Fox Sports college football writer Stewart Mandel wrote an interesting piece inside his mailbag column this week which listed his rankings of “coaching talent” by conference. Of the five power conferences in the FBS, the SEC ranked last. Dead last — and I don’t have too much of a problem with his assessment.
Mandel went Big Ten — ACC — Big 12 — Pac 12 — then SEC. The simple fact is that the SEC has Nick Saban and then a whole bunch of unproven dudes. Who’s the 2nd best coach in this league? Most everyone would have argued Les Miles last year, but he was fired because he couldn’t beat Nick Saban. Who’s left? Dan Mullen? Gus Malzahn? Kevin Sumlin? Hugh Freeze? There’s not a lot there.
Nick Saban has destroyed the SEC. He’s made almost every AD in the conference panic. They’re all trying to figure out a way to beat this guy, but nobody has been successful yet — which has created all this turnover at the head coaching spots. Malzahn and Sumlin will be the next to go if they can’t figure it out. Butch Jones is probably right behind those two.
The SEC used to be the best conference in the land without doubt. They would eat each other alive in conference play and hope one would come out unscathed to play for the national title. Now it’s just a matter of whether or not Alabama is going to make it into the playoff. That’s all the intrigue we have left at the end every season as SEC people.
Right now, the Big Ten offers us the most talent and parity — and that’s really hard for me to say. The ACC is a step behind, then you probably have the SEC. Saban is dominating the recruiting trail, riding this runaway freight train he’s manufactured. Instead of top talent being spread out over a conference, it’s being stockpiled in Tuscaloosa.
That’s the main reason this league needs to land Chip Kelly — in some shape or form. Everyone in the SEC has tried to beat Saban with up and coming coaches, some even being plucked right off of Saban’s coaching tree. That’s not how you’re going to beat Saban. This league has to go to the outside and bring in big time coaching talent, just as Alabama did when they were able to wrestle Saban away from the NFL.
Until then, Saban will continue winning for however long he wants to win.