Sunday, May 17, 2009

SEC Coaches Rankings: A Statistical Look

Everyone has a coaches ranking so I figure why not have one myself? But I thought it would be good to look at statistics only to rank the coaches instead of the typical ranking off the top of your head model.

To rank the SEC coaches, I used four major criteria: record, championships, recruiting, and "what have you done for me lately". With this criteria, I could not include recent hires Lane Kiffin, Gene Chizik, and Dan Mullen since they do not have any SEC head coaching stats to pull from.

The coaches were ranked against each other in these categories and a total point value was assigned. If you want more detail on the computations, read below and click on the link to the spreadsheet.

Vote in the poll on the right hand side your top SEC coach.

1. Urban Meyer - Florida - 32.17 points out of 36
Meyer scores high in all categories, but really separates himself in the records and championships areas. In terms of his record, the Florida coach was only out done by former head Gator Steve Spurrier in SEC games.

2. Nick Saban - Alabama - 27.33
Saban's best category was recruiting where he has been ranked #1 in the SEC the last two years. His downfall from not landing the top spot was his record where he had several 5-3 SEC seasons at LSU and a 7-6 season at Alabama.

3. Les Miles - LSU - 27.17
Miles finished just behind Saban owing mostly to his one SEC Championship compared to Saban's two. But across the board, the LSU coach earns high marks finishing second in record, recruiting, and recent success.

4. Mark Richt - Georgia - 22.83
Mark Richt started out hot in Athens, but has cooled recently. His record over the last four years and lack of national championship bumps him down the list. Despite his top notch recruiting class, they come in only fourth in the conference over the last four years.

5. Steve Spurrier - South Carolina - 21.83
Spurrier actually matched Meyer in championship points due to his six SEC Championships while at Florida. The Ol' Ball Coach has lost traction with his mediocre record in Columbia. Surprisingly, Spurrier ranked higher in recruiting than he has in his recent record.

6. Bobby Petrino - Arkansas - 13.67
The first surprise on the list was Bobby Petrino at number six. Petrino is bumped up by his overall record and relative recruiting strength in just two years at Arkansas. The Arkansas' overall winning percentage of 74 percent ranks third currently, ahead of Saban and Miles.

7. Houston Nutt - Ole Miss - 12.00
Nutt had a very first year in Oxford after an up and down career at Arkansas. The Ole Miss coach has never had great recruiting classes and if you take out his last four games in '08, has a very average record with only a 53 percent winning percentage in the SEC.

8. Rich Brooks - Kentucky - 7.33
Brooks has a very paltry 0.27 SEC winning percentage. His recent record has been good, but is still only good for eighth place out of the nine coaches. The Kentucky head man has the worst overall record of the nine coaches ranked.

9. Bobby Johnson - Vanderbilt - 4.33
Johnson has just one winning season at Vanderbilt and has not been able to raise the Commodores recruiting level much in the pantheon of SEC teams. His only saving grace is 49 % career winning percentage, which ranks eighth, bolstered by his time at Furman.

Not Ranked: Lane Kiffin, Gene Chizik, Dan Mullen

And just for conversation purposes, if I was to include those three...
1. Meyer
2. Saban
3. Miles
4. Richt
5. Spurrier
6. Petrino
7. Kiffin
8. Nutt
9. Brooks
10. Mullen
11. Johnson
12. Chizik

Vote in the poll on the right hand side your top SEC coach.

More detail on the rankings...
For the record portion, I used overall record, current school record, and overall SEC record. Coaches were ranked to their SEC peers with each category receiving equal weight. Same thing for the "championships" category where I used National Championship and SEC Championships and ranked each coach.

The recruiting rankings were devised by using and ranking over the last four years in comparison to the rest of the conference. If a team ranked fifth in the SEC on one site and third on another then they would receive an average ranking of four. In regards to coaching changes, I only counted classes where the coach was present on National Signing Day - Houston Nutt's recruiting ranking comes from classes at Ole Miss and Arkansas.

Finally, I ranked the coaches on their college coaching record over the last four seasons; Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino will include time from LSU and Louisville respectively.

A coach could earn a maximum of nine points in each category (since I ranked nine coaches) and a total of 36 points with each category given equal weight.

Click here for statistical detail of how the rankings were computed




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  1. I'm surprised that Petrino is ranked above Nutt. I wonder if that's going to change after this year when Ole Miss has a good chance to win the SEC West.

    Another thing that's interesting is how bad Spurrier is doing in Scar. I think most people expected him to take their program to the next level - especially after beating the Gators in 2005. The most he could do, though, is elevate his team to 'wildcard' status. I don't think he's going to last long there.

  2. Steve Spurries is the most irrelevant coach in college football. He is close to retirement and has no legacy to speak of...


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