SEC East hot-seat ratings

I always enjoy analyst Dennis Dodd's annual "hot-seat ratings" of the NCAA's head football coaches. I just never agree with them ... especially regarding the 12 Southeastern Conference coaches.

This year is no different.

Dodd's hot-seat rating scale is as follows:

0-0.5: Can't be touched

1-1.5: Very safe

2-2.5: Solid position

3-3.5: On the bubble

4-4.5: Warm seat

5: It's time to win now

Dodd confers perfect 0.0 ratings upon two SEC East coaches, Florida's Urban Meyer and Georgia's Mark Richt. Kentucky's Rich Brooks checks in at 1.0 and Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer at 2.0. South Carolina's Steve Spurrier garners a 2.5 and Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson a 3.0.

Apparently, I'm more cynical than Dodd because I believe most fans are more fickle and most jobs are less secure than his ratings suggest.

That said, here are my hot-seat ratings for the six SEC East coaches:

Urban Meyer, Florida: The Urban Legend has a 31-8 record and another slew of high-profile recruits coming in. He set the bar high with the 2006 BCS title, however, and Phillip Fulmer can attest to how difficult it is following that feat. Coming off a four-loss season, Meyer's halo is showing a little tarnish. Dodd's rating: 0.0. My rating: 1.0.

Mark Richt, Georgia: He's a classy guy with an imposing record (72-19) but his fans are talking national championship, and that's dangerous territory. Just ask Auburn's Tommy Tuberville, who nearly lost his job after going 8-5 with a team that was supposed to win it all in 2003. Dodd's rating: 0.0. My rating: 1.0.

Rich Brooks, Kentucky: After back-to-back bowl wins, Brooks has gone from hot seat to hot shot. Still, a losing record in 2008 could remind him in a big hurry what a warm fanny feels like. Dodd's rating: 1.0. My rating: 2.5.

Steve Spurrier, South Carolina: The Ol' Ball Coach is a so-so 21-16 after three years in Columbia, and the word "offensive genius" is no longer being used to describe him. He's probably better than anyone else the Gamecocks could get but if he posts another 6-6 season he might want to invest in an asbestos seat cushion. Dodd's rating: 2.5. My rating: 3.0.

Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee: After losing 45-31 at Cal, 59-20 at Florida and 41-17 at Alabama in the first half of the 2007 season, The Big Fisherman appeared in danger of being shipwrecked. Fulmer weathered the storm, however, by rallying to win the SEC East and a bowl game. Alas, his first three SEC tests of 2008 are vs. Florida, at Auburn and at Georgia. If he goes 0-3 in those games, the grumbling will begin anew. Dodd's rating: 2.0. My rating: 2.5.

Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt: He's widely recognized as a fine coach, even though he has an 8-32 SEC record and has yet to lead the Commodores to the Promised Land ... postseason play. Can Vandy find anyone who could do better? Probably not, but that may not stop the administration from looking. Dodd's rating: 3.0. My rating: 4.0.

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