Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel detailed college football’s most volatile coaching situations Wednesday, naming several SEC coaches in the process, including Gus Malzahn and Butch Jones.
While Ole Miss’ job remains open as long as Matt Luke retains the ‘interim’ title, there are at least there other SEC jobs that could open up after this season: Texas A&M, Tennessee and Auburn.
Kevin Sumlin, who has been with Texas A&M since 2012, is already known to be on the hot seat — Aggies’ Athletic Director Scott Woodward said as much a few months back. To a lesser extent, Tennessee’s Butch Jones is also known to be in trouble if things don’t improve. Though the Vols have enjoyed back-to-back 9-win seasons, Tennessee does not have a 10-win season or an SEC Championship Game appearance under Jones.
But Auburn’s Gus Malzahn has enjoyed relative success with the Tigers, coming within one drive of a National Championship in 2013 and a Sugar Bowl appearance just a season ago.
Here’s an excerpt from Thamel’s piece on Malzahn’s situation:
“Life in the shadow of Nick Saban is cold and drafty in the state of Alabama. Auburn has sputtered through three forgettable seasons since playing for the national title after the 2013 season. Another one could lead to a change here. Yes, Auburn made the Sugar Bowl last year. But 8-5 is a danger zone in the high end of the SEC, and Auburn went 8-5 last year. There’s a lot of quiet optimism at Auburn, with a loaded defense and a quarterback, Jarrett Stidham, who projects as competent for the first time since Nick Marshall.”
A quick glance at the SEC slate shows early danger for Sumlin and Jones while Malzahn will have a reprieve to start 2017.
The Aggies face UCLA in Pasadena in Week 1 while the Vols get Georgia Tech and Florida in two of the first three weeks. Auburn won’t face a challenge until Week 2 when it faces defending National Champion Clemson on the road.