A New BCS System: Who Is the SEC's Top Coach?
Being involved in sports talk radio is one of the greatest joys of my life. I love the preparation, I love the deductive reasoning, and I love the overall passion that we have as fans. However, the best part about sports talk radio is the interaction with the listeners.
I love a good debate. Sometimes I am correct and sometimes I learn something new, but it is almost always a pleasant experience. The only part I dislike is when you deal with fans who have no regard for the past and only recognize the newest fad of the moment.
In sports, this point is best seen in who fans consider the top coaches. I remember in 2005 Mark Richt was the hot name. Then, Urban Meyer came into the league and won two national championships and carried the title as top coach. Now, it seems Nick Saban is the sexy pick.
As a result, I decided that it was time to put all of the information on the table. So I created a ranking that rewards both sensational seasons and long-term success. Here is the complete layout.
Winning Percentage 24 points for the highest/2 points for the lowest
National Championship 10 points
Conference championship 7 points
Outright Divisional Title 3 points
Share of a divisional title 2 points
BCS Bowl Victory 5 points
Non-BCS bowl victory 2 points
Top 5 final ranking 5 points
Top 10 final ranking 2 points
Top 25 final ranking 1 point
Once these numbers are calculated, five points are deducted for each losing season and/or losing conference record on a coaches resume.
Lastly, the top three coaches are extracted from the others and their head-to-head record versus each other is comprised. For each win, over another coach in the top 3, five bonus points are added.
At that time, the coach with the most points is recognized as the top active coach in the SEC.
No. 12 and No. 11- Will Muschamp and James Franklin (Incomplete)
Both Will Muschamp (Florida) and James Franklin (Vanderbilt) were recently hired at the respective colleges.
However, neither coach has prior head coaching experience. As a result, we are unable to include them in this season's rankings.
However, when we update the rankings at the end of the season, both coaches will be included.
No. 10: Derek Dooley (-17 Points)
There are many people, in and outside of Knoxville, who believe that Derek Dooley is going to be a great coach. That Tennessee has caught him on the way up.
However, to this point, his output has not met his potential. He has been a head coach four seasons. Of those four seasons, he has produced a losing team three times.
His only winning season was in 2008 when he led Louisiana Tech to an 8-5 record capped off with an Independence Bowl victory over Northern Illinois.
However, the following season his team took a step backwards once again and finished 4-8. Coach Dooley might become the coach the Vols hoped for when they hired him, but as of now he does not have a track record of success.
In the rankings, he was awarded 6 points for having the lowest winning percentage among eligible coaches (.460) and 2 points for a non-BCS bowl win.
He was then deducted 25 points for three losing seasons (15) and two losing conference records (10) for a final total of -17 points.
No. 9 Houston Nutt (-11 Points)
Coach Nutt has had some success. For example, he has won three divisional crowns and four bowl games.
However, he also has had three losing seasons. None of them were as bad as last season,which sent him on a free fall down the rankings.
Coach Nutt was awarded 14 points for his career winning percentage (.590), eight points for four non-BCS bowl victories and seven points for his three divisional titles (1 outright, 2 ties).
He was then deducted 40 points for 4 losing seasons and 4 losing conference records.
No. 8: Joker Phillips (-2 Points)
It is hard enough to move up the coaching rankings in such a difficult league. However, when you only have one season on your resume it makes it even more difficult.
After a loss in the Compass Bowl this season, Coach Phillips' record dropped to 6-7. Had he won that game, his total score would had been higher.
Coach Phillips received 8 points for his overall coaching record, and he lost 10 points because of his losing record both overall and in conference.
No. 7: Dan Mullen (4 Points)
If coach Mullen is able to win more battles in the recruiting game, he seems primed to move up this list every year. However, at this time, he only has two seasons.
His first season at Mississippi State was a losing one. This past season, the Mississippi State team showed great resolve finishing the season 9-4 including a 52-14 victory over Michigan in the Gator Bowl.
Mullen was awarded 12 points for his career winning percentage (.540) and two points for his 2010 Gator Bowl victory. He was then deducted 10 points for one losing season and one losing conference record.
No 6. Gene Chizik (14 Points)
I fully expect Coach Chizik to move up the rankings quickly over the next few seasons. However, in his short career he has only had one good year as a head coach.
His 14 wins this season, with the Auburn Tigers, surpassed his three prior head coaching seasons combined by one win.
Coach Chizik received 10 points for his .529 career winning percentage and this past season netted him another 29 points.
However, his three prior seasons cost him 25 of those points, leaving him with a total of 14.
No. 5: Bobby Petrino (42 Points)
Coach Petrino is considered by many to be one of the top coaches in the nation. However, since leaving the Atlanta Falcons to become head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, he has yet to have that breakout season.
