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SEC coaches need victories to hold onto jobs

October 16, 2012


It's tough to be a football coach in the Southeastern Conference.

In the SEC, more than any other league, the thought of "what have you done for me lately," seems to hover over coaches.

Auburn's Gene Chizik has gone from national champion to the hot seat in a hurry after the season his Tigers have endured so far.

Two years after claiming the coaches trophy, Auburn dropped a 41-20 decision against Ole Miss to fall to 1-5 overall and 0-4 in the conference.

Chizik is in desperate need for some answers. Neither Superman nor Cam Newton can come to the rescue right now.

The Tigers have fallen off the mark in a big way and it remains to be seen if Chizik can survive the season. It doesn't seem Auburn is going to be able to get the situation fixed any time soon.

There are still some good Tigers on the roster, but just not enough of them. Onterio McCalebb is one of the best athletes in the SEC and has been for several years now. Philip Lutzenkirchen is a very good tight end on offense. They just don't have enough help.

It appears Chizik and his staff haven't recruited well enough behind Newton and his class to have the good times continue on The Plain.

There's a great deal of pressure that goes with being a coach in the SEC. Success must be consistent for them to keep their jobs.

Sylvester Croom found that out the hard way at Mississippi State.

Croom had a very good season as head coach of the Bulldogs in 2007. He led MSU to an 8-5 record and Liberty Bowl victory that year.

The very next season was a disaster for Croom and the Bulldogs. It started with a 22-14 loss to Louisiana Tech and ended with a 45-0 loss to Ole Miss in Oxford. That embarrassing loss to the Rebels, in and of itself, seemed to bring Croom's head-coaching tenure to an end at MSU.

Of course things have worked out for the Bulldogs since. Dan Mullen was hired to replace Croom and MSU has put together three good seasons in-a-row.

The Bulldogs became bowl eligible for the third-straight season with last Saturday's 41-31 win over Tennessee. This has a chance to be a very successful season for MSU.

It won't always be a bed of roses for Mullen and the Bulldogs. He has survived a couple of bumps in the road since becoming coach.

What happens when and if adversity comes Mullen's way again? That's something MSU fans hope doesn't happen for a long, long time.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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