College football season is halfway over and conference play is just heating up. Now is a perfect time to assess coaches on how they have done this season.
1. Nick Saban, Alabama – He has created a top of the line program through recruiting and coaching. This year is no different as the Crimson Tide are off to a 6-0 start and have been dominant in each game.
2. Will Muschamp, Florida – The former Auburn and Texas defensive coordinator has Florida ahead of schedule and ranked second in the BCS rankings. The Gators defense is sixth in the country in points allowed.
3. Les Miles, LSU – It hasn’t been an ideal year for “The Mad Hatter”, especially after a loss to Florida. Miles took a break from chewing on grass to out-coach Steve Spurrier in LSU’s win over South Carolina last Saturday.
4. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina – He is the coach with the most entertaining press conference at SEC Media Days. His team lost at LSU for the first time this year, but Spurrier has been great building the program. He stuck to his game plan against Georgia and ran the ball 51 out of 61 plays to blowout the Bulldogs 35-7.
5. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M – The first year coach did great things with Case Keenum at Houston. Now Sumlin is giving redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel a chance to shine. Manziel is a Heisman contender for the 5-1 Aggies.
6. Mark Richt, Georgia – You have to give credit to Richt for being a disciplinarian this summer and suspending key defensive players for off the field issues. The loss at South Carolina drops him in the ranks for now, but a big game against Florida looms.
7. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State – The offensive minded coach is seeing results in his fourth season at the helm. Mississippi State is undefeated at 6-0. Let’s see how Mullen and the Bulldogs react when they travel to Alabama and LSU in the next few weeks.
8. Gary Pinkel, Missouri – Injuries are part of football, but the Tigers have been very unlucky to deal with losses of key players, such as quarterback James Franklin. The Tigers will need time to adjust to the conference and Pinkel is the man for the job.
9. James Franklin, Vanderbilt – The Commodores are 2-4 in Franklin’s second season as head coach. When quarterback Jordan Rodgers struggled, Franklin gave Austyn Carta-Samuels some snaps under center. Since then, Rodgers has played a lot better knowing he has competition.
10. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss – The first year coach came from Arkansas State. Ole Miss is 4-3 and defeated Auburn last week for the Rebels first SEC win since 2010.
Coaches on the Hot Seat
11. Derek Dooley, Tennessee – It’s only his third season in charge but Dooley has pressure after two sub-par years in 2010 and 2011. This was supposed to be the Volunteers’ breakout season with Tyler Bray at quarterback, but the team has underachieved.
12. Joker Phillips, Kentucky – Another coach only in his third year. It would seem harsh to fire him after this season because he doesn’t have the players to compete in the SEC. If he does get fired, there is no truth to the rumor that Kentucky will hire in-house and make John Calipari the football coach.
13. John L. Smith, Arkansas – As bad as Arkansas has been on the field, especially on the defensive side of the ball, there’s one thing that Arkansas athletic director should look at when determining Smith’s fate. At a speech in Little Rock in September, Smith called Arkansas Alabama. No wonder Razorback fans want Bobby Petrino back.
14. Gene Chizik, Auburn – Two years ago he won a national championship. Now he might be unemployed by the end of the season. Auburn has won one game this year and it was in overtime against Louisiana-Monroe. Fans want him out and if he doesn’t win soon, the Auburn faithful will get their wish.