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The SEC's New Head Coaches - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good - Dan Mullen, Mississippi State

Alright, Bulldogs, calm down. Breathe slowly, ok now count backwards from 10. Good, you'll be alright. Yes, the Red Solo Cup did just commend your coaching hire and, yes, we labeled it as "good." But, really, when compared to the two other brand new SEC head coaches and your former head coach, how else can you rate this? Croom was not a good coach (we've been saying this for quite a while) and his "doin' it da right way" charade was wearing very, very thin. To keep the Bulldog faithful, players, and boosters happy, new AD Greg "忍者" Byrne had to hit a figurative homerun with this coaching search. After being turned down by Boise State's Petersen and after rumors of Tommy Tuberville heading to Starkville (no, I'm not kidding) proved to be just that, snagging an OC from a big-name program on the verge of winning a BCS title was a damn good move.

Homerun? No.

Standup double with 2 RBI? Sure.

One thing that Mullen will be able to do is keep many of the recruits that Croom had gotten commitments from. Tyler Russell, the Meridian HS star QB should keep his commitment and I wouldn't at all be shocked if Chad Bumphis, the Tupelo HS standout receiver, commits to State sometime soon. While it may take a while for his offense to gel in Starkville, Mullen could make the Bulldogs competitive.

Well, at least more competitive than the Walrus had them in 4 out of his 5 seasons.

Furthermore, nobody can truly judge Mullen's ability as a head coach because, well, he's never been one. That does not automatically lead to failure at the HC level (Tuberville, circa 1995) but it does not at all guarantee success (O, circa 2004). Who knows what Mullen will do? I don't, and I doubt many of you do either. Hell, Greg Byrne probably doesn't even know.

But, the potential is there. That is what Byrne and the Bulldog faithful are betting on over the next few years.

The Bad - Lane Kiffin, Tennessee

Stand alone, Lane Kiffin is not a good hire. He does bring more name recognition than the other two new hires to the table, which should be able to help Tennessee's standing both within the media and the mind of potential Volunteers. Aside from that, however, few are impressed with his coaching abilities. Many laud his "success" as a developer of talent at USC as if half of the big name USC players aren't ready for D1 football by their junior years of high school. Furthermore, to commend his recruiting "prowess" at Southern Cal is not saying very much at all, in my opinion. A lot of people could successfully recruit to USC. Observe:

"Hey, you, 17 year old boy. Would you like to live in Hollywood, have Will Farrell and Snoop Dogg hang out at your football practices, be on ESPN all of the time, and have aspiring actresses blow you in the VIP room of a dimly lit nightclub?"


"Great, sign here."

Doing the same at Tennessee will be tough.

In my view, Kiffin's real value as a head coach will come with his ability to build an excellent staff. His father, legendary NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffen, will become the Vols DC and if the rumors of Kiffin hiring Ed Orgeron to become his recruiting coordinator are true then Tennessee should have a solid coaching staff come next fall.

Oh, and his wife is hot.

One last thought: citing his lack of success in Oakland as reason for his potential failures at Tennessee isn't going to do it for me. A lot of college coaches simply cannot win in the NFL and vice versa. I'll cut Kiffin some slack there.

The Ugly - Gene Chizik, Auburn

I don't care what you think, Herbie, this is not a good hire. I know that Iowa State is not a traditional Big XII power or anything, but 5 victories in two seasons is pretty damned pathetic. And to somehow parlay that "success" into a head coaching job at one of the SEC's top programs is downright baffling.

Gene Chizik in his natural state of "awful"

I could go on and on about his poor record at ISU, the lack of fan satisfaction among the Cyclone nation, or the fact that every coach worth half a damn turned down the Auburn job, but the best indicator of just how horrible this hire is should be the absolute lack of a honeymoon period out on the plains.

Remember the man crushes that many got (and still have) for Coach Nutt when we hired him? Do you see how goo goo and gah gah the Bulldogs are over Mullen? Have you read the Petrino apologetics in our comment threads? People love new coaches. They bring new energy and potential to their programs. They excite their fans and players. They increase sales of tickets and goofy, pun-laden t-shirts.

Chizik does none of the above. People at Auburn aren't excited over this hire. Many are accepting of it, but most are simply upset. They didn't like him when he left Auburn after 2004. Iowa State fans and media don't like him. Hell, he was even on the third hottest seat of the season according to

Let's be frank: this is all the fault of Auburn's overly controlling boosters. Bobby Lowder and his posse of cock-envied millionaires can't stand seeing Nick Saban have the success he is having at Alabama. So, in purely illogical fashion, they fire one of the SEC's best coaches to hire the single worst in the Big XII. Of course, they wanted to go after a bigger name but, after seeing how Tommy Tuberville was not appreciated by those in power, a bigger name was not going to waste his time on the Plains. The fans didn't want Tuberville gone, nor did the players; but a few rich, old assholes who can't stand hearing their golfing buddies brag about St. Nick while criticizing the hors d'œuvres at the Country Club's brunch became jealous and intervened. Bobby Lowder and anyone else who had anything to do with all of this are professional dumbasses.

I will say, though, the rest of the SEC West and the Bulldogs of Athens are pretty pumped about this. Have fun filling your stadium next year, Auburn.

"The next opposing coach that Chizik outsmarts will be the first." -A clever-as-hell ISU fan