Going into the weekend, conventional wisdom was that Tennessee coach Butch Jones was on the hottest seat in the SEC. But as things developed on Saturday, it turns out that Florida coach Jim McElwain may actually be the conference’s coach in the most danger.
Thanks to an odd death threats saga that has spiraled into talk of buyout or potentially firing McElwain for cause, he somehow has made Tennessee coach Butch Jones appear to be on steadier ground in Knoxville despite the fact that Florida has outlasted the Vols for the SEC East title in back-to-back seasons.
During a Sunday morning appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Paul Finebaum both expressed his shock and confirmed that turn of events. The SEC Network personality was in Jacksonville for SEC Nation, allowing him to see the McElwain decision develop right in front of his eyes.
“I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but Butch Jones may be in better shape than Jim McElwain,” Finebaum said on ESPN, per a transcription from Saturday Down South. “I was in Jacksonville on Friday and Saturday, and the animosity toward him from the fan base and from people in that administration is way way up here.”
“It’s just some of the quirky bizarre things that he has said. And most recently Monday when he came out and talked about death threats and he could not back them up. I’m told the president just threw up his hands and said, ‘We have to do something here.’”
Both Florida (3-4) and Tennessee (3-5) will carry losing records into November. That much is certain. But will they do so with Butch Jones and Jim McElwain in tow? That remains to be seen.