SEC Football Q&A: Is Mark Richt Coaching for His Job vs. Georgia Tech?

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterNovember 24, 2015

Georgia head coach Mark Richt
Georgia head coach Mark RichtDale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Thanksgiving week is upon us, which means it's time to give thanks for the best football weekend of the year and properly prepare for what's to come—championship weekend and the coaching silly season.

With all eyes on Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and LSU head coach Les Miles, Georgia head coach Mark Richt has a slightly important football game with cross-state rival Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon in Atlanta. Could that dictate his future in Athens?

That question and more are answered in this week's edition of SEC Q&A. 

No, Richt is not coaching for his job against the Yellow Jackets.

The narrow escape from the grips of Sun Belt foe Georgia Southern in overtime last weekend didn't look great, but it's a much different story now than it would have been had the Bulldogs fallen to the Eagles.

An eight-win season won't sit well with the Georgia brass after the media selected the program to win the SEC East back in July, but if Richt cuts ties with first-year offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, that will keep the heat off his back enough this offseason for him to stick around and—more importantly—preserve what should be a stellar recruiting class.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt
Georgia head coach Mark RichtTodd Kirkland/Getty Images

It's clear that Richt is frustrated with his offense, which ranks last in the SEC in third-down conversions (31.54 percent) and 12th in red-zone scoring (78.95 percent).

"I think that we certainly have had our struggles, but as of late, we’ve scored enough points to win the last few games, which is the most important thing," Richt said of the team's offensive woes, according to the school's official site. "That’s how I feel about it. Football is a team sport. That’s how we play, that’s how we coach."

Richt will be back, regardless of the outcome of "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate."

Make no mistake, though—the 2016 season is one in which Georgia has to legitimately contend for the SEC East in November, and if the division as a whole doesn't improve, the Bulldogs probably have to win it. Until then, though, Richt will have the chance to fix his biggest offseason mistake by hiring a competent offensive coordinator (even if that means taking over some responsibility himself) and give it another go in 2016.

How's this different than what Miles is going through?

It's clear that LSU's lack of versatility on offense is a philosophical problem that stems from Miles himself, who has been infatuated with dual-threat quarterbacks for a decade despite never properly using them. The game has evolved, and Miles' style needs to be more flexible. 

Richt made a bad hire (Schottenheimer). Miles is the bad hire.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt
Georgia head coach Mark RichtKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This is a very specific question, because being the best quarterback "right now" isn't the same as being the best quarterback for the season, a Heisman Trophy contender or the likely first-team All-SEC quarterback.

The answer to the last three categories is Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, but if I'm picking a quarterback to play this week based on his most recent results, I'm taking Arkansas' Brandon Allen 10 times out of 10.

Arkansas QB Brandon Allen
Arkansas QB Brandon AllenSamantha Baker/Associated Press

In November alone—just three games—Allen has thrown for 989 yards, 14 touchdowns, tossed just one interception and is averaging 9.5 yards per attempt.

Sign me up.

There's a reason Arkansas fans were so disgusted when head coach Bret Bielema played for the field goal (which the Bulldogs blocked) late in the 51-50 loss to Mississippi State last weekend. Allen had already thrown seven touchdown passes in the game and could do no wrong in Fayetteville.

That wasn't a product of a weak Mississippi State defense, a fluke based on a random shootout or a departure from the norm for Allen. Nope, that was just "November." 

He's been awesome all year long and has caught fire during the final month of the season.

Arkansas QB Brandon Allen
Arkansas QB Brandon AllenStacy Revere/Getty Images

The Rebels winning the SEC West wouldn't completely kill the conference's playoff hopes, only because if Ole Miss beats Mississippi State, Auburn upsets Alabama and the Rebels take the division, one-loss Florida could still be alive to keep the SEC's playoff hopes afloat.

Make no mistake, though, it would be up to Florida to get in, because Ole Miss doesn't have a chance.

Florida head coach Jim McElwain
Florida head coach Jim McElwainEd Zurga/Getty Images

A three-loss SEC champion—which is what Ole Miss would be if it wins the SEC title—is not making the College Football Playoff, no matter how many dominoes fall around the country.

Florida still would have a chance on paper and has a blowout victory over Ole Miss to look back on if the two do meet in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Dec 5. As I wrote earlier in the week, though, this Florida team does very little to inspire, based on the lackluster offensive performances it has put on under quarterback Treon Harris.

Florida would need some style points even if it draws Alabama in Atlanta, and it would need truckloads of style points if an Iron Bowl upset happens and Ole Miss sneaks into the Georgia Dome instead of the Tide.

I'm not sure these Gators are capable of that many style points.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of cfbstats.com.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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