The SEC had a rough opening weekend. The SEC also has a number of coaches who entered the season on the hot seat or could place themselves there with poor results. We’ll be gauging the five hottest seats each week from now until the end of the season. Here are how things stand after Week 1.
Les Miles [LSU] LSU pulled Les Miles off the guillotine at the last moment in 2015. His team is blessed in every way conceivable. He fields perhaps the most dominant player in school history, Leonard Fournette. He lost to a middling Wisconsin team. He did so in a fashion that confirmed he and his staff have learned and achieved nothing in eight months addressing the passing game.
Gus Malzahn [Auburn] There’s little shame in a one-score loss to Clemson. Auburn’s defense looked solid. But, Malzahn runs the offense. This past week’s “three quarterback system” resulted from not having “one quarterback.” They will face many defenses on par with Clemson in the SEC, where they have lost 9 of their last 11. One loss in the books. Road trips to Mississippi State, to Georgia, to Ole Miss, and to Alabama still on tap. It’s looking bleak.
Mark Stoops [Kentucky] Kentucky scored 35 points and produced a run of 28-points in the first half. The Wildcats were then shut out 27-0 in the second half by Southern Mississippi and lost. That result is rank and unacceptable. It may cost Kentucky a trip to a bowl game. But, Kentucky is the sort of place where those things happen.
Derek Mason [Vanderbilt] Things appeared to be moving, slowly, in the right direction for Mason after last year. The Commodores had half of a good football team with a strong defense. With the chance to make a statement on opening night, Vanderbilt blew a double-digit lead at home against a mess of a South Carolina team.
Butch Jones [Tennessee] Tennessee escaped in overtime against Appalachian State, diluting, to an extent, the fallout from a game where the Volunteers were out-played, out-coached (but for the final few minutes), and looked ill prepared to mount the anticipated SEC title challenge. The Tennessee hype train came to a screeching halt and let everyone off. If Butch doesn’t have this team ready for prime time with talent, returning starters, and a senior quarterback, when will he?