College basketball's March Madness has marched on. College baseball has some time yet before each game is a must win. April brings showers, the NFL draft, and for me, thoughts of college football. Except for the draft, sorta just like the other eleven months, actually. When am I not thinking about college football? But the eleven I want to reflect upon here are the eleven other head football coaches in the SEC. Needless to say, this will be from a purely Razorback point of view with plenty Hog bias and Hog prejudice, just the sorta thing you expect from us here at Arkansasexpats. Note: the order below reflects nothing but which one came to mind as I was typing.
STEVE SPURRIER - I don't think the football gods could come up with a better named coach for the Gamecocks, and when he was hired, he was a great name, a get! But South Carolina has not been the Florida of the 90s, and Spurrier is starting to look a bit sad out there in Columbia. Forecasters say if he is ever going to have a big year with South Carolina, this coming year should be it, what with the other Eastern teams going through some rebuilding, especially on offense. For Razorback fans who remember the 1995 SEC Championship game, there's enough payback still in the tank when it comes to Spurrier. But with Meyer now the reigning god of the SEC East, you can't help but feel that the Hogs, when they have beaten Spurrier these days, have beaten something of a has been. Crazy Lee Corso said that when Spurrier was hired that Spurrier would never win an SEC championship at Columbia. For old times sake, I hope he does win the SEC East this year and the Hogs are there in Atlanta making Corso look smarter than he really is.
LES "The Hat" MILES - There's plenty of evidence to say that Les doesn't have a full deck under his high wearing white hat. Case in point, last year's Ole Miss game. Fewer and fewer Saban players, as we all hoped, has meant thus far fewer championships, like none, for the Tigers over the last two years. I think there is an equation that you can draw on a chalkboard, and it would look something like this: LSU - BCS appearances + cajun anger squared + Michigan losses = Baton Rouge's Michigan man going back to Ann Arbor. Whether he does or not, Arkansas fans will always have two cherised victories over him, 07 and 08, and one very stinging loss, 06.
JOKER PHILLIPS - He hasn't coached a game yet at Kentucky, and Kentucky still has a few seasons before they rotate back on the schedule. So I can't really say much here other than I am glad Sylvester Croom was not a one time experiment in the SEC, and a black coach has been given the opportunity to coach at another school. However, if he continues Kentucky's winning ways against the Hogs (that is painful to type), I will certainly wish that he gets shuffled off to somwhere else better than Kentucky and out of the SEC.
DEREK DOOLEY - Another coach the Hogs have not faced and won't face (if Tennessee can keep him) until the season after next. The enormous buyout says they will keep him. My first thought when I heard that Tennessee had hired him was does this mean they'll add the mountain song "Dooley" to "Rocky Top"? Will some newer version of the Darlings (Andy Griffith Show) come out at half time and sing, "Dooley"? I don't know. But the Southerner in me never thought that Lane Kiffin belonged at Tennessee. However, I was hoping the Hogs would get a chance to wipe the field with him. Now, he is Mitch Mustain's problem. Poor Mitch suffers another blow, haha, over there on that west coach bench. What type of football player does a combination of Houston Nutt, Pete Carroll, and Lane Kiffin create? Only Mitch Mustain can answer that question. Yes, I kinda got off the Dooley track here.
HOUSTON NUTT - You can't mention Mitch Mustain without soon thinking of Houston Nutt. The topic of Nutt could take up the rest of this post, but I am going to try to be brief here by mentioning just the recent "Thank gawd we are done with him" news. And that is you can find a telephone interview on the web where you can distinctly hear certain bathroom sounds going on while Nutt is talking on the phone. Texting reporters before kick off, conducting radio interviews in the jon, there's just no amount of multi-tasking Houston can't do, haha. That means there must not be any multi-tasking involved with developing a quarterback! Zing!
DAN MULLINS - We are 1-0 against him if you just think in terms of Mississippi State. It doesn't pay, however, to think of him in terms of Florida where we are zero and . . . I don't want to think about it. But I will give him a pat on the back for embarrassing Mr. I'll Take An Interview Anywhere, Brotha, in the Egg Bowl last year. He doesn't have the talent that he had at Florida and there is a line of thought that, of course, it was always Urban Meyer's offense out there. But woah be it if he should catch lightening in a cowbell out there at Miss. State. We need at least one school in the West we can count on beating more times than not.
BOBBY JOHNSON - I thought it was cute when they won the Music City Bowl, and I had recovered somewhat by then from the 05 defeat in Fayetteville. But I am not wanting any damn cuteness out of Vanderbilt this year, seeing as they are on our schedule. Our Bobby neats to beat their Bobby silly. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
URBAN MEYER - And no ifs, ands, or buts about this either. I just don't like this guy. Yes, I think there is a level of "a-holeness" in just about every football coach,included. They are what we channel as a society our dictator impulse through, and don't some of them know it! But Meyer just seems to push it to the nth degree in his churlish behavior, such as the recent confrontation with a reporter over the reporter having dared to quote a player who made a remark that took a little shine off St. Tebow. He threatened physical violence to the reporter. Personally, I would have loved to have seen them get in a fist fight and the reporter knock his lights out.
NICK SABAN - Though they have some of the same qualities, as much as I don't like Meyer, I kinda do like Saban. Maybe I've gone a bit soft on him ever since he didn't rub the Hogs' face in it last year in Tuscaloosa, when he clearly could have. Meyer sure would have. But I really have always admired Saban's defenses (wish we had some of those in Fayetteville) and his abilities as a teacher. Like Meyer, he is a man of single purpose, win football games, but somehow I get the sense that inside Saban there is still a decent human being in there, though I admit I could be wrong, haha. Think back to how in Moby-Dick, Ahab shed a tear and softened up when thinking about his wife and kid. In a league of Ahab coaches, Meyer gave us that scene in public, said he was turning the Pequod over to Starbuck, and then later on didn't, thus ignoring the public pleas of his family, the non-football one. If Saban has done the same thing, at least he has spared us the public spectacle of it all.
GENE CHIZIK - Like Dan Mullins, the Hogs are 1-0 here as well. But I don't know how much longer we will have more wins against Chizik than losses. He brought in a top notch recruiting class this year, even with that big elephant next door winning a national championship. He came into Arkansas and took a couple of kids; I know their names, but no need in mentioning them, I think. He got a bowl win this year while nearly losing it several times in the process, kinda like Arkansas. I think to everyone's regret, he isn't going to have the record at Auburn that he had at Iowa State. But I sure wish he would!
MARK RICHT - That he is on the hotseat out at Georgia says something about the irrationality of Bulldog fans. Personally, I hope the Hogs make his seat even hotter with an early season win in Athens. It has been about 18 years or so since the Hogs beat the Dogs, so one would think we are due. (I thought that last year too.) With that said, I think the SEC and Georgia would be losing a good coach in Richt if he were to be fired at the end of the year. His bowl, SEC Championship game, and on the road records are something that any Hog fan would envy. But I guess it is sorta like it was with us and Houston; others outside a program never quite see a coach in the same light as the program's fans. One other note, as evidence Georgia's ugly black helmets in Jacksonville last year, Richt doesn't have a spot on Project Runway if they indeed do run him out of Athens. Not that he is counting on one.
As always, I welcome your comments. What do you think about these coaches, enemies all to us, but still an interesting collection of egos as the conference has ever seen.