76.1 F
Huntsville
79 F
Muscle Shoals
77.5 F
Albertville
75.7 F
Fort Payne

Rating the coaches of the SEC West — without Auburn

Which football coaches of the SEC West are starting the college football season on the hot seat, and who is set up for success in 2022? We answered that question for the other division last week, including Auburn in the effort because that’s where they belong in the first place.

We introduced last week’s column with much ado and ready to fire at least one coach, so let’s get right to it.

THE RATING SYSTEM

We’re back with the same rating system as last week, providing an arbitrary number value to each coach’s body of work from zero to six.

  • (6) Rename the stadium. Your name will grace our field or stadium until someone comes along who performs better than you do.
  • (5) Build the statue. We’re building a statue in your likeness. It probably won’t be removed unless you get cancelled.
  • (4) Extend the contract. We like what you’re doing, here’s a few extra (million) bucks.
  • (3) Stay the course. Congratulations! You’re not fired. That can be one of the highest honors coaches can receive.
  • (2) Fire the coordinators. Figure something out to turn this program around.
  • (1) Call the movers. Clean out your desk and dust off your resume.
  • (0) Throw the brick. Dismissed with extreme prejudice, with apologies to Bill Curry.
SAM PITTMAN, ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS

Pittman is only 12-11 in two years at Fayetteville and/or Little Rock but he’s trending up from three wins to nine. If he holds that momentum in his third year, other schools are going to start trying to poach him. Pittman also looks like an Arkansas coach, which goes a long way in this very professional analysis of a billion-dollar industry. GRADE: (4) Extend the contract.

BRIAN KELLY, LSU

Brian Kelly’s accent went from Mark Wahlberg to Bobby Boucher the day he set foot on campus to coach in Baton Rouge. An offseason of ridicule commenced after LSU backed up the Brinks truck to steal Kelly from Notre Dame. From the 360° recruiting video featuring his clunky dancing to the debut of his aforementioned new accent, he’s lost his luster a bit. None of that matters of course if he wins immediately. GRADE: (3) Stay the course.

MIKE LEACH, MISSISSIPPI STATE

This one is tough. Mike Leach has played a critical role in keeping the Bulldogs afloat after the program tried to replace Dan Mullen with Joe Moorhead in 2018. He improved in his second year in Starkville, but he just doesn’t win consistently, and his baggage further sinks his body of work. In his 23rd season, he has only won his division once. That doesn’t paint a bright future. It’s time for MSU to move along. GRADE: (1) Call the movers.

LANE KIFFIN, MISSISSIPPI

Lane Kiffin is a complicated guy. Seriously, take a minute to reminisce on all he’s given the fans over the years. He fits the never lost a party culture in Oxford. As long as he’s your head coach, top-flight quarterbacks will always consider being reborn as a Rebel. If the Clarion-Ledger wrote a book about the team’s “magical” 10-3 season of 2003, Lane Kiffin deserves at least a few extra bucks. GRADE: (4) Extend the contract.

JIMBO FISHER, TEXAS A&M

Last season, Fisher became the first of Nick Saban’s former assistants to beat him. He’s pulled a historic recruiting class into College Station, albeit thanks to new NIL opportunities. Jimbo hasn’t won more than nine games in the four years and Texas is coming. We gave Fisher a 3 because A&M owes him close to $100 million no matter what happens. He may as well keep coaching for them if he’s going to get paid anyway. GRADE: (3) Stay the course.

NICK SABAN, ALABAMA

What can we say? He broke the game. Through changes to the postseason, recruiting and actual on-the-field rules, he keeps winning. Despite a revolving door of assistant coaches operating at the speed of Mach 5, he kept winning. Alabama fans simply can’t gripe about much these days. In his time in Tuscaloosa, he’s outlasted more than 50 other SEC coaches. You could pay him more, but that probably won’t motivate him. A brick through his window would only annoy him. Saban is Alabama and wouldn’t leave if he were fired. All this being said, please fire Pete Golding. GRADE: (2) Fire the coordinators.

What did we get wrong? Let us know on Twitter or Instagram, and take a listen below to this week’s episode of Throw the Flag.

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