Kentucky found out today they will be headed down to Nashville to play the Northwestern Wildcats in the Music City Bowl, but let’s talk about how crazy this last week and a half has been from around the SEC.
- Ole Miss upset in-state rival Mississippi State on Thanksgiving Day, giving Matt Luke the head coaching job of the Rebels
- Bret Bielema dismissed at Arkansas
- Kevin Sumlin out at Texas A&M
- Jimbo Fisher becomes an Aggie
- Dan Mullen accepts job at Florida, Joe Moorhead heads to MSU
- Ole Miss sanctions released
- Georgia wins SEC Championship
- CFP final rankings and 9 SEC teams go bowling
- And, of course, the craziness in Knoxville
Let’s break it down.
A 5-6 Ole Miss team headed down to Starkville and defeated Mississippi State on Thanksgiving Day. After the Egg Bowl upset over the Bulldogs, the University of Mississippi named former Ole Miss offensive linemen and current interim coach Matt Luke, head coach. Unfortunately, Luke and the Ole Miss program found out that they will take on some hefty NCAA sanctions following scandals under former coach Hugh Freeze. Here are the sanctions according to SB Nation.
- An additional bowl-ban year (2018).
- Because of that total two-year bowl ban, NCAA rules give Ole Miss seniors the freedom to transfer elsewhere without sitting out a season.
- Probation running concurrently with current probation for a total of four years.
- Financial penalties, added to self-imposed sanctions, totaling $179,000.
- A total scholarship reduction of 13 over a period of years. That’s in addition to the 11 over four years that Ole Miss self-imposed, which already meant three or four fewer scholarship players per year.
- Every coach named in the NCAA’s investigation has received a show-cause (essentially an NCAA blackball for a period of time) of varying lengths. That doesn’t include new head coach Matt Luke, who wasn’t named. Former head coach Hugh Freeze would receive a two-game suspension, if hired elsewhere. Former assistant David Saunders’ show-cause runs for eight years. Former staffer Barney Farrar faces five.
A few days After the Mississippi State loss, Dan Mullen decided it was time to head in a different direction and took the head coaching job at Florida. The Gators knocked this hire out of the park. Mullen is a proven winner in the SEC and also knows how important winning is in Gainesville, as being a part of the Gators’ national championship teams as offensive coordinator/ QB’s coach in 2006 and 2008. He is also just an all-around great guy and it will be hard to hate him in Florida.
Joe Moorhead, former Penn State offensive coordinator, will take over the program at Mississippi State. Moorhead has had one coaching job at his alma mater Fordham, where he had a record of 38-13.
Next up, the firing of Bret Bielema at Arkansas following their 48-45 loss to Missouri on Friday. Bielema was the head coach of the Razorbacks for five seasons from 2013 to 2017 with a total record of 29-34. Bielema and company looked like they were starting to turn the corner in Razorback country, but just never could finish the job. Who do I think would be the best fit in Fayetteville going forward? I would have to say Mike Leach of Washington State.
Leach has turned both programs around at Texas Tech and Washington State. Leach also knows recruiting in Texas, which would certainly make him a great hire for the program. Most people, as well as myself, thought former Razorback and current Auburn Tiger Gus Malzhan would take the job, but as of tonight, he has taken a new deal to stay at Auburn.
Kevin Sumlin was also released from Texas A&M after their 45-21 loss to LSU. Sumlin went 51-26 over the course of 6 years in College Station but never could live up to the expectations in Aggieland and couldn’t get over the SEC West hump. Friday we found out that Jimbo Fisher would leave Tallahassee and take the head coaching job at A&M, pulling in $75 million over 10 years. (That’s a lot of money.) Yet another great hire for the SEC.
In the midst of this wild coaching carousel, there was a very important football game yesterday that decided which team from the SEC would get the automatic bid to the CFP. Auburn and Georgia played for the SEC Championship, and it ended up being a flip-flop of what happened in Auburn just 3 weeks ago. Auburn handled the Dawgs 40-17 in early November, but yesterday was the exact opposite. Georgia dominated in the second half and was crowned champions of the SEC after their 28-7 victory for the first time since 2005.
We also learned today that with Ohio State beating Wisconsin yesterday, the Alabama Crimson Tide would get that last spot in the CFP, a decision that shocked a lot of people. Despite Buckeye fans’ complaints, Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama are the four best teams in college football, and those are the teams that deserve to play for a National Championship in January. Get back to me when Alabama loses by 31 to an unranked team.
Vote who you think will win the College Football Playoff in my Twitter poll:
Who wins the college football playoff?
— Alex Holder (@Alex_Holder_KSR) December 4, 2017
|DATE||GAME / LOC.||TIME / TV||TEAMS|
|Jan. 1||Peach Bowl
|No. 7 Auburn vs. No. 12 UCF|
|Michigan vs. South Carolina|
|Notre Dame vs. LSU|
|Louisville vs. Mississippi State|
|Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M|
|Dec. 29||Music City
|Kentucky vs. Northwestern|
|Texas vs. Missouri|
How could I forget Tennessee? If you have turned ESPN on in the last week, you know exactly what’s been going on in Rocky Top land. Former UT football coach Phillip Fulmer took the Athletic Director position in Knoxville on Friday following the firing of former AD John Currie and the crazy situation with Greg Schiano and the entire coaching search.
21 days after the firing of Butch Jones, Tennessee is still looking for a head coach. After what seems to be about 30 coaches turning down the job offer, I’m done guessing who the next Volunteer head coach will be. Your guess is just as good as mine.
Tennessee rn… pic.twitter.com/oRWpfIrRuJ
— Alex Holder (@Alex_Holder_KSR) November 27, 2017