During the football season, we’ll be bringing you some Top 5 lists each week on a variety of topics. First up this week, we’ll look at the five worst coaching jobs from across the SEC on opening weekend:
5. Mark Richt, Georgia — Georgia went up against a Top 5 team that might wind up playing for the national title. But Boise State is known for its offense, not its defense. And the Dawgs couldn’t produce consistently on the ground or through the air. Granted, UGA has had massive attrition on the O-line and at the tailback position, but Georgia just wasn’t as competitive as expected in Saturday’s 35-21 loss. Oh, and one more thing — enough with the gimmicky uniforms.
4. Gene Chizik, Auburn — The Tigers were breaking in what amounted to a whole new team against Utah State on Saturday. Still, all the emotion in the world should have been on Auburn’s side. The “disrespected” card. The home opener. Etc, etc. In the end, AU had to fight for survival against a team it was expected to annihilate. The Aggies pushed Auburn’s defense all over the field. The Tigers didn’t look ready for Opening Day.
3. Joker Phillips — Like the coaches above, Phillips was having to use a lot of green players in key positions against Western Kentucky. But WKU is expected to be one of the worst teams on the FBS level this season. To have 75 yards of offense through three quarters? By hook or by crook an SEC team needs to do better than that.
2. Steve Spurrier — The Gamecocks whipped East Carolina 56-37 in their opener… but not before digging themselves a 17-0 hole first. Spurrier gets credit for fixing the problem and igniting his team by putting quarterback Stephen Garcia into the game. However, it was Spurrier’s ridiculous decision to bench team-favorite Garcia and start Connor Shaw that led to the 17-point deficit in the first place. In other words, Carolina’s biggest problem in Week One was a problem manufactured by the Ol’ Ball Coach.
1. Houston Nutt — Ole Miss almost upset BYU on Saturday. If it had hung on, Nutt would’ve been credited for a fine coaching job. So why was his work considered the worst of the week? Because UM had the game won. Who knows if BYU would have driven the length of the field for a game-winning 4th-quarter touchdown, but the Rebels should have played things safe, protected their lead and punted the Cougars deep with 5:30 to play. After all, BYU had managed just 7 points through nearly 55 minutes of action. But instead, facing a 3rd-and-27, Nutt and offensive coordinator David Lee asked new quarterback Zach Stoudt to drop back and try to complete a pass for the first down. There aren’t a lot of 3rd-and-27 plays in most teams’ playbooks. Waiting for receivers to come open, Stoudt was strip-sacked and BYU returned the fumble for the game-winning score. Not good. Bad enough in fact, for Nutt’s work to be ranked as the SEC’s worst of the week.