By Shane from Centerpoint
Some people might think accurately picking the best coach in the SEC is a difficult task. It goes without saying that the Southeastern Conference is chocked-full of good coaches who never say die. However, there is little doubt that this league takes no prisoners and quickly separates the men from the boys.
Actually when you come right down to it, the answer to who is the best is subjective. In light of that fact and when all is said and done, here are my picks:
1. Nick Saban â€“ There is no one else like him. He can evaluate and recruit the best talent and use his process to build a championship caliber team with alarming speed. Need proof? Go back and watch the film on last yearâ€™s national championship team. All Les Miles had to do was stand there and watch Sabanâ€™s players win, because he couldnâ€™t find a clue bag if it smacked him in the head.
2. Steve Spurrier â€“ He is still one of the best. His accomplishments at Florida came close to being Bryant-like. In spite of the fact he is handicapped by being at a lousy program, Steve is still able to keep the record respectable. When he finally wakes up and remembers that South Carolina doesnâ€™t really belong in the SEC, maybe heâ€™ll go to a school where he can build another champion.
3. Rich Brooks â€“ This may seem like an odd choice, but this man is winning at Kentucky â€“ a place where most coaches go to die. The NCAA hammered the Wildcats just as bad as Alabama back in 2001 and he still produces very competitive teams â€“ at Kentucky! If Brooks were at a top SEC program he would win a national title.
4. Mark Richt â€“ Many experts believe that Richt is the second best SEC head coach of this decade, with two conference championships hanging from his belt. The only thing separating Mark and Nick Saban is the coveted national title that Saban owns. This could be the year that Richt matches Nick and Steve with one to call his own.
5. Phillip Fulmer â€“ Say what you want, but this guy has survived and thrived in the nations toughest conference for a lot longer than most wouldâ€™ve expected, although he has struggled to some degree lately. Regardless, he is still has one of the best winning percentages of any active coach.
6. Urban Meyer â€“ He won a national championship, but the feat was accomplished with Ron Zookâ€™s players. Last year he did less with more than anyone with that much talent should. Meyer is a very good coach and an even better recruiter. If his caustic mouth doesnâ€™t get him run off, he will keep the Gators in position to compete for the SEC title every year.
7. Bob Petrino â€“ This dude has a reputation for being a great coach, but he hasnâ€™t really done anything yet. The manner in which he left his last job has to leave people wondering if Bob may just be about Bob. He will probably win at Arkansas after a few years of signing the type of players that fit his system.
8. Tommy Tuberville â€“ To put it simply, Tommy is a good football coach. His record of late speaks for itself. However, Tuberville tends to allow his teams to get bushwhacked at the most inopportune times. If Tubby could raise his focus above the team across the State he might enjoy even more success than he already has.
9. Houston Nutt â€“ Nutt is a great motivator. On the other hand he is a mediocre field coach. Houston lacks consistency and tends to gamble when he doesnâ€™t need to. Some believe that Nutt has stepped into a big pile of poop by going to Ole Miss, but others think he will own the State.
10. Sylvester Croom â€“ Sly is an old-school coach who works in a new, very different world. He seems to insist on doing things the way they used to do them. If he doesnâ€™t change with times he will stay mired in the middle of the pack.
11. Bobby Johnson â€“ Coach Johnson has the leagueâ€™s respect and he is focused to say the least. Yet, he is just a small fish trapped in a pool of big sharks. If he would only make the jump – he could probably rule a lesser conference like the ACC.
12. Les Miles â€“ This clown knows what it feels like to walk into a gold mine. Last year he reaped the benefits from the players put in place by the SECâ€™s best coach and rode on their backs to LSUâ€™s second national championship in this decade. Miles will be exposed as the clueless windbag he is by the end of this upcoming season.
You can reach Shane via email at firstname.lastname@example.org