A recent CBS poll named Nick Saban as king of college football, which shouldn’t be surprising. Where some of the other 13 SEC coaches rank in the NCAA hierarchy might be, though.
Six college football writers from CBS ranked the Power 5 coaches for 2016, 1-65 (including Notre Dame, but not BYU). Alabama’s Saban earned the No. 1 spot, no surprise after recently winning his fifth national championship and fourth for the Crimson Tide. He was the unanimous No. 1 choice and is in the top spot for a second year in a row.
There were some definite surprises in the next 64 spots. Auburn’s Gus Malzahn is the third-highest SEC coach? Only five SEC coaches made the top 25?
Maybe the most surprising was Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who checked in at No. 46. That places him 11th among the 14 SEC coaches, with South Carolina’s fellow-first year guy, Will Muschamp, checking in at No. 44.
Several SEC coaches dropped in the rankings from the same poll last year, including Malzahn, LSU’s Les Miles, Arkansas’ Bret Bielema and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin. Florida’s Jim McElwain was one of the leading gainers in the poll, moving up 22 spots from 2015 to No. 27.
It’s clearly going to be a vital year for the job security of about half the coaches in the SEC, and that could play a big role in how the SEC performs in this ranking in 2017.