Alabama Football: SEC football head coaching hot seats and not

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Alabama Football
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In Nashville and Auburn, head coaching seats are perennially warm – for two very different reasons.

No. 2 – Auburn Tigers – Gus Malzahn

Gus Malzahn has avoided being fired at Auburn on three occasions; at the end of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons. Some Auburn power-brokers wanted him gone after the 2018 season, but there was one big problem. Gus and his agent finagled a $49M contract extension after the 2017 season.

What happened? There were two major upsets on the Plains. In a two-week period, Auburn miraculously upset No. 2 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama. The wins did not come from bizarre plays, as had happened in 2013. In 2017, Auburn was the better team in both games.

Gus and his agent masterfully played Auburn into believing Arkansas was about to bring Gus home. On the basis of that threat and the two upsets, Auburn threw a $49M deal Gus’ way. When they wanted to fire him again after the 2018 season, Gus was saved by a $42M buyout

The buyout may impede a new termination effort after the 2020 season, but Gus is on borrowed time in Auburn. Or maybe another loss in T-Town will be a tipping point. Gus has never won in Bryant-Denny as a head coach.

No. 1 – Vanderbilt Commodores – Derek Mason

No Vanderbilt football coach deserves their fate in Nashville. Certainly, Derek Mason does not. In football, Vanderbilt cannot win in the SEC. In six seasons, Mason has never had a winning campaign. Twice (in 2016 and 2018) he got the Dores to bowl games – which they lost to finish each season at 6-7.

Beating Tennessee for three seasons in 2016, 2017 and 2018 was a boost for Mason. But the Vols were way down during that run. The rivalry returned to normal last season. The Dores’ future looks as bleak as ever.

Mason should not be faulted. James Franklin somehow managed to win eight, regular-season games and a bowl game in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. For Vanderbilt football, those nine-win seasons are like winning an SEC Championship. Something Vanderbilt has never done.

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There we are, Alabama football fans. SEC Head Football Coaches – hot or not in the 2020 season.