Ranking 2008 SEC Coaching Jobs - Part 3

In our final installment we look at the four SEC coaches who earned their money and then some in 2008. Each not only did a fine job with his team but a historic one. One has his team in the BCS Title Game. One had a perfect season. One had a remarkable first year at a new job and the fourth has his team doing something it hasn't done since the first Reagan Administration.

First let's review the ranking of the bottom eight SEC coaches for 2008.

#12 Phillip Fulmer
#11 Tommy Tuberville
#10 Sylvester Croom
#9 Les Miles
#8 Mark Richt
#7 Bobby Petrino
#6 Steve Spurrier
#5 Rich Brooks

#4 Bobby Johnson -----
The last time the Vanderbilt Commodores went to a bowl game was 1982. The last time they won a bowl game Dwight D. Eisenhower as President and I wasn't even born yet – and I'm 50! The Commodores started out the season with five straight wins, including decisions over ranked opponents South Carolina and Auburn. Those wins earned Vandy a No. 13 national ranking and had them dreaming of being a legit contender in the SEC East. That dream was followed by the crushing reality of a four game losing streak capped by a 42-14 thrashing at the hands of Florida that could have been a lot worse. They regrouped to post a 31-24 win over Kentucky, but consecutive losses to Tennessee and Wake Forest relegated the ‘Dores to playing at home in the Music City Bowl. Normally that would be depressing, but after a bowl layoff of more than two decades they'd be happy playing in a parking lot.

#3 Urban Meyer ----- It's hard to put a guy third when he beat nine bowl teams including the defending national champs, the pre-season number one team and the unbeaten number one team at the end of the year. Still, you gotta admit Urban Meyer had the horses, starting with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Florida returned a ton of talent from last season's disappointing 9-4 squad and was in everyone's top ten. They didn't play like it early in the year, struggling to put away Miami and then losing by a point to Ole Miss. Then came the Tim Tebow post-game promise and the Gators simply took off. Meyer guided this team to a tremendous season that could end up with the gators on top of college football. The only thing that hurts him is that it was pretty much what most of us thought could happen.

#2 Nick Saban ----- While his dream season ended in Atlanta, Saban deserves a world of credit in leading Alabama to a spectacular season in just his second season. The process actually began last December with a bowl win over Colorado that erased the stench of a four game losing streak. Alabama opened eyes from day one with a rout of ninth ranked Clemson and a month later they blew away No. 3 Georgia in Athens. Alabama survived scares from Kentucky, Ole Miss and LSU and cruised into the SEC Championship Game undefeated and ranked No. 1. With ‘Bama on the way to another superb recruiting class there's no question the Crimson Tide is back as a national power.

#1 Houston Nutt ----- When Ole Miss followed up its win over Florida with losses to South Carolina and Alabama it seemed Houston Nutt's first season in Oxford would be nothing special. But then something special happened. The Rebels beat Arkansas to begin a five game winning streak that culminated in a 45-0 demolishing of arch-rival Mississippi State and an invitation to play in the Cotton Bowl. Ole Miss, far from the most talented team in the SEC ends up 8-4 with all four losses to teams in bowl games. They played two top five teams, Florida and Alabama and split those two games with a combined score of 51-54. They did it all with a first year coach, a first year QB and a first year featured runner. Meyer and Saban had better years, but Houston Nutt did the most with the least.

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