When a CBSsports.com panel of five writers was asked to rank the college football coaches in a recent poll the results were a little surprising. When ranking all the coaches in the Power 5 Conferences – plus Brian Kelly of Notre Dame – the pollsters had 65 coaches in total to consider.
Given the success of the SEC over the last decade, you would expect a high percentage of the league coaches to be in the top 20. If not there, then surely at least half of the league's membership would be in the top 30.
The SEC had just two coaches ranked in the top 20, with Nick Saban of Alabama ranked at No. 1 and Gus Malzahn of Auburn at No. 19. A further three followed inside the top 30 (Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen at 21, Florida’s Jim McElwain at 23 and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema at 27) but the overall level of coaching in the league is not that highly thought of by these particular writers.
It is also interesting to see the average ranking of schools in each conference. By doing this the SEC actually has the worst average rank (at 37.6) far below a conference such as the ACC which averages out at 29.8.
So how does the SEC win so many games?
The thinking here as to be that the SEC teams get by on recruiting level and talent of players as opposed to actual coaching strength. While Saban has obviously produced a consistent winner, many of the coaches in the SEC are in the infancy of their gigs or have flattered to deceive with their talent thus far.
With all that being said it will be interesting to see how these SEC schools finish in the polls this fall as opposed to their ratings here.