NCAA Football 2019 SEC Coach Rankings
The best conference in football is destined to have the best coaches, right? Every sports fan in America knows about the championship prowesses of Nick Saban, the up-and-coming team Kirby Smart has assembled in Georgia and the FSU legend turned new kid on the SEC block in Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, but the great conference that is the Southeastern Conference is stacked from top-to-bottom with excellent coaches who have helped build some of the nation’s best football programs. With that in mind, let’s break down every single SEC football coach and see where they stand compared to their in-conference counterparts.
#14 – Chad Morris, Arkansas
Arkansas Head Coach since: 2018
2018 record: 2-10
Previous Role: Head Coach at SMU (2015-2017)
Getting a final order for the last few coaches on the list is tough, because quite a few of these coaches have had little-to-no time at their jobs so far and they weren’t exactly given the best situation for them to coach a winning outfit right away. Morris was only a mediocre coach at SMU with 7-5 being the best record he earned as the Mustangs coach over 3 years, which made Arkansas’ decision to hire him a questionable one. This is a rebuilding team, but Morris’ first signs weren’t pretty.
#13 – Matt Luke, Ole Miss
Ole Miss Head Coach since: 2017 (he was an interim)
2018 record: 5-7
Previous Role: Co-OC/OL Coach at Ole Miss (2012-2016)
A former Rebels offensive lineman himself, Luke hasn’t been sailing a smooth ship in his two years as Ole Miss coach. Being promoted from his OC role following Hugh Freeze’s departure in July 2017, Luke has had 6-6 and 5-7 records in his two years on the job. Average sure, but not good enough considering the prestige of the Ole Miss football program. Credit to him for keeping cool in the wake of the Freeze fiasco, but his 1 win in SEC play last year simply wasn’t good enough and needs to be improved on.
#12 – Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee
Tennessee Head Coach since: 2018
2018 record: 5-7
Previous Role: DC/ILB coach at Alabama (2016-2017)
Tennessee was a dumpster fire of a program after Butch Jones’ tenure as head coach, so the Vols reached into the Nick Saban Factory of Coaches and picked out Alabama’s exceptional DC in Jeremy Pruitt. Pruitt’s first year signs were solid and this team had an exceptional signing class, one of the best in America. In a couple of years time Pruitt could be much higher on this list.
#11 – Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt Head Coach since: 2014
2018 record: 6-7
Previous Role: DC at Stanford (2012-2013)A
It is worth noting that Mason is coaching Vanderbilt, probably the least desirable destination in all of the SEC, and he is doing the best with what he has in Nashville. He has defeated Tennessee 3 times in a row; only one other Vandy coach has done that ever! 2 bowl games in the last 3 years is good too, so credit to Mason. But he is still without a winning record as HC of the Commodores, and for most of his tenure he’s been on the hot seat. You can’t put him too high for those reasons.
#10 – Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State
Mississippi State Head Coach since: 2018
2018 record: 8-5
Previous Role – OC at Penn State (2016-2017)A
Moorhead had a solid first year in StarkVegas, finishing 8-5 with a dominant defense. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Nick Fitzgerald never took that next step under his offensive mastermind head coach, and the Bulldogs’ offense was atrocious at times. Three of Mississippi State’s defensive studs (Jeffery Simmons, Montez Sweat, Johnathan Abram) were first-round picks in the NFL draft, and who knows how the Bulldogs will do with a weaker defense in 2019. This is a big year for Moorhead.
#9 – Barry Odom, Missouri
Missouri Head Coach since: 2016
2018 record: 8-5
Previous Role: DC at Missouri (2015)A
Gary Pinkel leaving Mizzou was one tough pill for Tigers fans to swallow, but Odom has been a more than capable replacement ever since. 2016 was a poor debut season for Odom as the team went 4-8, but he went 15-11 over the past two seasons and took Mizzou to back-to-back bowl games in the process. Odom now gets the raw talent of transfer signal caller Kelly Bryant in 2019, and if Bryant plays well, who knows what the Tigers will do next season.
#8 – Will Muschamp, South Carolina
South Carolina Head Coach since: 2016
2018 record: 7-6
Previous Role: DC at Auburn (2015)
The former top dog at Florida, Muschamp is now doing good things at his own program, and somebody of his caliber not even being in the top HALF of all SEC coaches is a testament to how great this conference is. Jake Bentley is a rising star at the QB spot, and despite the Gamecocks having one of the nation’s hardest schedules in 2019, it’s safe to say that the team should improve on it’s 7 win campaign last season.
