Given that no college football team has ever lost a game in the middle of May, and with several teams scoring in recruiting, a number of coaches saw bumps in the SEC Country approval rating poll.
In the fourth version of the SEC Country coaches approval poll, no coach saw a bigger bump than Butch Jones. The Tennessee coach jumped from 12th and a 66.6 rating to 10th and a 74.4 rating. The nearly 8-point bump was by far the biggest in this version.
We also now have three coaches above the 90 percent approval mark, as Ed Orgeron and Dan Mullen join Nick Saban in the category. Mark Stoops and Will Muschamp came up just short of the 90 percent threshold.
Saban, Jim McElwain, Kirby Smart, Bret Bielema and Gus Malzahn all saw their approval ratings drop, but none of them dropped by more than 3 points.
Below is a full list of SEC coaches and where they stand in the fourth SEC Country approval rating poll. We also included comments from fans to show what some of them think about their coach.
1. Nick Saban, Alabama: 97.4
Saban once again led the poll, as he’s finished above the 97 percent mark in all four polls.
February approval rating: 97.4
March approval rating: 97.2
April approval rating: 97.8
2. Ed Orgeron, LSU: 91.5
LSU continues to top the SEC in recruiting, which has some fans comparing him and his enthusiasm to Clemson’s Dabo Swinney. But some commentators want to see how the Tigers play on the field before buying in.
February approval rating: 84.2
March approval rating: 91.4
April approval rating: 89.5
3. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State: 90.4
Despite having never beaten Alabama, nobody has done more with less than Mullen. And now he has another 4-star quarterback in the pipeline.
February approval rating: 84.1
March approval rating: 89.0
April approval rating: 89.1
4. Mark Stoops, Kentucky: 89.1
No SEC East coach has a higher approval rating. And with comments like the one below, it’s easy to see why Stoops is so popular.
February approval rating: 85.0
March approval rating: 84.7
April approval rating: 86.4
5. Will Muschamp, South Carolina: 88.7
South Carolina fans understand that Muschamp has a big rebuilding project, but they like the early returns.
February approval rating: 83.1
March approval rating: 83.7
April approval rating: 84.7
6. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss: 83.3
Part of the fan base is still upset about the NCAA allegations, but most continue to stand behind and support Freeze.
February approval rating: 80.6
March approval rating: 65.9
April approval rating: 81.0
7. Jim McElwain, Florida: 83
McElwain dipped below 85 percent for the first time. Some fans have wonder about his discipline policy, but most see the progress McElwain has made from the end of the Muschamp era.
February approval rating: 85.9
March approval rating: 85.0
April approval rating: 85.2
8. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: 78
The 78 percent rating is a new high for the Vanderbilt coach.
February approval rating: 75.6
March approval rating: 75.5
April approval rating: 75.5
9. Kirby Smart, Georgia: 77.7
Georgia brought in an excellent 2017 recruiting class, but Georgia fans want to see Smart improve in the Xs and Os.
February approval rating: 79.7
March approval rating: 75.7
April approval rating: 79.7
10. Butch Jones, Tennessee: 74.4
The Volunteers now have the No. 2 recruiting class in the SEC, and Jones received a healthy bump because of it.
February approval rating: 65.5
March approval rating: 60.2
April approval rating: 66.6
11. Barry Odom, Missouri: 72
Missouri fans are still skeptical of Odom after a 4-8 first season.
February approval rating: 71.9
March approval rating: 67.7
April approval rating: 70.9
12. Bret Bielema, Arkansas: 66.2
The biggest complaint about Bielema’s is that he doesn’t win enough games. While he does everything right off the field (see the Rawleigh Williams situation), that just isn’t enough for some fans.
February approval rating: 68.7
March approval rating: 66.6
April approval rating: 67.2
13. Gus Malzahn, Auburn: 64.1
Auburn fans know that Malzahn needs to win and win big this year.
February approval rating: 57.9
March approval rating: 57.6
April approval rating: 65.1
14. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M: 52.5
For the third month in a row, Sumlin comes in at the bottom.
February approval rating: 59.5
March approval rating: 54.7
April approval rating: 51.7
About the numbers
The SEC Country approval rating poll is designed to give an indication of fan happiness over a period of time.
Our formula is based on the percentage of respondents who select each answer. We multiply that percentage by the following factors: 1 (strongly approve), 0.67 (approve), 0.33 (disapprove) and 0.0 (strongly disapprove). In other words, if 50 percent of respondents select “strongly approve” and 50 percent select “approve,” the formula would be (50 x 1) + (50 x 0.67) = 83.5% approval rating.