Coaching Hot Seat Rankings - SEC
Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson
Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson
Posted Apr 5, 2010

Which coaches are on the hottest seats? Beyond just the idea of a coach possibly being fired for not winning, the rankings are also based on who's under the most pressure, like Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson, who needs to capture the magic of the 2008 bowl season.

2010 Spring Preview
Coaching Hot Seats - SEC

2010 Spring Preview 
- No. 20 Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 1-10) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 11-20) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 21-30) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 31-40) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 41-50)  
- No. 19 Is this it for the Big 12? 
- No. 18 Just how close the Big East has come to a BCS title?
- No. 17 Did ACC expansion work?
- No. 16 Why does the Pac 10 need USC to be good?
- No. 15 Just how hot is the Big Ten for expansion? 
- No. 14 Does the SEC title = BCS title? 
- No. 13 What's going to make you grouchy? 
- No. 12 The new superstars 
- No. 11 Ranking all 120 coaches and their hot seat status 

- ACC CoachesBig East Coaches | Big Ten Coaches | Big East Coaches
- Big 12 Coaches | C-USA Coaches | Ind CoachesMAC Coaches | M-West Coaches
- Pac 10 Coaches | SEC Coaches | Sun Belt Coaches | WAC Coaches 

By Pete Fiutak  

A hot seat isn't always what the media makes it out to be. When a coach is on the proverbial hot seat, usually it means he needs to win now or he'll be fired, but it could also mean a lot more. It could mean a coach needs to start winning because he's under pressure (Mark Richt), but isn't under real threat of being fired. It could mean he's winning, but is in an impossible situation and can't afford a slip (Jim Tressel after last year's loss to Purdue). Or it could mean he needs to win big just because he does (Urban Meyer).

So keeping in mind that for this, Hot Seat doesn't necessarily mean win-or-get-fired and it's more about who's under a lot of pressure (and yeah, in some cases it is a win-or-else situation), here's the ranking of the all 120 coaches and where they fit in on the warm butt scale.

Ranked from highest to lowest on the pressure scale

Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
If it was anyone else but Steve Freakin' Ball Coach Spurrier, South Carolina would have a different head man going into this year. It's not like Spurrier has been bad, but he hasn't taken the Gamecocks to a higher level.
Status: You don't fire Steve Spurrier (unless you're Daniel Snyder), but unless there's some semblance of offensive line production, playing golf every day will seem like a good option.

Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt
Yeah, Vanderbilt is Vanderbilt and going to a bowl game in 2008 has bought a little time, but Johnson is 29-66 in eight years and coming off an 2-10 season. He might be in an impossible situation, but soon the program will want to see if someone else can change things around.
Status: After finishing last in the SEC East in three of the last four years, Johnson can't afford another clunker.

Mark Richt, Georgia
The dean of SEC coaches has put together an amazing record going 90-27 with two SEC titles and six ten-plus win seasons in nine years along with seven bowl wins in the last eight seasons. However, 2008 was supposed to be the year the program finally got over the hump and into the national title, but instead Florida became the East's dominant team and the bloom is off the Richt rose.
Status: His record is too amazing and his track record too strong to be fired, but he has to provide hope that he can finally get the Dawgs into the party. Florida, LSU, and Alabama have taken turns, and Georgia wants in.

Gene Chizik, Auburn
For all the hullabaloo and all the controversy, Chizik had a decent first year to stop the slide. However, 8-5 isn't going to be good enough for too long and with a strong recruiting class, and some great assistants, the expectations will be high that he can do far more.
Status: The pressure has been ramped up ten-fold with the success at Alabama. Turning the program around isn't enough at Auburn; there have to be wins over Bama along the way.

Derek Dooley, Tennessee
17-20 at Louisiana Tech was enough to become the head man at Tennessee? After Lane Kiffin bailed, and no one else seemingly wanted the job, Dooley was brought in as the anti-Kiffin. The hope is that he'll be like his dad, legendary Georgia coach, Vince Dooley, but there's a lot of pressure on to restore the luster of the powerhouse program.
Status: It's not like anyone is jumping for joy at the hire. It's almost like everyone is still trying to get over the whirlwind shock of the Kiffin era, and while Dooley will get a little time to rebuild, anything less than a bowl and a competitive season against the top teams will be a big problem.

Urban Meyer, Florida
Being on the hot seat isn't just about the idea of being fired, Meyer will never get canned, it's also about the pressure a coach is under. For Meyer, who has two national titles under his belt and three 13-1 seasons in the last four, it's national-title-or-bust from here on considering the talent level he has amassed. The expectations aren't unrealistic, but they're impossibly unfair (even for Florida).
Status: Throw the health issues into the equation and no coach in America has the combination of things Meyer has to deal with.

Joker Phillips, Kentucky
Rich Brooks did a tremendously unappreciated job considering Kentucky has been hammered by injuries and other personnel problems over the past few years. Phillips doesn't have to win the SEC, but he has to keep sending UK to bowl games.
Status: He's the perfect replacement for Brooks, but can he take UK to another level? He'll get at least three years to find out.

Houston Nutt, Ole Miss
After the long and interesting career at Arkansas, Nutt has done a fantastic job at Ole Miss in two years. Sure, he took over when many of Ed Orgeron's recruits were reaching their prime, but it's still impressive to go 9-4 with two Cotton Bowl wins two years in a row.
Status: Ole Miss is the place that canned David Cutcliffe after a down year, but Nutt might get a little more leeway. Last year might have been a mega-disappointment, but 9-4 with a bowl win is good no matter what.

Les Miles, LSU
The guy has two SEC West titles, a national championship, and four bowl wins in five years, but after winning 34 games in his first three seasons the Tigers have gone 8-5 and 9-4. He'll never get fired unless something crazy-bad happens, but he's under pressure to get LSU back into the title hunt now that Alabama has become the star of the SEC West.
Status: Knock, knock … Who's there? … The University of Michigan after another disappointing season from Rich Rodriguez ...

Bobby Petrino, Arkansas
Lost in all the controversy surrounding how Petrino ended up at Arkansas is the fact that he's a stone-cold strong college football coach who went 41-9 at Louisville and has transformed Arkansas into a potential killer. If nothing else, the offense is going to be interesting.
Status: He appears to have finally found a home, even though his name is always going to come up any time there's an opening of any kind.

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Mullen is a good young prospect who is trying to make Mississippi State a consistent player in the SEC West race. The 5-7 first season, complete with a dominant win over Ole Miss, was a great first stepping-stone considering there was little talent to work with.
Status: The pressure isn't there compared to other SEC schools, and any success that Mullen might have will keep him around as long as he wants to be there. However, he needs to get to bowl games on a regular basis starting next year.

Nick Saban, Alabama
If he's not the top college football coach in the game right now, he's in the discussion. After going 26-2 in the last two seasons, to go along with last year's national title, Saban can do no wrong. The pressure to win championships might be intense, but after last year he has a free pass for at least two years.
Status: It's not the same for Saban as it is right now for Urban Meyer, Les Miles, and other top SEC coaches (since Saban's Bama is the reigning SEC champion). Of course the expectations are insane, but until someone else wins the SEC title, it's Saban's world and everyone else is taking up space.