Man, am I getting roasted from some of you because of my “hot seat evaluation” column from yesterday. The ol’ emailbox is dang near full.
In yesterday’s piece, I wrote that LSU’s Les Miles and Georgia’s Mark Richt are the two coaches in the SEC — in my opinion — who can least afford a “bad, bad year” this year.
I wrote that with a 5-7 season (the same record that got Phillip Fulmer and Tommy Tuberville KO’d last year), Miles and Richt would hear the loudest cat calls.
Miles, in my view, could actually be fired at year’s end if LSU comes off the rails agian. Richt, I believe, would survive a horrible year to face a critical 2010 season.
This, of course, has brought out the pro-Richt Georgia fans who believe that their coach will be in Athens forever and ever. Amen.
(Interestingly, I’m not hearing many LSU fans who are willing to say that Miles could survive a horrible season. Hmmm.)
Let me make a couple of things clear:
1) I have nothing against Richt. In fact, I think he’s easily the most likeable coach in the SEC. I’m not saying that I would put him on the hot seat… I’m giving my view of how SEC fanbases would react to terrible seasons. Personally, I think it’s absurd that Richt is currently hearing gripes about “not winning the big one” or his “whining” about Georgia’s schedule.
2) That said, there IS more griping now than at any time during the Richt’s tenure. From the Georgia media and from the fanbase. It’s part of the reality of college football in the SEC. Expectations are high and they only get higher over time.
3) Richt has been at his school longer than any other SEC coach. Former Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin recently half-joked that a coach loses 10% of his fanbase every year. The numbers are clearly off, but the idea isn’t.
4) Last year at this time, I would have been called an idiot for suggesting that Tuberville was on the hot seat. He’d never had a single bad year at Auburn. He’d beaten Alabama six straight times.
Similarly, I personally wrote that David Climer of The Tennessean was off-base for suggesting last summer that Fulmer was on the hot seat. He’d just won the SEC East the previous fall.
Sorry, David. You were right.
For all of those reasons, I stand by my position. If Richt has a terrible year this year (and I don’t see one on the horizon, but I also didn’t see 5-7 campaigns in UT or AU’s futures last year), he’ll be in serious hot water when the 2010 season begins.
You might not like it, but it’s a fact. Just ask Fulmer and Tuberville how much can change between June and December.
To finish this up, the excellent Junkyard Blawger for The AJC writes that Georgia fans are “disappointed, but we’re not deluded.”
Now, what do you think an Auburn blogger or a Tennessee blogger might have written last year had I suggested that their fellow fans and boosters would rise up with closed wallets to oust their coaches?
Probably something to the effect of, “we’re disappointed, but we’re not deluded.”