The Dodd Trophy, presented to the top major college football coach, released its midseason watch list today.
In a remarkable turnaround, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn made the list after spending the first few weeks of the season on the hot seat.
Malzahn is joined on the 18-coach list by three SEC counterparts: Jim McElwain of Florida, Nick Saban of Alabama, and Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M.
Malzahn needed a close victory over LSU to keep from going to 1-3 and looking at a bleak future.
Instead, his Tigers cruise into Oxford this week ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press poll at 5-2 and road favorites against Ole Miss.
As for McElwain, the Gators are No. 14 in the country at 5-1 in his second season in Gainesville. Saban has Alabama rolling at 8-0 and ranked No. 1, and Sumlin and the Aggies are 6-1 and ranked ninth.
The Big Ten also has four coaches on the list.
The Dodd Trophy is presented by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. According to a news release: “The head coaches on the watch list represent programs with the highest ideals of leadership, scholarship and integrity on and off the field – the three pillars of legendary coach Bobby Dodd’s philosophy. Each of the coaches sits at the helm of programs with winning records, superior Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores and graduation rates, as well as a strong commitment to service within their communities.”
An updated watch list will be released in November. The winner will be announced in Atlanta during Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl week, leading up to the Dec. 31 game, which is a College Football Playoff Semifinal.