Again, the bottom three for the season were:
#12 Phillip Fulmer
#11 Tommy Tuberville
#10 Sylvester Croom
#9 Les Miles
Now we move on to the guys who I call the middle of the packers. None of them should be embarrassed by how his team performed in 2008, but none can claim it as a highlight season either. They all should have one at least one more game and probably two or more.
#8 Mark Richt ----- It may seem harsh to rank the third place coach in the conference this low, but other than Les Miles, Richt did the least with the most. Georgia entered the season number one in many minds with 17 starters returning from an 11-win team. They had the top NFL QB prospect in the conference in Matthew Stafford, and top RB in Knowshon Moreno and one of the top freshman WR in the country in A.J. Green. Things started off poorly with injuries to their best defensive lineman (Jeff Owens) and offensive lineman (Trinton Sturdivant). Georgia was clobbered by Alabama in its first big game, falling behind by 30 before waking up in the second half. Then they got trashed by Florida 49-10 and got run over by Georgia tech's option game in the season finale'. They gave up 38 or more points in four of their last five games. 9-3 isn't awful, but it sure wasn't what they had in mind up in Athens.
#7 Bobby Petrino ----- Despite signing his third multi-year coaching contract in 12 months Petrino did okay in year one with the Razorbacks. He tried putting in a pro style passing game where the players were used to a run first attitude and the results were predictably mixed. After getting blown out in consecutive games with Alabama, Texas and Florida they managed to right the ship and post three wins in the second half. They handed LSU a stunning loss to end the season at 5-7, but a bowl bid was there for the taking but they lost to Mississippi State.
#6 Steve Spurrier ----- The Head Ball Coach thought the Gamecocks were on the verge of being contenders in the SEC East but the never ending search for the right guy at QB got in the way. Carolina went from Tommy Beecher to Chris Smelley to Stephen Garcia to Smelley, to Garcia… you get the idea. Gamecocks signal callers combined for 19 TD passes but threw a remarkable 24 interceptions. Still they came into Gainesville 7-3 before suffering a humiliating 56-6 beat down. A season ending loss to Clemson ensured a fourth straight season with at least five losses for Spurrier.
#5 Rich Brooks ---- Despite losing QB Andre Woodson, WR Keenan Burton and RB Rafael Little the Wildcats earned their third straight bowl bid under Brooks. Still they had a chance to have a much better season than just breaking even at 6-6. Kentucky was 4-0 and almost derailed Alabama before losing a 17-14 decision. The rest of the season they won only two games, beating Arkansas (21-20) and Mississippi State (14-13) by a single point. The two low points were getting outclassed by Florida 63-5 and losing to the worst Tennessee team in decades 28-10.
So those four gentlemen did okay. None earned a contract extension, but all will be on the hot seat if 2009 is not a better year.
Tomorrow we'll look at the top four coaches in the SEC and I bet you don't guess my order correctly!
Ranking 2008 SEC Coaching Jobs - Part 2
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