We were avid readers of the SEC Power Poll last season, so everyone at Expats HQ was extremely honored when Brandon from Garnett & Black Attack asked us to represent Arkansas in this year's edition (we'll try to do you proud, Hog fans).
The power polling will begin in earnest once the season kicks off, but for starters we've all been given the assignment to rank the SEC coaches. So, we applied a bit of random guesswork to our limited knowledge and came up with the completely correct, absolutely unbeatable list below (important note - our rankings reflect the state of affairs right now...they're not a historical overview or all-time list):
1. Urban Meyer, Florida - He has the rampant egomania, steely-eyed glare and national championship ring that you'd expect from the SEC's top coach (come to think of it, so do about half the men on this list). But, what really earns him this spot is the way he somehow molded the oafish Tim Tebow into a Heisman winner over the obviously superior Darren McFadden.
2. Tommy Tuberville, Auburn - Tubby doesn't do it with a lot of flash, but he keeps winning year after year (often with less talent than his celebrated opponents). Plus, he went 13-0 in 2004...we might not see any other SEC teams achieve that for a long while. Winning nine of his last 12 games against Top 10 opponents ain't too shabby, either.
3. Les Miles, LSU - Yeah, Les is super goofy and his baseball cap always looks about two sizes too small, but he's consistently beaten the various "genius" coaches on this list. Bonus points for always going for it on 4th down. Might be ranked even higher if he knew how to correctly pronounce Arkansas.
4. Mark Richt, Georgia - With his team finishing second in last year's final AP poll and a popular pre-season #1 pick this year, Richt has the Bulldogs poised for a return to the glory days of the early 1980s. Expectations in the Peach State are so high he might have to invite the entire student section to dance in the end zone after a TD to keep everyone loose.
5. Nick Saban, Alabama - Everyone talks about what a great coach Saban is, and they might be right. But this is a "what have you done for me lately" kind of list, and the Tide had some pretty ugly losses last year. No way does the best coach in the SEC lose to Louisiana-Monroe.
6. Phil Fulmer, Tennessee - It's kind of crazy that a guy who has been around practically forever and has a national championship (with an undefeated season!) under his (extremely large) belt would only be ranked 6th on this list, but that's the SEC in 2008 for you. It's tough.
7. Bobby Petrino, Arkansas - We're confident that if he sticks around (ok, we know that's a big if) he'll be ranked a lot higher than this in a year or two. But, it's harder to rack up a 41-9 record in the SEC than in whatever lame league Louisville plays in, so he slides into the 7th slot. Bonus points for making everyone at ESPN have a conniption fit at the mere mention of his name.
8. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina - If this were an all-time list, Darth Visor would easily be ranked #1. But, he's been at South Carolina for a few years now and still hasn't made much of an impact. Our guess is that he'd rather be on the golf course at this point, but for whatever reason he's lost his fastball.
9. Houston Nutt, Mississippi - If you need one man to rally the moderate talent on your team to play over their heads (preferably in a multi-overtime game), Nutt is unquestionably your guy. But if you need someone to take a talented team and have them play consistently well, week in and week out, then you should look elsewhere. He'll be fun to watch at Ole Miss, though.
10. Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State - We would really love to rank Croom higher, as just making Mississippi State relevant is a pretty Herculean task. But, we really couldn't figure out a way for him to crack the top 9.
11. Rich Brooks, Kentucky - No offense, Rich, but it's a tough list and somebody had to go 11th. On the plus side, most of your fans stop paying attention as soon as college basketball Midnight Madness starts in October.
12. Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt - The good news for Bobby Johnson is that his players would unquestionably win some sort of academic Quiz Bowl if one were held between the SEC football teams. The bad news is, well, everything else.(more at www.razorbackexpats.com)