Kalen DeBoer in a post-regular season ranking of SEC football head coaches

Predicting where Kalen DeBoer will rank among the SEC football head coaches at the end of the 2024 regular season.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports / Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Last January when most of the college football world was celebrating Nick Saban's retirement, there were few claims that Kalen DeBoer was not a top coach. Predictions of Alabama Football's slide under DeBoer were centered on a claim that DeBoer having no Southern connections, would not be able to recruit successfully.

Most detractors would have been content to use the old phrase that DeBoer would be able 'to coach them up' but that his recruiting classes would be well short of elite. The story has dramatically changed. DeBoer's first Alabama recruiting cycle is months from completion, but many projections have the Tide's 2025 class finishing in the top three; and possibly even No. 1.

So if DeBoer and his staff close the deal on a top class, what should SEC football fans expect from a head coach with a career record of 104-12? DeBoer has built a solid staff, respected for its abilities to coach. It is also a staff never having had close to as much talent as is on the 2024 Alabama football roster.

Alabama Crimson Tide fans are optimistic. The enthusiasm is warranted, but 2024 is a transition season for the program. The schedule is tough and growing pains can be expected. Realistically, Alabama could win as few as eight regular season games and as many as 12. That's a lot of unknowns.

In predicting a ranking of SEC football coaches at the end of the 2024 regular season, I project the Crimson Tide as a 10-2 or 11-1 team.

SEC Football Head Coach Ranking Predictions

Before determining my rankings, I reviewed three recent rankings from Newsweek, Lynn Harrington, and the Georgia fan site, Georgia Wire. Each source had Kirby Smart as the No. 1 SEC coach, and with two National Championships, Smart has earned that distinction. Two of the three had Kalen DeBoer ranked No. 2. One source had DeBoer at No.3, behind LSU's Brian Kelly. The sources were consistent ranking Steve Sarkisian above Lane Kiffin. The average ranking for Hugh Freeze was the SEC's 10-best coach. Clark Lea, Jeff Lebby, and Sam Pittman anchored the SEC's bottom three.

My Post-Regular Season Head Coach Rankings Prediction

1) Kirby Smart - Georgia Bulldogs; 2)Kalen DeBoer - Alabama Crimson Tide; 3) Steve Sarkisian - Texas Longhorns; 4) Lane Kiffin - Ole Miss Rebels; 5) Brian Kelly - LSU Bengal Tigers; 6) Eli Drinkwitz - Missouri Tigers; 7) Josh Heupel - Tennessee Vols; 8) Mark Stoops - Kentucky Wildcats; 9) Brent Venables - Oklahoma Sooners; 10) Hugh Freeze - Auburn Tigers; 11) Mike Elko - Texas A&M Aggies; 12) Shame Beamer - South Carolina Gamecocks; 13) Billy Napier - Florida Gators; 14) Sam Pittman - Arkansas Razorbacks; 15) Jeff Lebby - Mississippi State Bulldogs; 16) Clark Lea - Vanderbilt Commodores.

To elaborate, it is possible the Stoops and Venables rankings should be reversed. Also, there is no fair way to measure Clark Lea. My hunch is at a different SEC program, Lea could be above Pittman, and possibly Lebby, Beamer, and Napier.

dark. Next. Can Alabama make a push for the #1 recruiting class?. Can Alabama make a push for the #1 recruiting class?