So who's done the best coaching jobs in the SEC this year? Certainly there have been some solid performances and there have been some poor ones. I'll throw out my rankings here. I hope I get some comments on this one.
- The Orgeron. No wins in conference. I know they have put some scares into people and I still think they were jobbed against Bama, but no wins is no wins.
- The Sabanator. The loss to La-Monroe was bad, but it's the course that this team has taken that is most worrisome. If the talent on this team is so bad, then why did that take LSU to the wire? If they have no character, then how do you explain second half comebacks against Arky and the Dawgs?
This is a guy that's averaged 4 losses in his career--and that's before this season. His national championship season was the only year that he lost fewer than 3 games at LSU, and let's not forget that the title game was against an Oklahoma team that was coming off a 35-7 spanking at the hands of Kansas State.
10. Nutt. It was tough splitting Saban and Nutt, but at least Nutt's boys play for him. Sure, the injury to Monk hurt, but when you've got McFadden AND Felix Jones there's no excuse for three wins in conference.
Fayettnam is the setting of the worst soap opera in America, and Nutt created the whole thing himself.
9. Spurrier. They started off like gangbusters and he managed to come into Athens and possibly cost the Dawgs a national championship, but the wheels fell off when it mattered the most. Yes, he ran into one of the great buzzsaws in SEC history when McFadden ran wild on them, but the Chickens haven't really looked good against anyone this year.
Maybe Stevie did a great job of making games ugly and winning with lesser talent like he did in the Classic City, but I'm slotting him here because of his team's collapse. 4 losses heading into Clemson is never a good thing.
8. Bobby Johnson. I like Coach Johnson a lot and I wish I could rank him higher than this, but the fact is that Vandy has a losing record. The Dores have been close against the Dawgs and Vols, but a poorly timed fumble and a kick off an upright prevented Johnson from being much higher on this list.
The most underrated thing about Johnson's job at Vandy is the significant increase in talent he's brought in. Chris Williams, Goff, and Bennett are all top of the line SEC football players.
7. Tubbs. TT started out the season horribly. In hindsight, the USF loss looks worse while the Miss State loss doesn't look so bad, but neither was good for the program. In Tubby's defense, he's been hamstrung by a shellshocked QB all season and managed to beat UF in the Swamp which is always impressive. He's also dealt with the Lester situation all season long--but that's just demonstrated his program's ability to sweep a cheating scandal under the rug.
It'll be interesting to see how the Tigers bounce back from the UGA loss this weekend. There's a lot of pressure on them this weekend. For once, there's more fear of an embarrassing loss in the Iron Bowl than there is reward of extending the streak.
- Urban Meyer. How a team this talented managed to lose 3 games so far on the year is amazing. They blow out the little guys, but they've gotten punched in the mouth by rugged teams and they haven't responded well. They look unbeatable at times. Why don't they look that way against teams that aren't intimidated by their athletes?
- Fullmer. I know all about the embarrassing losses, but the fact of the matter is that this man has his team in control of the SEC East race. That's about the only good thing I have to say about this guy. I grudgingly give him a nod on this list.
- Rich Brooks. He DOES have time for this BS. The Cats have faded a bit down the stretch, but they have joined the ranks of the middle of the road SEC team. Congratulations, UK, you are now not only capable of losing to 10 of the 12 conference teams, but you can also knock off the #1 team in the country. Welcome to the roller coaster.
- Les Miles. Much like Fullmer, I grudgingly give this man his due. I think they've underachieved terribly, but they have beaten a lot of good teams thusfar with a huge bullseye on their backs. Still, LSU fans will be glad to see him bolt for UM. Those 'gutsy' calls that have paid off for the Hat thusfar will turn into boneheaded mistakes when his teams don't have overwhelming talent.
- Mark Richt. I don't need to tell anyone on here about the job that the Reverend has done. I'll just point out something I think has gotten short shrift. That is the development of these young guys all over the team. You can have your emotional ploys, I'll take Richt's masterful sprinkling in of Curran, Boling, Dent, Figgins, Knowshon, et al into the starting lineup. Sure, many of you think he should've had them in there from day one, but we've seen this team steadily grow without showing many signs that they're a young team at all.
1. Sly Croom. Getting Croomed doesn't have the same cache it once did, does it? This is a guy who's been doing it right in StarkVegas and it's paying off. Like UK and Vandy have done with their coaches, Miss State hasn't listened to the message board idiots and has let a good football coach do his job and it's paid off.
When this guy gets an SEC level QB, he'll be real trouble. Imagine where Bama would be right now if they had picked this guy over Shula a few years ago.
Just an incredibly solid football coach. One of the great stories of the year.