Fox Sports’ writer Stewart Mandel can say with 100 percent certainty that seven SEC coaches will return next season.
Those are: Nick Saban (Alabama), Bret Bielema (Arkansas), Kirby Smart (Georgia), Jim McElwain (Florida), Barry Odom (Missouri), Dan Mullen (Mississippi State), and Will Muschamp (South Carolina).
For the other seven, this could be their last season with their respective team.
Mandel takes a look at each coach in the latter category, placing a percentage on their chances to return:
7. Hugh Freeze – Ole Miss (97 percent)
- Mandel is not so concerned with the Rebels’ 1-2 start, but places Freeze in the “uncertain” category because of the ongoing NCAA investigation taking place in Oxford.
6. Kevin Sumlin – Texas A&M (83 percent)
- Sumlin was probably more on the hot seat at the beginning of the season than he is now following wins against UCLA and Auburn, but Mandel isn’t convinced on his job security just yet. Mandel points to the Aggies hot starts in the past in which Texas A&M fell apart in the second half of the season. More tests are on the way as the Aggies play Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama in the next four weeks.
5. Butch Jones – Tennessee (76 percent)
- Jones has led the Vols to a nine-game winning streak dating back to last season, but Mandel points to one reason as to why Jones would not return in 2017: this week’s Florida game. Especially after lackluster performances against Appalachian State and Ohio.
4. Gus Malzahn – Auburn (39 percent)
- Mandel called this week’s Auburn-LSU game a “must-win” for Malzahn. The Tigers have lost six straight SEC games at home and 10 of their last 12 conference games. That has to change for Malzahn to stick around.
3. Les Miles – LSU (27 percent)
- According to Mandel, a win against Auburn will buy Miles some more time in Baton Rouge, but it will ultimately come down to LSU’s Nov. 5 matchup with Alabama. The Tigers were expected to compete for a national championship, and haven’t looked like it thus far.
2. Mark Stoops – Kentucky (18 percent)
- The Wildcats were supposed to at least make a bowl game in 2016, and thus far, that seems unlikely. Mandel writes that Stoops’ one saving grace is a $12 million buyout in his contract should he be fired. Even with the buyout, Kentucky may not hesitate.
1. Derek Mason – Vanderbilt (10 percent)
- Mason has led the Commodores to an 8-19 record in three seasons. Vanderbilt is currently 1-2 with losses to South Carolina and Georgia Tech. Not a good recipe for job security.