#7 – Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Auburn Head Coach since: 2013
2018 record: 8-5
Previous Role: HC at Arkansas State (2012)
A couple of years ago, Coach Gus would have been noticeably higher up on this list, following the immediate impression he made on Auburn fans following his incredible 2013 season turnaround, but since then, things have cooled off a tiny bit for Malzahn. His 2018 season wasn’t the best, as he faced rumours about his potential buyout by Auburn all season long and a team with high expectations in the Tigers only went 8-5, but Gus is back for a 7th season in 2019. This is a crucial season for his job security.
#6 – Ed Orgeron, LSU
LSU Head Coach since: 2016
2018 record: 10-3
Previous Role: DL Coach at LSU (2015-2016)A
Last season was a successful one for Orgeron and LSU, finishing 10-3 on their way to the #6 seed in the country as well as a Fiesta Bowl victory. A former interim coach for the Tigers, Orgeron is a solid coach known for his hardcore defensive tactics; the Tigers consistently possess one of America’s best defenses and always have multiple guys on D get drafted. Orgeron would be higher in any conference other than the stacked SEC.
#5 – Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Kentucky Head Coach since: 2013
2018 record: 10-3
Previous Role: DC at Florida State (2010-2012)
Maybe questionable putting a guy with a 36-39 career record ahead of Orgeron and Malzahn? Possibly, but the job Stoops has done at one of the least desirable jobs in America (always in the shadow of the basketball program) has been nothing short of incredible, in particular what he did last season. LB Josh Allen (top ten pick!) and RB Benny Snell led Kentucky to a 10 win campaign, a win in the Citrus Bowl and a #12 ranking in one of the best seasons ever for the former SEC laughing stock. Both of the aforementioned stars Allen and Snell are gone, but Stoops has been so good with his recruiting and player development that the team should keep on it’s winning path.
#4 – Dan Mullen, Florida
Florida Head Coach since: 2018
2018 record: 10-3
Previous Role: HC at Mississippi State (2009-2017)
The former top dog at Mississippi State, Mullen made a controversial switch to the Gators for 2018 and made an immediate impact, taking a team lead by Feleipe Franks all the way to a 10 win season, a win in the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl and a #7 ranking in the AP Poll. Not a bad way to start your stint at a new job. Mullens was one of the SEC’s most consistent coaches in Starkville and his first season as coach of the Gators lived up to the hype. It’s too bad for Mullen that the three coaches ahead of him in the power rankings are three of the best of our generation.
#3 – Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M
Texas A&M Head Coach since: 2018
2018 record: 9-4
Previous Role: HC at Florida State (2010-2017)
One of college football’s highest paid coaches, Fisher is a winner, a national champion at that (2013 at FSU). He arrived at Texas A&M in 2019 to replace the mediocre Kevin Sumlin and immediately took the team to not only new heights, but a brighter future, turning sophomore QB Kellen Mond into a player with immense potential, and one of college football’s most exciting young talents. 10 wins and more appears to be on the Aggies agenda for 2019.
#2 – Kirby Smart, Georgia
Georgia Head Coach since: 2016
2018 record: 11-3
Previous Role: DC at Alabama (2008-2015)
If you’ve watched college football over the last few years, there isn’t much explaining I have to do on why Kirby Smart is such a highly acclaimed head coach. He has turned Georgia into a winning team, a recruiting force that picks up elite quarterback prospects like they’re dimes on a street, and he has turned Georgia into one of CFB’s absolute best teams. Best of all, he’s only 43, and you would think that at some stage he will win a national championship (if not multiple!) with the Bulldogs. He’s incredible.
#1 – Nick Saban, Alabama
Alabama Head Coach since: 2007
2018 record: 14-1
Previous Role: HC at Miami Dolphins (2004-2006)
2 CFB National Championships, 3 BCS National Championships, trips to every single CFB playoff since it’s inauguration, 52 first team All-Americans, 29 first round picks over 12 seasons, 87 total players drafted during his stint in Tuscaloosa, 2 Heisman trophy winners, the 2018 Heisman runner up who is the co-favourite to win the award in 2019, at least 10 wins in every season except his first one.
That is why Nick Saban is the best coach in college football (not that you didn’t know that already).