During Barrett Sallee’s mailbag segment of his popular podcast “Smothered and Covered,” Sallee predicted that Tennessee’s Butch Jones would be the first SEC coach fired during the 2017 coaching cycle.
He’s hardly alone. We’ve heard hot seat talk since Tennessee dropped the regular season finale to Vanderbilt. The talk is warranted, but it’s also complicated due to the shape the program was in when he took over.
Sallee goes on to say, “It’s going to be hard to justify getting smoked by your rivals — and I think Tennessee is going to get smoked by pretty much all of its biggest rivals this year.”
He puts Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin in the same category.
“Tennessee is in a much more winnable division. That window is still very much open. If they (Tennessee) can’t do it — if they’re just sort of okay in the SEC East this year, that’s going to be enough to get Butch Jones fired,” said Sallee.
At the end of the day, this year year five. If you aren’t winning by year five in big time college football, you are probably going to get canned — plain and simple, so it’s hard to disagree with Barrett here. Nine wins is great for where he started, but that’s hardly where Tennessee or Butch Jones wants to be.
I’ll be the first to sing Butch Jones’ praises about what he’s done (and what he’s doing) on the recruiting trail. But what happens if he goes 7-5 this season? The short answer is that we don’t know. He isn’t John Currie’s guy, so all we can do is guess.
The hot seat talk isn’t going away anytime soon. All Jones can do is go out and win football games.