So heading into Week 5, SDS is going to rank the SEC head coaches based on who has the hottest seat.
1. Will Muschamp, Florida
Fortunately for Derek Mason, his seat isn’t the hottest this week in the SEC. That title belongs to Will Muschamp in Gainesville. The Gators were dominated by Alabama in Tuscaloosa last week, and unfortunately for Muschamp, the guy just doesn’t have a quarterback. Three offensive coordinators in four years doesn’t help, either. Whether he likes it or not, and whether the administration will continue to publicly support him or not, Muschamp’s seat is hot.
2. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
Mason’s Commodore team have put together pretty good back-to-back games against UMass and South Carolina, and a conference win against Kentucky this weekend could go a long way for building that program. Mason seems to be getting more comfortable with what comes along with being a head coach in the SEC, and as a result, his team is playing better.
3. Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Stoops’ Kentucky team has not won a conference game in 1,032 days. The Wildcats came close to ending that streak and its 27-game losing streak against Florida two weeks ago in Gainesville, and they have another shot this weekend against Vanderbilt. Stoops’ recruiting in Lexington has been unprecedented, but at some point, that has to translate to results on the field.
4. Bret Bielema, Arkansas
The Hogs were impressive against Texas Tech two weeks ago, and have beaten a few cupcakes as you’d expect, but we’ll find out really how much progress has been made in Fayetteville when the Razorbacks face high-powered Texas A&M at JerryWorld this weekend. Can they compete on the big stage?
5. Butch Jones, Tennessee
Jones took an unbelievably young football team to Norman, Okla. to face the Sooners last weekend and though you never really felt like they had momentum in the game, Tennessee held its own at times. Justin Worley played well despite spending most of the night on the ground. As the Vols youthful players gain experience, this team could be very good.
6. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Mullen’s Mississippi State team went into Death Valley and beat LSU convincingly on Saturday night, just its third win against a top 25 team in Mullen’s tenure. Can that momentum spring board into something bigger? The Bulldogs are in a stretch in which they face Texas A&M and Auburn.
7. Gary Pinkel, Missouri
Yes, Pinkel is the second-longest tenured coach in the league, but his Missouri team inexplicably lost to a mediocre Indiana team from the Big Ten. The Tigers have shown some weaknesses on the offensive front and have yet to play top-tier competition. Eight or nine wins might have been okay in the Big 12, but won’t suffice in the SEC.
8. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
Freeze has vaulted the Rebels into the top 10 and are off this week before Alabama comes calling to Oxford next weekend, likely where ESPN’s “College GameDay” will be. Freeze has done a phenomenal job of recruiting talent and developing that talent, and an upset next weekend would solidify the Rebels as part of the class of the SEC West.
9. Mark Richt, Georgia
Richt remains safely at No. 9 on our list of hottest seats. His team had what was essentially a scrimmage last weekend against Troy, but now faces a sneaky Tennessee team. Georgia has yet to put together a complete game in all three phases. The ‘Dawgs are still considered the favorite in the East, but have shown they can be beaten.
10. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
Sumlin has again taken the Aggies and gotten them into the top 10. He’s brought a new attitude and swagger to College Station and his recruiting reflects that. Their best opponent so far is South Carolina, but they face an Arkansas team with boasts arguably the best rushing attack in the country this weekend. We’ll find out a lot more about where that faulty A&M defense stands.
11. Les Miles, LSU
The Tigers were beat pretty convincingly by Mississippi State on Saturday night at Tiger Stadium. There’s talent in Baton Rouge, but it’s very young and inexperienced which leads us to believe that no matter the outcome of LSU’s season, Miles will be back, though his name has been linked to the potential opening of the Michigan job.
12. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
Spurrier said it himself, South Carolina won the most embarrassing game in the Head Ball Coach’s tenure there. It’s been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde start to the season for the Gamecocks who now face a Missouri team capable of beating them. After three straight 11-win seasons, should Carolina reach only eight wins, does Spurrier consider calling it quits?
13. Gus Malzahn, Auburn
The seats are ice cold in the Yellowhammer State. Gus Malzahn is proving that Auburn’s success in 2013 was not a fluke. He’s brought consistency and stability to a program that lacked such toward the end of the Gene Chizik and Tommy Tuberville eras. The Tigers will surely move to 4-0 after this weekend’s contest against Louisiana Tech, but then embark on a journey of seven ranked opponents in eight weeks.
14. Nick Saban, Alabama
I take back what I said last week about the Tide not looking as dominant as past years. That performance against Florida was nearly jaw-dropping. Saban’s process is not dependent upon players or coordinators and he’s proving that with a first-year quarterback and new offensive coordinator. He also looks like a genius with the success Lane Kiffin has had in transforming the Alabama offense.