Many fans across the SEC have clamored for their coaches to be fired at on time or another.
Even some deranged Alabama fans called for Nick Saban’s job when Louisiana Monroe gave the Crimson Tide their third consecutive loss at home in his first season.
Two conference schools have already made coaching changes — Florida and Tennessee. Ole Miss parted ways with Hugh Freeze before the season. There could be a few more jobs opening in the SEC by the end of 2017. Some schools will respond faster than others.
Most of the coaches will remain, of course. But here’s the ranking of how each SEC team would rebound if it lost its coach.
Without major changes, Vanderbilt will be a program that celebrates becoming bowl eligible rather than competing for SEC titles.
The ‘Dores remain the only SEC program that hasn’t had a 10-win season.
Derek Mason’s ceiling might be eight regular season wins. Still, fans shouldn’t wish for Mason’s departure. If he goes, it will take them awhile to become bowl eligible again.
Since 2000, the Wildcats have had 11 losing seasons and are on their fifth head coach. It’s hard to rebuild the program because it doesn’t have a solid foundation. Mark Stoops has slowly but surely made this team competitive.
Yes, there are some Kentucky fans who care more about football than basketball. For the most part, that isn’t the case. Stoops is likely staying put, so fans shouldn’t worry about a long rebuild. Trouble awaits the Wildcats faithful if he goes.
12. Mississippi State
Dan Mullen has convinced fans that Mississippi State is a good SEC job. It’s doubtful others could accomplish what he has. He’s made it look much easier than it is.
The Bulldogs have been to 20 bowls. Mullen has taken them to seven — in a row. This year will end with an eighth consecutive bowl appearance. There are always whispers that Mullen could be moving on to another SEC job. Losing the most successful coach in program history would be disastrous.
11. Ole Miss
Matt Luke isn’t the long term answer, though he’s kept this team together. Ole Miss is in for an interesting transition for whoever becomes the new head coach. Looming NCAA sanctions could scare many potential head coaching candidates. Rebels fans can blame two former coaches for their pain — Houston Nutt and Hugh Freeze.
It’s unlikely that Arkansas beats Mississippi State or Missouri, so it’s likely Bret Bielema could be let go after the disastrous 2017 season. Bielema’s inability to win conference games will likely cost him his job. To this day, it’s still amazing Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long was able to lure him away from Wisconsin.
This is a difficult job. Arkansas doesn’t have the volume of elite, in-state recruits. But Bobby Petrino and Houston Nutt figured out how to win, so it’s possible. As long as the Razorbacks don’t hire someone like John L. Smith, a three-year rebuild isn’t out of the question with the right fit. If Long is let go along with Bielema, Arkansas is looking at a much longer overhaul and not just in football.
Barry Odom has done an OK job taking over after Gary Pinkel, but he’s not out of the woods yet. If his future at Missouri ended abruptly, it would slowly rebuild. The Tigers simply don’t have the national relevance anymore and are at a geographical disadvantage trying to lure recruits from southern states. Missouri isn’t a hotbed for high recruits either.
8. South Carolina
Until Dabo Swinney leaves the juggernaut he’s built at Clemson, this is going the second best football job in South Carolina. Will Muschamp isn’t going anywhere, but if he did, the Gamecocks would be in trouble. South Carolina isn’t super rich in high school football talent, but Swinney would gather the studs if he faced a transitioning South Carolina in the future.
7. Texas A&M
Tom Herman and Texas won’t be mediocre for long. The Longhorns’ eventual relevance will hurt the Aggies’ chances to pull in talented in-state recruits. The Aggies’ boosters won’t help the rebuilding situation if Kevin Sumlin is let go. Anytime you have regents and boosters who think they know more about football than the coach, it’s going to be a problem.
In spite of outside influences, Texas A&M is a great job. The state is loaded with high school talent. The new renovations are just the tip of the iceberg of what makes the Aggies’ coaching job desirable.
Alabama is always going to be a red state — in terms of football and politics. Nick Saban’s essence hurts the ability to rebuild at Auburn. Gus Malzahn has the Tigers rolling, despite major scrutiny from fans at times. The Tigers have been to four consecutive bowl games under his leadership, including the BCS National Championship and the Sugar Bowl.
If Saban and his staff faced a new Auburn coach in recruiting, the Crimson Tide would swallow up all of the in-state recruits with ease. Malzahn has competed with Alabama and had a top 10 recruiting class every year. That’s worthy of some praise, considering he duels against possibly the best college football coach of all time. Auburn would be foolish to let him go and regret the consequences.
Alabama fans don’t even want to consider the day Nick Saban leaves.
The Crimson Tide had multiple losing seasons in the 2000s before Saban arrived. He changed everything. For Alabama fans, anything but winning a national championship is considered a failure.
Nobody wants to follow a legend, though one would assume Saban would have a healthy hand in selecting his successor.
Luckily for Alabama fans, they don’t have to worry about him leaving anytime soon. Cue the angry Alabama fans that think the Crimson Tide should be No. 1 on this list.
Butch Jones was an average choice, plain and simple. If John Currie can nail the next hire, the Volunteers could be scary. Tennessee is a force waiting to be unleashed.
Vanderbilt football is an afterthought in Tennessee. With the strong brand and the right man in charge, the Volunteers should be able to rebuild quickly.
Nobody in the East can rival Florida’s history since Steve Spurrier turned Ben Hill Griffin Stadium into The Swamp. If Scott Stricklin can nail this hire, the Gators will be a force in the SEC East; not limping into SEC title games because of dumb luck. The facilities are improving. The state is stacked with 4-star and 5-star talent. Florida has almost everything it needs to compete again for national titles. With the right coach, The Swamp will be rocking again.
Georgia has had only one losing season since 2000. As a former Bulldog, Kirby Smart is staying put for quite some time. If something went wrong with his tenure in the future, Georgia would be attractable for a number of high-profile coaches.
Georgia Tech doesn’t pose a threat to the Bulldogs when the two teams battle each other for recruits. With the state littered with talent, Georgia would be one of the easier rebuilds in the conference.
Ed Orgeron won’t be at LSU forever. That being said, the Tigers will be in great shape if he departs on his own or against his will one day. Like Georgia, LSU dominates its state filled with southern football talent.
The Tigers have had a 18 consecutive winning seasons and the best night atmosphere in college football. Year after year, LSU remains relevant in some form of capacity — some years higher than others. A new coach wouldn’t change that.
Source: Saturday Down South