Daily Football Fix: Ranking SEC coaches

Alabama head coach Nick Saban poses for photos on the red carpet before the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
In a way it is a ridiculous task to rank the SEC coaches considering that two of the coaches have never been head coaches before and three other are starting anew with schools.
But it’s kind of like taking gimmees — you should putt them all out but everybody scoops up the occasional 2-footer.
And it is talking season, so here goes:
1. Nick Saban: Tough choice. Maybe there shouldn’t even be a second place.
2. Jimbo Fisher: OK, so his last year at FSU was a disaster and his non-Jameis Winston years were a little underachieving. His legacy is still to be written.
3. Kirby Smart: It’s still a small sample size, but the recruiting has been off the chain.
4. Gus Malzahn: At his best, he knocks off Georgia and Alabama, But we have also seen him at his worst.
5. Dan Mullen: He did wonders at Mississippi State but is he ready to take that next step?
6. Mark Stoops: Every year, the Wildcats get a little better.
7. Will Muschamp: The jury is out on whether he can get over the hump.
8. Barry Odom: He’s perfect for Missouri, but can he win big?
9. Matt Luke: See Oddom, Barry.
10. Jeremy Pruitt: There’s a lot to like here but he still hasn’t coached a game.
11. Ed Orgeron: Look, he’s probably not the 11th best coach but would you want to play a big game with him in control.
12. Chad Morris: He might be really good, but there’s no concrete evidence he is.
13. Derek Mason: Some will say it’s a no-win job but James Franklin won there.
14. Joe Moorhead: One day this is going to look really stupid. But somebody has to be last.



  1. Pat, I’d really hate to put my name to ranking these guys–aside from the obvious top spot. Talk about a nuanced selection criteria, anything but simple tho it seems to be at first blush. Kudos to you for taking it on–now prepare to be drawn & quartered!

    • Hey, Jim. Please name those “reliable sources” you have that know Kirby Smart is cheating to enhance his recruiting efforts. You put it out there, so please put the sources out there as well, since there are so many of them you are hearing from.

  2. no one in the bottom half looks anywhere near where the league was a few years back. by definition the auburn coach has done more than the Georgia coach; mullen will pass both soon enough. if somebody has to be last, id put champ last. he was a train wreck at uf and just had the one lucky streak at south Carolina, 6 or 7 years is way more than most coaches with that bad of a record get.

    • Very rarely do I disagree with you, mveal…..but this time I have to respectfully do so. Muschamp was Head Coach-in-waiting at Texas, but he came out way too early to replace a legend at Florida. Despite his SEC bonafides, he wasn’t ready, period. Damned if he didn’t go right from that debacle to replacing yet another legend at South Carolina, and it showed too that he was still OJT. I think tho, that he has matured now and is actually becoming a pretty fine head coach. If I’m wrong, of course, hey what the hay…it’s USC anyway. Guess we’ll see!

  3. Good list, and we can each make our own. It’s striking to think of Barry Odom as the 8th best head coach in the SEC. This time a year ago he probably was considered about the 13-14th guy. If Dan Mullen proves able to marshal the immense potential at Florida, re-awakening our sleeping giant of a program, he’ll likely rise to no less than second-best. Meantime, it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn UGA is over the edge of compliance in recruiting. The Bullpups are so exasperated over their decades of underachieving that much cheating would be happily overlooked by them. If true we can hope that somehow it catches up with the NCAA showing up in Athens.

  4. You know, it’s interesting to look at this list. And maybe a little shocking. For a conference that has been at or near the top for so long, the quality or pedigrees of the current crop of head coaches is pretty thin.

    I’m not sure Jimbo is really #2 although I’m not sure who I’d put in his place. He had a nice run at FSU but as someone mentioned, what kind of run would he have had without Jameis or Dalvin….

    I’m not sure Kirby is #3…. Richt left the cupboard stocked pretty well. He is recruiting at a high level and had a great run last year, so he’s definitely in the conversation.

    It would be fun to revisit this list at the end of the season just to see how it all worked out. For my money, I’d move Mullen ahead of Malzahn. #8 through 14….just toss their names in a barrel and pull out a number.

    Prediction: the first of these coaches to lose his job….. Orgeron. And sorry Gator-6, but when that happens, let’s hope Joe Alleva goes with him.

    • Tell you what Rog, let’s hope Joe Alleva gets fired and Ogeron keeps his job! You probably nailed it though in your prediction; I don’t know why I like that old boy so much anyway—guess because when I went to grad school for a couple of years in Natchitoches, I knew a couple hundred salt of the earth cajuns just like him. Alleva’s legs, on the other hand, could grow together for all I care–the dirty, low down, side windin’ wad of spit!

  5. Bottom line….if the poll was taken last year to rank overall coaches in the SEC and ACC Jimbo would have been somewhere between 7 and 10. At least UF can back up there talks with titles and performance. 80 % of the league cant