Coaches can't be around forever. Just ask Steve Spurrier.
The Head Ball Coach turned 70 in April, and questions about his longevity have been rampant this offseason. Nevertheless, he recently told a recruit he'd be around for at least six more seasons.
That got us thinking: If Spurrier does wait until after the 2020 season to call it quits, what other SEC coaches will still be with their respective teams?
Ostendorf: First, can I make one thing clear? I don't see Spurrier coaching in 2020. I hope he is. College football is better for it. But a couple more 7-6 seasons, and I believe he'll be spending a lot more time on the golf course.
He's not the only one who's getting up there in age either. Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel will both be 63 at the start of the season. Are you telling me they will both be coaching until they're 69? Maybe Pinkel, but not Saban. Not with all the stress that comes with the head job at Alabama. I can see him winning another national championship and going out on top.
Mark Richt is another one. He's only 55, but the pressure seems to build every year at Georgia. If he doesn't win another SEC title soon, he could be forced into an early retirement.
Scarborough: You know, I'm not so sure Saban is gone after six years. Granted, he'll be approaching his 70th birthday, but he's a lot like Spurrier in the sense that I don't see him leaving the game behind. “I don't think I'd be very good at it,” Spurrier said of retiring. “I can go to the beach and stay 4-5 days, and, 'Hey, let's get on out of here.'” Saban and Spurrier may be polar opposites in personality, but I can see those words coming from Saban's mouth, too. After a week or so, he'd drive himself crazy.
I am confident, however, that Saban isn't going back to the NFL. That environment never suited him. He's too focused on player development and enjoys having total control, and that's hard to come by at that level. Rather, I see Gus Malzahn and Kevin Sumlin as the two coaches most likely to go pro. There's already been interest in both of them. And as the NFL continues to experiment with the spread, that interest will only continue to grow.
Ostendorf: Sumlin better worry about winning before he makes the jump to the NFL. Granted, he's won at least eight games in each of the three seasons he's been at Texas A&M, but with all that talent, fans are going to expect SEC championships soon. If the Aggies settle for another subpar bowl game this coming season, his seat might get a little warm.
And speaking of coaches who could be on the hot seat after this season, look no further than Kentucky's Mark Stoops and Vanderbilt's Derek Mason. I know it's hard to win at both places, but a bowl game has almost become a necessity for an SEC coach to keep his job. I'm not saying they're gone after this year, but I also don't see them around in six years.
Scarborough: So this is wildly premature, but for the sake of argument, what do we think it will take for Jim McElwain to stay off the hot seat at Florida? Barring a complete collapse, he'll get a pass this season. But Year 2 and 3 could get dicey without a division title. We saw that with Will Muschamp, who won 11 games in 2012 and was fired two years later. While I think McElwain will fare better, I wouldn't put money on him being in Gainesville in 2021. To be clear, though, I wouldn't bet on anyone lasting that long there. Like Texas or Notre Dame, Florida is too much of a high-stakes program with too demanding a fan base to project anyone long-term.
The best hope for McElwain is that he shows steady progress and doesn't peak too early like Muschamp. Basically, if he follows the blueprint of Butch Jones at Tennessee and Bret Bielema at Arkansas, he'll be fine. As a matter of fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Jones and Bielema remain where they are for the next decade. They're both trending upward, they both have the resources to win big and they both seem happy where they are.
Ostendorf: I can't argue with Bielema or Jones. I know they haven't won big yet, but both programs are on the rise, the fan bases love them and honestly, I don't see either coach leaving for a better job.
I'll add one more name to that list. Hugh Freeze. If anything, he is even more likely to be there in six years than Bielema or Jones. Ole Miss is coming off one of their best seasons in program history, and let's not forget that Freeze is from Oxford. He reportedly turned down the job at Florida to stay home. What other job is going to lure him away? And with his 2016 recruiting class currently ranked No. 8 nationally, he's proving last year wasn't a one-hit wonder.
Scarborough: Unlike Tommy Tuberville, I'd actually believe Freeze if he said that the only way he'd leave Ole Miss was in a pine box. That said, the coach just south of him interests me.
The sentiment for a while now has been that it's only a matter of time before Dan Mullen leaves Mississippi State. He's not a Southern guy. He's won more than anyone at State ever has. So why not move on to bigger things in an area that fits his personality better?
But with each offseason that passes that sense of inevitability fades. Yeah, Mullen's a Yankee, but he's Starkville's Yankee. Even a few subpar seasons won't change that. Given the way he's changed expectations, the only way he's leaving is if he chooses to. And why would he? He's got job security, a hefty salary and a program whose profile is on the rise.