I love the Cam argument agaisnt Chizik. What if Miles didn't walk into a talented roster that Saban left? What if Danny Wonderful didn't play at UF? What if Colt McCoy doesn't get hurt? Chizik won a NC surviving the biggest media storm ever to hit a NC contender. How about a lil bit of credit.
When you think of SEC football, you think of millionaire coaches with championship rings on every finger. But when you survey the league’s actual coaching roster these days, in reality there are more guys with business left to prove than men with proven resumes.
Matt Hayes of The Sporting News has ranked the league’s coaches #1 through #14 today and while we’ll show you his list, we won’t steal his thunder and give you the reasons behind his selections. You can find those here.
What we will say, however, is that after about five coaches — and we disagree with Hayes’ top five — there are some serious question marks. More question marks than the ever-rich, ever-successful SEC has had in a long, long while.
1. Nick Saban, Alabama
2. Les Miles, LSU
3. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
4. Mark Richt, Georgia
5. James Franklin, Vanderbilt
6. Gary Pinkel, Missouri
7. Gene Chizik, Auburn
8. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
9. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
10. Will Muschamp, Florida
11. John L. Smith, Arkansas
12. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
13. Joker Phillips, Kentucky
14. Derek Dooley, Tennessee
Saban, Miles, Spurrier and Richt have proven themselves over time to be at or near the top of their profession. They should all be untouchable at this point. That’s right, Georgia fans: should… be… untouchable.
Pinkel has done for Missouri what Spurrier has done for Carolina. He’s upgraded the school’s talent and he’s put his program on the national map for the first time. Sure, he hasn’t done it in the SEC yet, but Pinkel would be #5 on this writer’s list for having accomplished what he’s accomplished in a BCS conference.
After those five coaches? Question marks, question marks, question marks.
Franklin had a surprising first year and his recruiting has been stunning by Vandy’s standards, but he’s been in Nashville for just one season.
Chizik has a national title on his resume but if Cam Newton hadn’t signed with Auburn would the Tigers’ coach be entering this season on a hot seat? Probably.
Mullen was Franklin three years ago and he’s the reason we’re reserving judgement on Franklin now. At some point MSU’s coach will have to have a breakthrough season and beat someone other than Ole Miss in the SEC West.
Smith did well at Louisville but he was sacked at Michigan State. Sumlin has had non-BCS-level success. Muschamp’s resume is short. Freeze has a short resume and his success came at the non-BCS-level.
Phillips has done nothing to make anyone think he was the brains of Rich Brooks’ outfit and Dooley inherited such a mess at Tennessee that he really shouldn’t be judged before this season is over (though the returns on his first two seasons have been poor).
Overall, the league’s coaching roster is surprisingly average. Of course, the SEC’s list of coaches would look a lot more impressive if Bobby Petrino hadn’t blown his career to smithereens last month. But as it stands, there are four guys who’ve proven themselves, one who’s proven himself in another BCS league, and nine others who the jury is still very much out on.