Going into the 2019 season, how do the SEC coaches stack up? Here’s the preseason ranking of all the head men.
Who do you want as your head coach for right now, and how good are the all the current SEC coaches?
Record and resumés aren’t necessarily everything, but of course they matter. Where are each of the teams going, which guys have the buzz, and which ones need to prove themselves a bit more?
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 you were to hold a head coaching draft …
14. Chad Morris, Arkansas
It was a wee bit of curious hire last season considering Morris only had one okay season at SMU – going 7-5 for his only winning campaign in three years – and things didn’t exactly blow up right away. Going 2-10 in Year One was bad enough, but losses to Colorado State and North Texas along the way didn’t help. Worst of all, Morris was hired because of his offensive coaching abilities, and the team scored 17 points or fewer six times. There’s a massive Prove It factor this season.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 11
– 2019 Arkansas Preview
13. Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee
If you’re buying stock in SEC head coaches, yeah, go heavy on Pruitt – but he still has to prove he can get the job done. There was hope last year, but needing one win in the final two winnable games for bowl eligibility, his team clunked in a 50-17 loss to Missouri and a 38-13 disaster to Vanderbilt. He’s a fantastic head coach prospect who appears to have things on the right track, but he needs to show it.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 9
– 2019 Tennessee Preview
12. Matt Luke, Ole Miss
Now we get to see what he can really do. Thrown into a tough situation, he had some great offensive weapons to work with, but there wasn’t much for the defensive side, and keeping the motivation there considering the school’s NCAA sanctions was tough. 11-13 with two sixth-place finishes in the West was an acceptable start considering the circumstances, but this year he has to appear to be the type of head coach who can hang with the heavyweights in his division.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 12
– 2019 Ole Miss Preview
11. Will Muschamp, South Carolina
Yeah, South Carolina has a BRUTAL schedule, but this is Year Four – the payoff has to come at some point. In his seven years as a head coach at South Carolina and Florida combined, he had one massive 11-2 2012 season with the Gators, and that was about it. Since taking over the gig, Georgia has risen up, Florida is back, and even Kentucky has shown something special, all while the Gamecocks have gone 22-17 during his tenure.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 6
– 2019 South Carolina Preview
10. Barry Odom, Missouri
It was a tough, tough act to follow after the Gary Pinkel era, and going 19-19 in three years with two bowl losses isn’t quite cutting it. But despite the strange NCAA sanctions the school was hit with, he’s been able to set up the program well for the near future, mostly by doing a great job of securing his quarterbacks from the grad transfer world. The Tigers had their best season since 2014 last year, and he has improved his win total from four, to seven, to eight.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 13
– 2019 Missouri Preview
9. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt has gone bowling in two of the last three seasons. That might not seem like that big a deal, but 1) it’s Vanderbilt, 2) ask Tennessee if that’s easy, and 3) there’s some excellent talent in place to keep being dangerous. 24-38 in five years isn’t anything impressive, and he has yet to have a winning season, but get to six wins and a bowl, and you’re doing something solid in Nashville.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 14
– 2019 Vanderbilt Preview
8. Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Here’s the problem. Yeah, Malzahn has done a fine job, but Alabama isn’t going anywhere, LSU is still fantastic, and Texas A&M is coming up fast in the rearview mirror. Auburn almost won a national title in 2013, and it’s only a season removed from beating Bama and going to the SEC Championship. But since that first season,
Auburn has lost five games or more in four of the last five campaigns and lost four games in 2017. Under Malzahn, the Tigers have lost 25 games in the last five seasons. In the West over that span, only Ole Miss and Arkansas have lost more.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 4
– 2019 Auburn Preview
7. Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State
Be ready for Moorhead to grow into a superstar over the next few seasons. He’s a brilliant offensive head coach who took over the reins from Dan Mullen and won with a phenomenal defense that turned out to be among the best in the school’s history. Once the guy who created a powerhouse at Fordham and rocked as a Penn State assistant starts to get his O going, look out.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 8
– 2019 Mississippi State Preview
6. Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Fantastic … now do it again. Stoops and UK were okay, but last season everything clicked and the program came up with its first ten-win campaign since 1977. It was a brilliant Coach of the Year type of job in dogfight after dogfight, but now without Benny Snell running the ball and Josh Allen eating everyone’s lunch, Stoops has to prove that it wasn’t an aberration.
Last Season Preseason Ranking: 10
– 2019 Kentucky Preview