SEC Midseason Coach Rankings
1. Mark Stoops, Kentucky
The guy beat Florida. Start from there, add in that the team started out 5-0, throw in the idea that UK is one win against Georgia away from potentially going to the SEC Championship, and … the guy beat Florida. That’s everything for a Kentucky head coach.
2. Ed Orgeron, LSU
Considering he was on every preseason hot seat list, and no one thought much of anything about LSU coming into the season, he has done a magnificent job. He and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda have turned 2018 LSU into a killer, with wins over Auburn and Miami along the way.
3. Nick Saban, Alabama
Give the guy credit for finding a way of handling the quarterback situation without a total meltdown, and for taking his program to a whole other level beyond just national title-amazing. There hasn’t even been the slightest bit of a blip so far.
4. Dan Mullen, Florida
Who believed that Florida was just sleeping? Not too many – at least, judging by how much I was ripped to shreds before the season for suggesting the team was going to turn around right away. The 5-1 Gators won just four games last year, and while losing to Kentucky isn’t okay, beating LSU and Mississippi State made up for it.
5. Kirby Smart, Georgia
The only knock is that Georgia hasn’t been razor sharp so far. Whatever – it’s killing everyone even with the various mistakes. The Dawgs are so good so far they’re making blowout wins look routine, but they’re just not getting the same credit and love Alabama is. There isn’t that one amazing win yet – at South Carolina is close – but that might be coming at LSU.
6. Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M
No one was expecting SEC and national championships right away, but so far he has provided a glimpse of what’s about to come once he gets his recruiting classes in. His Aggies pushed Clemson in a 28-26 loss, and didn’t get totally annihilated at Alabama. Kentucky is the only good win, but again, it’s about the future. The start has been just fine.
7. Matt Luke, Ole Miss
Hamstrung by the NCAA sanctions, his team keeps on fighting, the offense continues to be amazing, and the production is there even with nothing to play for. The blowout win over Texas Tech was breathtaking, the losses to Alabama and LSU more than acceptable, and when all is said and done, he might just lead the way to a winning season – and no bowl game.
8. Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State
The offense fell flat in losses to Kentucky and Florida, but just when it seemed like the good start to the season was overrated and overblown, he turned Nick Fitzgerald loose in a brilliant win over Auburn. Granted, he was handed a heater of a team by Dan Mullen, but he’s showing what the offense will potentially do on a consistent basis.
9. Will Muschamp, South Carolina
There’s a drop-off this season from the top eight – Muschamp hasn’t done anything that amazing so far – but the win over Missouri without starting quarterback Jake Bentley might have been a season-saver. This was supposed to be a big year, and that went bye-bye after getting blown out by Georgia and losing to Kentucky.
10. Barry Odom, Missouri
The loss of offensive coordinator Josh Heupel to UCF hasn’t affected things too much, and there was a nice win at Purdue, but soon, Odom has to shake the tag that his team can’t win the big one. But until then, after the problems at Alabama to come this weekend, Mizzou should to on a bit of a role, and should finish with at least seven wins.
11. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
It’s never easy at Vanderbilt, and that’s especially true when the league is rocking. Throw in a non-conference date at Notre Dame – and it’s been rough at times. However, the offense is working, the Commodores have beaten the teams they’re supposed to, and there’s a fun passing game.
12. Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Coming off an SEC West title season, and with a tremendous defense in place, so much more was – and still is – expected out of the Tigers. The win over Washington was amazing, but losing to LSU at home hurt, and only managing three field goals at Mississippi State was brutal.
13. Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee
It’s been a rough early schedule, and it’s not going to improve until November. Pruitt has a big-time rebuild to keep doing, and it’ll take a while. The defense was great against the miserable teams, but the blowout losses to West Virginia, Florida and Georgia showed how many miles this program has to go.
14. Chad Morris, Arkansas
North Texas 44, Arkansas 17. Colorado State 34, Arkansas 27. The Hogs might be improving a bit – they did score 31 on Alabama – but they have yet to beat an FBS team, and the offense hasn’t shown up since the 55 hung on Eastern Illinois to start the season.