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Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Taking the temperature in the SEC

By Edward Aschoff

Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com created an interesting piece Monday when he took the temperature of the job security of college football coaches throughout the country, constructing a guide to the feel of coaches' seats.

In the SEC, the pressure is always on, but only three coaches -- Mark Richt, Houston Nutt and Derek Dooley -- made Dodd's "On the bubble -- you never know" category. Nick Saban, Gene Chizik, Will Muschamp, Dan Mullen and Steve Spurrier had the most job security, making his "Don't even think about it -- can't happen."

Here is Dodd's scale:

0-.5: Don't even think about it -- can't be touched
1-1.5: Very safe -- change highly unlikely
2-2.5: Safe -- solid position
3-3.5: On the bubble -- you never know
4-4.5: Warm seat -- feeling the pressure
5: On the hot seat -- it's time to win now

Here's a look at where Dodd ranked all 12 SEC coaches:

Nick Saban, Alabama: 0.0
Years: 5
Record: 38-11
My take: Saban has made it to two straight SEC title games and won a national championship in 2009. He has a team primed for another national championship run now and for years to come.

Bobby Petrino, Arkansas: 1.0
Years: 4
Record: 23-15
My take: Arkansas has the offense and finally the defense to compete for a SEC title this season. Not to mention, Petrino’s contract now runs through 2017 and it will cost $18 million to break the deal in either of the next two years.

Gene Chizik, Auburn: 0.0
Years: 3
Record: 22-5
My take: Before he even met with his team, Auburn fans were calling for his firing. Now, they're praising him on The Plains after he brought home a national championship in his second season.

Will Muschamp, Florida: 0.5
Years: 1
Record: 0-0
My take: This is Muschamp’s first head coaching job and he has to replace Urban Meyer, who won two national titles at Florida. Muschamp arrived at Florida as one of the hottest names in the coordinator world and has deep ties to the South.

Mark Richt, Georgia: 3.5
Years: 11
Record: 96-34
My take: The dean of SEC coaching is feeling the heat in Athens. Georgia has the talent to compete for the East and needs to do so. Another 6-7 record can't be repeated by the Bulldogs.

Joker Phillips, Kentucky: 1.5
Years: 2
Record: 6-7
My take: In his first season, the Wildcats made it to their fifth straight bowl. Phillips is now looking to make it a record six in a row for Kentucky.

Les Miles, LSU: 2.5
Years: 7
Record: 62-17
My take: It's hard to pick against a coach that has gambled his way to a handful of victories -- and snacks on grass. Miles won 11 games last season, but there are still some nervous bodies on the Bayou because that luck won't last, right?

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State: 0.0
Years: 3
Record: 14-11
My take: Mullen has brought some much-needed energy to Starkville and has the Bulldogs as a popular dark horse pick in the West this season.

Houston Nutt, Ole Miss: 3.0
Years: 4
Record: 22-16
My take: Nutt was a fan favorite in Oxford after winning back-to-back Cotton Bowls before last season's collapse. His team still has a handful of questions on both sides of the ball. The Rebels will have to show improvements for the future.

Steve Spurrier, South Carolina: 0.0
Years: 7
Record: 44-33
My take: Spurrier took South Carolina to its first SEC title game last season and has the talent to make it two in a row this fall.

Derek Dooley, Tennessee: 3.0
Years: 2
Record: 6-7
My take: After a slow start to last season, the Vols got on a roll with four straight wins to end the regular season. To get Tennessee back to its old ways, Dooley has to become more competitive in recruiting.

James Franklin, Vanderbilt: 2.0
Years: 1
Record: 0-0
My take: Winning at Vanderbilt is never easy and while Franklin has yet to coach a game, he has created a lot of excitement on campus and has been red hot on the recruiting trail this offseason.