Fulmer's fanny getting warm?

In a few short years University of Tennessee head football coach Phillip Fulmer has gone from ranking No. 1 nationally in terms of winning percentage to ranking No. 1 nationally in terms of fanny temperature.

At least, that's the opinion of the folks at Athlon Sports. Their 2007 Southeastern football preseason magazine has the Vols' head man atop the list of NCAA coaches on the hot seat.

As Tennessee fans are acutely aware, Fulmer hasn't won an SEC title since 1998 and hasn't played in a BCS bowl since '99. After going 45-5 (a .900 winning percentage) between 1995 and 1998, his Vols have gone 70-30 (a .700 percentage) in the eight years since.

Regardless, here is Athlon's "hot seat" list:

1.Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee

2.Ed Orgeron, Ole Miss

3.Al Groh, Virginia

4.Tommy Bowden, Clemson

5.Tyrone Willingham, Washington

And here's what Athlon has to say in explaining Fulmer's ranking:

"The Vols haven't won an SEC title since their national championship season of 1998. Speculation around Fulmer only increased in the spring when athletic director Mike Hamilton told a sports-talk radio station that Fulmer would not be getting a raise. Quarterback Erik Ainge is back but Fulmer has some holes to fill on the defensive line."

On a positive note, Athlon rates Tennessee cornerback Eric Berry among the top five freshmen for 2007. Here is that list:

1.Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame

2.Joe McKnight, RB, Southern Cal

3.Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina

4.Everson Griffin, DE, Southern Cal

5.Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee


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