The Back Nine comes at you after a week when I really thought we had changed places with Seattle. But we got two of everything on the boat and survived to bring you the “Friday Fivesome”, another summer look at college football.
1.Today we are going to talk about coaches in the SEC, a subject that elicits all kinds of emotions among the conference’s most faithful fans. These are facts more than opinions and I found some of them interesting while I was doing some research (a few days off really stimulated my brain). We’ll start with this gem – if Dan Mullen can take care of Florida Atlantic and South Florida in his first two games, he will have won 100 games in his career. He has 69 wins at Mississippi State and 29 at Florida. In eight of his 12 seasons, he has won at least eight games and has averaged 8.2 wins a season. Those are the marks of a better than average coach and yet every coaching ranking I see has him as a top 10 coach in the college game. And every prognosis for the 2021 Gators has UF struggling this year. The math doesn’t add up. If Mullen is such a great coach, won’t he be able to get the most out of his team?
2. This is how new this crop of coaches is. Not necessarily young, but new. Don’t forget, seven coaches will make their SEC Media Days debuts in a couple of weeks and it would be eight if Lane Kiffin hadn’t had a cup of coffee with Tennessee. Nick Saban has 164 wins at Alabama and the second most wins at the school where he is the coach is Kirby Smart with 52. There are eight coaches who have yet to win their sixth game at their school.
3. Here’s some trivia – who is second in terms of total wins to Saban for his career as a head coach? That would be Mike Leach with 143 at Texas Tech and Washington State and, of course, 11 games at Mississippi State. Leach has had 11 seasons with at least eight wins.
4. And another one. Who is second in the SEC in winning percentage for a career. That would be new Tennessee coach Josh Heupel, who is at .778 during his brief career to Saban’s incredible .797. Take these into a bar and you might win some bets. Not that I am encouraging drinking. Or gambling.
5. So, in conclusion, let’s go back to this Dan Mullen thing. If he is such a great coach and that seems to be the consensus, why does everyone want to dismiss this Florida team? I saw Heather Dinich, who was on my podcast the other day, said Florida would not be in her top 25. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the media vote Florida out of the No. 2 spot in the SEC East. Nobody seems to trust Emory Jones even though Mullen is considered one of the best quarterback coaches in the country. Todd Grantham’s reputation went into the toilet last year, but he’ll get it back in 2021. I think Florida has a great roster and better coaches this year. Just remember this – last season was an outlier. Great offenses and terrible defenses were an offshoot of the pandemic. It will be different this year. Florida will be fine.