Going into the 2018 season, how to the SEC coaches stack up? Here’s the preseason ranking of all the head men.
Preview 2018: Ranking The SEC Coaches
Who do you want as your head coach for right now, and who are the best guys going at each program?
Of course, it’s easy to go by record, but it’s just as much about trends, where the teams are going, and where the buzz is at for each of the rulers of their respective worlds.
These aren’t Hot Seat Rankings – those are coming later. These are the rankings based loosely on what the head coaches have done, and mostly about what they’re about to do.
Think of it this way. If all things were equal in terms of program, talent, facilities, etc., and you were to hold a head coaching draft …
14. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
He’s at least making Vanderbilt sort of competitive, but after four losing seasons, he’s been to just one bowl game and is 6-26 record in SEC play. Yeah, it’s Vanderbilt, but at the same time, it’s been a down run for the East over the last few seasons, and he hasn’t been able to take advantage of it.
– Preview 2018: Did Vandy Miss Its Chance?
13. Barry Odom, Missouri
It’s been a rough two years, even with a fun offense and a 7-6 record last season. The Tigers can’t seem to do much against anyone who’s any good, and after a miserable start to last season – when they did play the good teams – Odom’s seat was getting toasty. However, the team did improve, and if he can win more than seven games this season, the trend will be going up.
– Preview 2018: Slower, Steadier, Better?
12. Matt Luke, Ole Miss
Stuck in impossible situation, he had to take over Ole Miss just as it was in the midst of the Hugh Freeze fallout and the NCAA issues. The team had nothing to play for, and yet it still scratched and clawed its way to a 6-6 season. Now, Luke has to try doing it all again. Just 41 going into the season, he’s a young offensive mind and he lives for Ole Miss football. At some point, it’ll be interesting to see what he can do getting past the program’s past problems.
– Preview 2018: No Bowl, But Still Dangerous
11. Chad Morris, Arkansas
The former Clemson offensive coordinator had one decent season at SMU, and that, along with his great offense, was enough to get Arkansas interesting. His teams so far haven’t done much defensively, but the offense will be fun. After turning SMU around – improving the last two years – he has to do the same for the Hogs.
– Preview 2018: Let’s Try This Again
10. Mark Stoops, Kentucky
The expectations aren’t through the roof for UK football, but there is the demand to at least go bowling and be competitive every year. Stoops has been able to do that, finally getting the team over a little bump with two straight 7-6 seasons and bowl appearances. But did it hit a ceiling? He’s 26-36 in five years and a rough 12-28 in SEC play.
– Preview 2018: Will UK Ever Be Great?
9. Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee
It might have been messy, and he might not have been the first choice out of the box, but Tennessee might have just got it right. The 44-year-old is ready after turning in a phenomenal run as the highest-end defensive coordinator at Florida State, Georgia and Alabama. He has no head coaching experience, but again, he’s ready.
– Preview 2018: Rebirth Of A Superpower
8. Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State
He created an almost unstoppable force as the Fordham head coach before taking on the Penn State offensive coordinator gig. Terrific over the last few seasons, he has the talent and ingenuity to take what Dan Mullen did in Starkville and make the offense even stronger.
– Preview 2018: Hail State’s Coaching Hire
7. Ed Orgeron, LSU
Can he really rock at this head coaching thing? He’s been fine with two massive programs – going 6-2 at USC and 15-6 so far at LSU – but one of the best assistants and recruiters in college football needs to prove he can turn the program into a national championship powerhouse again. One more season with nine or more wins, and the 10-25 era at Ole Miss will be well in the rearview mirror.
– Preview 2018: Is Being Very Good Enough?
6. Will Muschamp, South Carolina
His teams are tough, they fight, and they’re able to stay in games, but can he take South Carolina to an SEC East championship level? He had one fantastic 11-2 season at Florida back in 2012, but until his offenses can start doing more, there’s a ceiling on how good his teams will be. That attack might just show up this year.
– Preview 2018: It’s Not Pretty, But Effective