Some SEC football coaches will have hot seats during the 2022 season. Only one will be scorching, but a few others will be in varying degrees of warmth.
Other than Bryan Harsin at Auburn, no one has a firing hanging over their neck. But several SEC football coaches are in the ‘show us something’ zone. How much must be shown depends on the situation at each school.
Going into the 2022 SEC season, there are three absolute untouchables. Along with the GOAT, Nick Saban, there is the defending National Champion coach, Kirby Smart and Mark Stoops at Kentucky.
The league’s first-year coaches, Brian Kelly at LSU and Billy Napier at Florida have typical honeymoon situations in which whatever goes wrong can be blamed on their predecessor. That does not mean expectations for immediate results will not exist in Baton Rouge and Gainesville.
SEC Football East Division Hot Seats
Note: ranked by hottest seat first, and down to ‘rock solid’
- Eli Drinkwitz – Missouri Tigers – Drinkwitz has gone 5-5 and 6-7 in his two Missouri seasons. Another losing season and he might not make it to year four in Columbia.
- Clark Lea – Vanderbilt Commodores – Even in Nashville, 2-10 will not cut it. Vandy coaches never really get honeymoons because each, four to five-season coaching cycle for the Dores does not begin with a big boost of optimism. Like most Vandy coaches, Lea will have a four-year window, unless 2022 is another 2 or 3 win season, and then that window might compress to three years.
- Josh Heupel – Tennessee Volunteers – There is enthusiasm in Knoxville after a 7-6 season. With Hendon Hooker returning at QB, the excitement could quickly fade if the Vols don’t get to eight wins in ’22.
- Billy Napier – Florida Gators – Napier will get some time to rebuild, but even in year one, he must show he has the chops to be an SEC head coach.
- Shane Beamer – South Carolina Gamecocks – Optimism abounds in Columbia. Beamer only has to produce another winning season.
- Mark Stoops – Kentucky Wildcats – Winning 10 games again in Lexington last season, including beating Iowa in the Outback Bowl has Stoops in a good place.
- Kirby Smart – Georgia Bulldogs – Kirby is safe and secure in Athens.