SEC coaches on 'hot seat'

No SEC football coaches are on the hot seat heading into the 2004 season, and only three are feeling any warmth under their butts at all. So says Dennis Dodd of

Dodd ranks all of the NCAA's 117 head men on the following scale:

From 0 to 0.5 is ''can't be touched.''
From 1 to 1.5 is ''very safe.''
From 2 to 2.5 is ''safe.''
From 3 to 3.5 is ''on the bubble.''
From 4 to 4.5 is ''warm seat.''
And a listing of 5 means ''on the hot seat.''

Dodd gives three SEC coaches a 3 rating -- Florida's Ron Zook, Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville.

Two more coaches get 2.5 ratings -- Kentucky's Rich Brooks and Alabama's Mike Shula. Garnering a 2 is Arkansas head man Houston Nutt.

South Carolina's Lou Holtz gets a 1.5 rating, while Tennessee's Phil Fulmer, Ole Miss' David Cutcliffe and Mississippi State's Sylvester Croom (who has yet to coach a game) get 1s.

Not surprisingly, defending divisional champs Nick Saban of LSU and Mark Richt of Georgia earned 0 ratings.

I believe Dodd did a heck of a job except for three picks:

• I think Tuberville rates a 4, not a 3. Going 8-5 when you're picked to win the national title tends to make fans restless.

• I think Shula is a 3.5, not a 2.5. Alabama fans have very little patience, even with one of Bear's boys. If Sylvester Croom -- runnerup to Shula for the Bama job -- does better than expected at Mississippi State, that will put even more pressure on Shula.

• I think Holtz rates a 2.5, not a 1.5. I'm hearing that Lou's quips aren't getting many laughs after back-to-back 5-7 seasons.

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