which high-powered SEC coach will be left with an empty plate?
Southerners are many things–chivalric, God-fearing, hard-working, amiable, stubborn–but most of all, we are football addicted. About this time each year, my excruciating dependency begins to overtake my conscience, as the realization that the only football I’ll be relegated to watching is the Jets/Patriots, et al. (think the detox scene from Trainspotting). While politics, religion, and dress-code are widely mottled throughout the lower US, one thing we all agree on is that the SEC is college football. Yanks, left-coasters, buckeyes, you’re simply never going to convince an SEC fan that any other conference is worth a damn, and I’m pretty sure that my old man can beat up your old man as well. Here in Kentucky, the allegiance among the nation’s elite(ists) is a double-edged sword: in exchange for a ruthless schedule, Kentucky gets their name sewn to the breast of prominence. Kind of like how Arnold Schwartzenegger’s marriage to Maria Shriver gets him a seat at the Kennedy Family Reunion (where he’s a three-time ice-luge champion, nonetheless). Yet, while Schwartzenegger’s recent political success (Bowl win) is admired by Camelot (SEC), he’s still the Kindergarten Cop (Kentucky).
The hiring of Nick Saban at Alabama further illustrates this harsh reality. Kentucky is going to be a very competitive team next season, and perhaps, for years to come. However, Kentucky’s protracted journey from a .500 conference team to legitimate SEC title threat is a whole different mountain; a peak which is now rife with avalanches of verified champions. With the addition of Saban, the SEC now boasts three head coaches who have won a national championship (could be 4 if you count Auburn’s unblemished year in 2004, or even 5 if Urban Meyer can somehow orchestrate a monumental one next week). Joining Spurrier, Fulmer, Saban, Tubberville, and Meyer, is UGA’s Mark Richt, the maestro of 2 SEC Championships. If that weren’t enough, LSU’s Les Miles and Arkansas’s Houston Nutt have proven they can keep up in this breakneck pace of winning.
Simply put, the current assemblage of head coaches in the SEC is the greatest of its kind for a single conference in the history of college football. With each coach being paid in truckloads of bullion to keep their team in front, and with the scarcity of dubyas and blue-chippers available for consumption, something’s gotta give; the only question is, which high-profiled coach will be the next victim of a high-profiled firing? How long until this perpetual carousel of coach-swapping resumes? And, where does it leave our Wildcats? Well, better whip out the Methadone, because the answers aren’t coming any time soon.