Tuesday, December 9, 2008

SEC: How Good Do You Really Want Your Coaches To Be?

The SEC is well known for practically breeding some of the biggest, fastest and strongest athletes in the country, and annually present more NFL-caliber players than any other conference in the country. The pedigree of the SEC athletes is renowned, and subsequently, the SEC itself is renowned as well.

If it's all about the players, then why is this coaching carousel getting to be at breakneck speeds, tossing bodies, pride, and egos left, right and every which way? Sure, everyone in the SEC wants that mold of Bear Bryant, or that Steve Spurrier type. In fact, one SEC school is still searching for that Steve Spurrier type even after hiring Steve Spurrier.

But let's face it, folks; those days are gone. With the very notable exception of PSU's Joe Paterno and FSU's Bobby Bowden, there really are very few truly tenured coaches in college football, and even fewer in the SEC. Jim Tressel at Ohio State, Mack Brown at Texas, maybe Pete Carroll in Southern California, if the NFL doesn't eventually lure him away. The SEC's most tenured coach? Bobby Johnson at Vanderbilt in his eighth season. Not to take away from the accomplishments of 2008 for the Commodores, but that leaves the cream of the crop being very fresh.

The most tenured coaches of this past season, Tennessee's Phil Fulmer and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville, with 17 and 10 season's respectively, no longer have jobs. Run out by single-season disappointments, the faces of those organizations are a kid from Oakland and Who Knows for the Tigers?

Success seems to be a dangerous accolade these days. Three notable coaches who had marked success have been shown the door, or made their exit before it was made for them.

Hitting close to home, Houston Dale Nutt excused himself from the University of Arkansas days after upsetting No. 1 LSU, and just one year removed from being the SEC coach of the year, not to mention an SEC Western divisional title.

His new home in Oxford, MS boasts a team with a winning record as well as a Cotton Bowl bid, and had it not been for that show-off in Tuscaloosa, AL, Nutt would've captured his second Coach of the Year award in three years.

Phil Fulmer's team rallied from early disappointments in 2007 to represent the East in the SEC Championship last year. Of course, while many thought Georgia was more deserving (and they probably were), the all-mighty tie-breaker left the Bulldogs in the doghouse and let the Volunteers play. But it seems a national championship and SEC championship honors aren't bulletproof, and Fulmer's dynasty ended in mid-season.

Rocky Top is left with former Oakland Raider coach Lane Kiffin, who despite glitz and glamor being associated with his name, has very little to show for it by way of head coaching victories or experience.

In a yet another strike against convention and a painful strike against the dwindling numbers of the already sparse number of minority coaches, Mississippi State's Sylvester Croom is out after four years as head coach, a position for which he was awarded Coach of the Year by the SEC.

While his overall record may not be as impressive as his contemporaries, last year seems like more of a distant memory than it should be, especially considering the obvious and vast improvements to the football program in Starkville.

If this is the new convention, what do we say of the youngbloods who are currently steering the SEC heavyweights Alabama, Florida, and...LSU? Are we saying that following a scary trend where a coach like Les Miles, who last year won a national championship, may begin the 2009 season on the hot seat following a late-season collapse in 2008?

Are the SEC schools so driven by megalomania that they think they should - and will - find someone better? I haven't seen a houndstooth hat recently, but I've seen a large hat being worn by a successful coach at LSU. If a national title is two whopping years away or two years in the past, does that warrant termination?

The answer may not be yes, but fewer and fewer people would be surprised if the answer were no.


  1. The answer is yes, with exception to Vandy and maybe Kentucky. All the SEC schools believe they are entitled to a national championship, at the very least, once a year. They also believe that all of the schools in the conference are far superior to every other school in every other conference. But, with this year we all see that isn't true. I mean two weeks ago the ACC almost ran the table in their season finale matchups with SEC teams. NOTE: I too have taken part in the non-SEC suck factor conference trash talking. But, the SEC top-to-bottom this year is not convincingly the best conference in the nation.

    I can be sure of saying that Florida is the best team in the nation, but that leads to SEC snobbery for at least one more year.

  2. Devin actually has some good points.

    The SEC is like a crazy ass girlfriend.

    First you start dating her and everything is cool, then she starts showing up at your office with cookies and milk. Not a big deal right? Next she starts hacking your email account. Then she starts staring at you in the window while you sleep. She then will slip her own blood into your Ziti she baked for you so you can have some of her inside of you.

    Either way, in the SEC it always ends up with her killing you while you sleep.

  3. 1) You're not the pros, stop acting like it.

    2) Vanderbilt, Flordia, and Georgia are the only SEC schools on the good side of the top 80 in academics.

    Watch your pro teams, the players are better at playing football.

  4. And Croom got a raw fucking deal. Miss State, you can do better?

    I hope Turner Gill gets the Auburn Job. Actually no I don't. They don't deserve him.