SEC HEAD COACH POWER RANKINGS

The SEC has seen its share of transformational head coaches across the decades. The Bear, General Neyland, The Ole Ball Coach, Pat Dye and Vince Dooley lead that legendary collection. The current crop of Southern Gridiron Field Marshalls are led by Nick Saban and his protégé Kirby Smart. These two have changed how the college game is played, recruited, televised and marketed in the current era. They are the elite of the elite in the Nation, much less the Southeastern Conference, but there are 12 other head coaches who tasked with dethroning them and building their own dynasties across the Southern and National landscape. I have listed the 14 current SEC Head Coaches below based on a collection of current success, career success, ethics and maximizing their resources. If you’re looking for a great college football & NFL Podcast, subscribe to The Irrational Confidence Podcast (@IRConfidencePod on Twitter), available on all podcast platforms and the Spinnable Sports YouTube Channel. We just dropped our NFL Schedule Release reaction episode and you can also find our NFL Draft reaction episode in the same spot.

1.). NICK SABAN: ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE

  • King of the College Football coaching world
  • The 2023 season is a significant benchmark in regards to his hold on the premier spot.
  • If Coach Saban can guide the Tide to the CFB Playoff this year amidst the numerous questions on offense and installing 2 new coordinators, it might be his finest coaching performance.
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 4TH. VS LSU


2.). KIRBY SMART: GEORGIA BULLDOGS

  • Back 2 Back National Champions
  • 6 Straight New Years 6 Bowls including 3 CFB Playoff & National Championship Game appearances
  • Only way to raise the stakes is to win a 3rd straight National Championship
  • His Leadership this offseason and ability to address the off the field incidents will shape the course going forward.
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 18TH. AT TENNESSEE


3.). BRIAN KELLY: LSU TIGERS

  • Can these Tigers live up to expectations?
  • He has coached Notre Dame in the CFB Playoff and BCS National Championship Game, but hasn’t won.
  • Brian Kelly has to build off his win over Alabama and take the next step as an elite head coach
  • The 2023 season is critical for Coach Kelly’s legacy
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 4TH. AT ALABAMA


4.). MARK STOOPS: KENTUCKY WILDCATS

  • Coach Stoops has won at Kentucky and is the all-time winningest head coach in Wildcats history
  • 4-2 Bowl Record
  • Develops talent at a significant rate and competes with limited resources compared to others.
  • He has done more with less compared to everyone else.
  • Next challenge is to win the SEC East / earn a NY6 bid
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: OCTOBER 7TH. AT GEORGIA


5.). JOSH HEUPEL: TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS

  • The 2022 season was a huge return to prominence for the Vols
  • Had a great 2018 at UCF (12-2), then 10-3 in 2019 and 6-4 in 2020
  • This season will define Josh Heupel and his coaching prowess with the conference and nationally.
  • Was last year the current and future or a 1 year aberration on Rocky Top?
  • Recruiting has improved dramatically but his success will reside with the Volunteers defense, not his electric offense.
  • Next step is to win the SEC East and that’s a big career coaching challenge.
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 18TH. VS GEORGIA


6.). LANE KIFFIN: OLE MISS REBELS

  • 4th Season at Ole Miss…was the 2021 season the true Lane Train Adventure?
  • Can Lane guide the Rebels to an upset over Alabama on his watch?
  • Matured as a coach under Saban and at FAU.
  • He has the potential to win big at Ole Miss, but they are inconsistent
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 23RD. AT ALABAMA


7.). JIMBO FISHER: TEXAS A&M AGGIES

  • Won a National Title at Florida State and guide the Noles to the CFB Playoff the year after.
  • Making a lot of oil money to be extremely inconsistent
  • Got the Aggies to the Orange Bowl in 2020 and beat Alabama in 2021, but went 5-7 in 2022
  • He poked “The Saban” last offseason and karma got him…can he turn the Aggies around and save the program / his credibility
  • Was close to being fired in 2022.
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: OCTOBER 7TH. AT ALABAMA

8.). SHANE BEAMER: SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS

  • Has 2 Top 10 Victories
  • Major strides on the recruiting front
  • 2023 will be his biggest test as a Head Coach with Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, North Carolina and Clemson on the schedule.
  • Goal is a NY6 bid and/or SEC East Title.
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 30TH. AT TENNESSEE


9.). SAM PITTMAN: ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS

  • He’s the perfect fit for Arkansas, but must take the next step
  • Has beaten Texas, LSU, Texas A&M, Penn State, Cincinnati Ole Miss among others, but like many, hasn’t beaten Bama.
  • Recruiting has improved, but the team has been inconsistent
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 23RD. AT LSU


10.). HUGH FREEZE: AUBURN TIGERS

  • Won at Ole Miss & Liberty
  • His off the field behavior is why he’s ranked so low.
  • Will have the most resources he’s ever had in coaching at Auburn.
  • The SEC West was a gauntlet when he was in Oxford, if his mind is right, he can win on The Plains.
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: NOVEMBER 25TH. THE IRON BOWL.


11.). CLARK LEA: VANDERBILT COMMODORES

  • First Season was brutal, but 5 wins in 2022 was tremendous improvement
  • This will test Clark’s coaching abilities because regression would kill momentum.
  • The goal should be 6 wins and a Bowl game.
  • He must have his team ready to play immediately because the first 7 games are winnable. The final 5 are Georgia, Ole Miss, Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: OCTOBER 7TH. AT FLORIDA. (POTENTIAL FOR BACK TO BACK WINS VS FLORIDA & COULD BE FOR THEIR 6TH WIN).


12.). ELI DRINKWITZ: MISSOURI TIGERS

  • Has had ups and downs….very inconsistent
  • Has recruited well, but not turning those into W’s
  • Eli is on the hot seat in COMO and it might be time to deliver or they go in a different direction
  • This could be the toughest schedule the Tigers have faced on his watch with LSU, Memphis and K State in addition to the normal.
  • Almost upset Georgia last year, but needs to get his team to play all 4 quarters.
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: OCTOBER 7TH. VS LSU


13.). BILLY NAPIER: FLORIDA GATORS

  • The Gators were very inconsistent in Year 1
  • Napier has a huge staff, but the roster wasn’t well coached
  • This team throttled South Carolina and upset Utah but lost to Vandy and should have lost to USF.
  • A large amount of roster depth left via the Draft or Portal and failed to keep Jaden Rashada…QB depth is atrocious.
  • This program has had a very rocky 2023 and it started with the No Show in the bowl game….signs of a culture problem.
  • This must be Napier’s best coaching effort of his career or the seat will get Florida Summer Hot quickly.
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 16TH. VS. TENNESSEE


14.). ZACK ARNETT: MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS

  • Taking over for the late great Mike Leach
  • Has produced a great defense in StarkVegas, but now he’s guiding the team
  • Too new to rate, but I wish him the best and hope Hail State embraces him.
  • Gets LSU, Alabama, Kentucky and Ole Miss at home.
  • TOUGHEST 2023 GAME: SEPTEMBER 16TH. VS. LSU

The next installment of my Power 5 Head Coach Power Rankings will head to the ACC. Is Dabo atop the mountain or will the last 2 seasons cost him? You can find a great article regarding the ACC and potential realignment ideas written by our Legal Eagle on Spinnable Sports.com. My Irrational Confidence Podcast Co-Host also penned an article looking at the ACC / BIG 12 /PAC 12 and their media negotiations.

About FRESH IRC PODCAST

Host of The Irrational Confidence Podcast and Contributor to Spinnable Sports #CollegeFootball #NFL #MLB #NBA #NHL #EPL #UCL On Twitter @SS_2FRESH

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