I thought it might be interesting to rank the coaching jobs each SEC coach did in 2008. We'll do this in three parts, starting with the bottom four performances of 2008.
#12 Phillip Fulmer ----- While I did not agree with Tennessee forcing Fulmer out and replacing him with the Half Monty, I cannot defend the job he did this past year. Fulmer lost offensive coordinator David Cutcliff and replaced him with former Richmond head man Dave Clawson. The end result was as eyesore of an offense that averaged just 17.3 points a game and threw just eight TD passes all season. The Vols loss to Wyoming was the most embarrassing moment of the season for the SEC. Ending the season with wins over Vanderbilt and Kentucky did not erase the stain on what was otherwise a fine resume' Not only was it an awful year on the field, but the Vols kept the police blotter active, too.
#11 Tommy Tuberville --- Another coach who was undone by a horrific offense, but Tuberville was even more complicit in the disastrous season on the plains. He brought in Tony Franklin to install the spread offense without a QB. That didn't work for the first half of the season and Tuberville made a bizarre move and fired Franklin at mid-season. That served to undermine him with his remaining supporters in Auburn and did nothing to help the offense which matched Tennessee's dreadful performance. It was fitting that the year ended with a shutout loss to arch-rival Alabama. He only scores higher than Fulmer because Auburn beat Tennessee in a thrilling 14-12 shootout and fewer Auburn players got arrested.
#10 Sylvester Croom ----- It stands to reason the bottom three would go to the three guys who lost their jobs, but Croom almost finished a bit higher. I wanted to give him a boost because he has a much harder job acquiring talent, but this team was just wretched this year. The Bulldogs were held to fewer than ten points five times and had three other games were they were in the teens. State also lost the most remarkable game of the season, falling to Auburn 3-2. I did not make that up. Last year they were 8-5 and had 15 starters returning but it all fell apart.
#9 Les Miles ----- How on earth does a football team with this much talent finish 7-5? It's mind boggling to try and comprehend. A tremendous offensive line, stable of backs and speed at receiver, but they never found a QB. They have the best defensive line talent in the SEC and they give up almost 26 points a game? After losing a heartbreaker to Alabama this team disintegrated. It took a miraculous rally to beat Troy but followed up that with losses to Ole Miss and Arkansas. If there's one SEC team I have no clue about this bowl season this is it.
Tomorrow we look at the middle of the pack; the guys who did alright.
Ranking SEC Coaching Jobs in 2008
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