Monday, July 28, 2008

Les Miles Tops List of SEC Coaches

Yesterday, I ranked the ACC coaches. Today, we look at the SEC Coaches. The Southeastern is loaded in the coaching ranks from top to bottom. You have 5 (edit from 6) national championship winners including the last two. I will preface my rankings by saying 1-4 is splitting hairs and 5 and 6 are not very far behind. But here we go...I think many will be surprised by #1.
Ranking criteria:
  • overall record (vs SEC and non-conference)
  • what you have done over last 3 seasons (what have you done for me lately?)
  • what have you to work with (are you State U with 40,000 students or a small private school)
  • how well can you recruit (can you at least get the cream of the crop on campus)
  • where your recruiting rankings are vs on the field results (are you taking no names to championships
Caveats:
  • to be ranked a coach has to be a HC at least two season the conference
  • Bobby Petrino is not ranked due to this - just not enough on the SEC resume to get a true ranking
1. Les Miles
Just hear me out on this one. Although, Les Miles may not have the most eloquent speeches and interview sessions, the guy has done everything on that list above. National Title - Check, SEC Title - Check, BCS Bowl Wins - Check, Top Recruiting classes - Check, Players to the NFL - Check. LSU has no more advantage than the other two elite SEC programs (UF, UGA). Some will say he won with Saban's players, but the reason LSU led the SEC in 1st team players is beacuse of Miles' recruiting. I was in a quandry about #1 and #2, but Miles gets the tiebreaker with 2-1 head to head record vs Urban Meyer.
2. Urban Meyer

All of the checks Miles has also apply to Urban Meyer. The Gator Head Coach has his team poised for another national title run this year. Meyer is one of the fiercest competitors in the nation.
3. Mark Richt

The only thing keeping Richt from a higher spot is that elusive MNC. The former FSU OC was able to turn around the season last year and finish as one of the hottest teams in the nation. Georgia has a two year window where they have an excellent chance to get a national title for Richt.
4. Nick Saban

Like I said above, ranking 1-4 is like splitting hairs. The only reason I put Saban at #4 is because of his average season last year. Saban set the foundation at LSU that Miles has built upon. He is looking to do the same at Alabama after bringing in arguably the nation's best class last year. Still, Saban has to take care of business instate first by beating Auburn.
5. Tommy Tuberville

Number 5, though half way down the list, is not very far off from #1. Auburn has been one of the best in big games over the last several years, but they have to prevent that one lapse game where they lose as a big favorite. The turnover on TT's staff is concerning, but Auburn fans will take 6 in a row over 'Bama anyday.
6. Steve Spurrier

It is not that Steve Spurrier has fallen that far, it is that caliber of coaches in the SEC has risen so much. The Head Ball Coach is still one of the best, if not the best, game planners in the nation. He is suffering from a lack of recruiting at South Carolina.
7. Sly Croom

Here we see the first significant drop off in our rankings at #7. Still, what Croom has done as Miss State is pretty remarkable considering where they were when he took over. The Bulldogs have to start recruiting better if they want to stay as a bowl level team in the SEC
8. Phil Fulmer

It seems that I rank Fulmer pretty low on this list, but ranking coaches in the SEC is liking ranking steaks. You can get the ultra premium steak or you can still get a good steak for a good value. Fulmer took the Vols to the SECCG last year and nearly won. People continually say this is the year the Volunteers take a permanent step back, but that has been when they surprise everyone.
9. Rich Brooks

When you have Rich Brooks as your 9th best coach in your conference then you know you are deep. All Brooks has done is take Kentucky to two straight bowl victories, beat the national champ last year, and be the center of the college football universe for two straight weeks last season. Football will always be second fiddle on campus though and recruiting will have to be finding the diamonds in the rough.
10. Bobby Johnson

Vanderbilt has gotten so close in the last few years to getting to a bowl game, but have come up short. A good coach gets Vanderbilt to that point. A great coach gets them over the hump, and then leaves for a better job.
11. Houston Nutt

When Arkansas first let go of Nutt (don't kid yourself, Arky didn't want him around anymore), I thought "who do they think they are?" Then when they got Petrino, I said "oh, that is why!". Nutt was a good coach in Fayetteville, but he totally mishandled his QB situation two years ago. oh well, not his problem anymore.

Results from a survey I did a while back using their choice of a weighted average of rankings based on recruiting, player development, gameday coaching, and program control.

SEC Coaching Poll Results

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