His team did make it to the Sugar Bowl this season but loss to Ohio State. Over the last decade, we have watched one coach after another come into the SEC and win a conference championship in the first two-to-three seasons, but Coach Petrino is yet to have done it.
However, his success at Louisville has landed him in the top 5. Coach Petrino was rewarded 22 points for having the second highest winning percentage among active SEC coaches (.727).
He also gained 9 points for bowl wins (1 BCS, 2 other bowl wins),14 points for conference championships (2 CUSA championships), 5 points for a top 5 finish and an 2 points for an additional top 10 finish.
He then lost 15 points for a losing record and two losing conference records for a remaining total of 42 points.
No. 4: Les Miles (58 Points)
Coach Les Miles is one of the most debated coaches in the nation.
Regardless of what you think about him, you don't get to No. 4 on this list without some coaching ability.
Coach Miles has not only won a national championship at LSU but they have been a pillar in the SEC over his time there.
Coach Miles received 16 points for his career winning percentage of .703.
He also gained 10 points for a national championship, 18 points for 6 bowl wins (2 BCS wins, 4 other bowl wins),7 points for a conference championship, 3 points for an additional divisional title, 15 points three top five finishes and 2 points for an additional top 10 finish.
He then lost 15 of those 73 points for a losing season and two losing conference records, leaving him with 58 points.
No. 3: Mark Richt (102 Points)
There is one thing holding Mark Richt back from joining the two other elite coaches, and that is a national championship.
Remember, he has been close on multiple occasions. His 2003 team had the same record as the 2003 national championship LSU team, the 2006 national championship Florida team, and the 2008 national championship Florida team.
Moreover, his 2007 team had the same record as the 2007 national championship LSU team.
The reality is, if UGA were to run the table this season, while unlikely, he would have a career that was equal to Nick Saban's.
Both would have 3 SEC titles and a 13-1 season and a 14-0 season as their two best seasons. However, that hasn't happened and this is his reality. No matter how great his career has been, he is on the outside looking in.
Coach Richt received 24 points for the highest career wining percentage, 20 points for bowl victories (2 BCS wins, 5 other bowl wins), 14 points for two conference championships, 4 points for 2 additional SEC East divisional ties, 10 points for two top five rankings and 8 for four additional top 10 finishes.
Coach Richt lost 10 points for a losing record and conference record last season leaving him with a total of 72. Lastly, he gained 30 points for his 6 wins versus the other top 3 members, giving him a final score of 102.
No. 2: Nick Saban (128 Points)
Coach Nick Saban is, without question, a future Hall of Famer. he has won two national championships at two different schools. However, that only qualifies him for number two here.
Coach Saban received 18 points for his .717 winning percentage.
He also received 20 points for two national championships, 21 points for bowl wins (3 BCS wins, 3 other bowl wins), 28 points for conference championships (3 SEC, 1 MAC), 5 points for additional divisional championships (1 additional outright SEC, 1 tie for SEC), 10 points for two top 5 finishes, and 6 points for 3 additional top 10 rankings. He also received 20 points for four victories over the other two top three members. He finished with 128 points.
No. 1: Steve Spurrier (151 Points)
The Old Ball Coach comes in at number one and for good reason.What can we say, not only does the “old ball coach” have twice as many SEC championships and 3 times as many top 5's as anyone else in the SEC, he also is 3-1 against his closest competitor, Nick Saban.
Moreover, in those three wins, his teams have won by scores of 31, 30, and 14.
No one can argue with the job that Saban has done rebuilding Alabama and LSU. However, consider this, prior to Spurrier arriving in Gainesville, the team had NEVER won an SEC championship in their 57 seasons of play.
They were on probation for the second time in five years. From that, he perhaps put together the greatest rebuilding effort in the history of college football.
He has had his ups and downs at South Carolina but he was able to lead them to their first ever SEC East Division title. The job Saban has done at LSU and Alabama was tremendous.
However, these were schools had a combined 35 SEC championships and claimed 13 national championships prior to his arrival. South Carolina and Florida had never won either.
Coach Spurrier received 20 points for his winning percentage, 10 points for a national championship, 31 points for seven bowl victories (5 BCS, 2 additional bowls), 49 points for 7 conference championships (6 SEC, 1 ACC), 11 points for additional divisional titles (3 additional outright SEC Divisional, 1 tie) 30 points for 6 top-fives, and 8 points for 4 additional top-ten finishes. Coach Spurrier did lose 25 points for losing records and conference records.
He also gained 25 points for his head to head victories over the other top 3 members for a total of eight points for longevity.
There are several good coaches in the SEC. However, none have put together the type of run that Coach Spurrier has. Then, you take into account that he did it somewhere that had never won even a divisional crown.
My biggest question is will someone catch him? It can be done, but it would be difficult. He had unprecedented success in Florida and now appears to have the South Carolina train rolling as well.
What do you say? Do you have a different opinion? If so, why?