It looks like there are a couple of coaches in the hot seat in the SEC. Being the conference that it is coaches seats tend to get a lot hotter a lot faster than in any other conference in college football. Most Fans, alumni, and boosters have very short memories and they are only concerned with what you have done for them lately. Many times this is justifiable other times not so much. Tommy Tubberville seems to have the hottest seat if only because of the success of the Alabama team this year. Tubbs hasn't had a losing record since his second season at the helm of the team, but they have fallen short of expectations a couple of times. In 2003 there was several publications that predicted them to win the BCS Championship and they came out and laid an egg with a shutout to Southern Cal and almost getting shut out by Georgia Tech before finally getting things together for a winning season. Then in 2004 when the expectation were lower they go out and end the season 14-0 with a Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech. While watching Oklahoma lay an egg in the championship game versus Southern Cal. Now four years later with six wins in a row over Alabama, and no losing seasons Tubberville can feel that seat burning hotter and hotter with each loss and each dreadful offensive performance. My question is should a coach with 8 winning seasons in a row out of 10 total be feeling the heat like he is?
My thoughts are the Auburn people are bluffing. Tubberville has a 6 million dollar buyout in his contract and there is no way they are going to fire him early and have to pay another coach between 2 to 3 million plus pay his buyout. He isn't going anywhere. He may feel the heat to replace most of his offensive staff at the very least.
The other coach on the hot seat is Phil Fulmer. Now here is a coach that has won 75% of the games he has coached at Tennessee with a National Championship to boot. Granted he has only won 1 SEC title since the championship year and has only had 1 losing season in that time. In said losing season UT lost 3 of the games by a total of 9 points which basically means the record for them could have just as easily been 8-3 overall. The offense this year hasn't been so much bad as it has been inconsistent. They should have won the UCLA game after jumping on them big in the first half. Penalties and turnovers have been what has hurt this team the most. Especially in the Florida game where they had two turnovers inside the red zone. They have no excuse for losing to Auburn after spending the entire 2nd half on Auburns side of the 50 yard line only coming away with one touchdown in that span of play. Fulmer has watched several offensive position coaches go to other programs and flourish. Randy Sanders gets fired and is basically the scapegoat for the 2005 season, but then he goes to Kentucky to be the quarterback coach and looke at how well Woodson played the past two years under Sanders guidance. David Cutcliffe leaves for a second time to be a head coach and he had DUKE, yes Duke playing with an above .500 record right now. Perhaps the worst though has to be Trooper Taylor leaving to be offensive cordinator at Oklahoma State, and look at how good that offense has played this year undefeated and ranked number 6 in the country before last weeks loss to Texas by a mere 4 points.
The thing that both Auburn and Tennessee has in common is they have had tons of coaching turnover on the offensive side of the ball. In 10 years as coach Auburn is on its 6th cordinator now. Not exactly the most direct route to being a good football team. Noel Mazzone, Bobby Petrino, Hugh Nall, Al Borges, and now Tony Franklin have all had their chances at the helm. Borges had the most success of any of them and had the longest stint as cordinator. Perhaps the most shocking of the replacements has to be the firing of Franklin. He got 7 games to make the offence click when you count last years bowl game. 7 games isn't enough time to let a guy implement a new offense especially when it is so dramatically different than what has been previously ran by the team. Franklin was pretty successful at Kentucky and Troy as an assistant he didn't forget how to coach an offense, but how dumb can you be to be selling your playbook online for a number of years to high school coaches, and then think you are going to be successful once you step into the SEC. I would just about bet the farm that as soon as Franklin was announced as cordinator for Auburn every other coach in the SEC came into a copy of that playbook. I know if I was going to be an opposing coach I certainly would have. Auburn's problem though in my book is that Franklin wasn't allow to hire his own position coaches to teach the offense to the players and was stuck relying on coaches who were schooled in coaching a more straigt forward run heavy pro style offense. If the position coaches don't know what they are doing how can the players be expected to know what they are doing.
Fair or unfair one or both of these guys will be gone come next year. Living in Knoxville I hear of the rumors surrounding Fulmer on a daily basis. Last I heard he was going to resign, and that the school was hoping to lure Will Muschamp to take over. I have it from a fairly reliable sourse that Auburn is trying to now woo Butch Davis away from North Carolina. I don't see Auburn being able to pay Tubberville's buyout and then also giving Davis the kind of money it would take to lure him away from North Carolina, but I guess stranger things have happened. Have an opinion sound off with me about it.