Last week, I promised that the loser of LSU/Auburn would get 100% fired before the start of next season status. It would be irresponsible of me to say that this column is extremely influential and closely monitored by every athletic director in the SEC West, but facts are facts.
LSU, like most programs, has had two kinds of football coaches - good coaches who choose to leave for other jobs (Saban, Bill Arnsparger, Paul Dietzel) and bad coaches who get fired (Mike Archer, Curley Hallman, Jerry Stovall). Les Miles and Charlie McClendon exist in a third category, coaches who elevated LSU as a program, never seemed like they wanted to leave, and could have been lifers if they had not persistently failed to get over a certain hump. For McClendon, that hump was Alabama under Bear Bryant, against whom he went 2-8. Les is slightly better against Nick Saban at 3-7. Miles leaves with the best winning percentage in school history and is tied with McClendon for the most bowl wins.
Past accomplishments don’t earn interest over time, though. Charlie got forced into retirement and LSU tried to hire FSU’s young, promising head coach, Bobby Bowden. Les Miles didn’t make it to October, and, yeah, LSU’s probably going to try to get Jimbo Fisher. History’s stupid anyways.
Of all the explanations I’ve seen for why LSU pulled the trigger so early, my favorite is that they were worried he’d turn things around and buy himself another stay of execution. I’m twisting the logic a little, but that means you fired a coach because you were afraid he would improve your team. That’s just about the most fitting tribute to Les Miles possible.
Why Saban shouldn’t get fired: Beating this edition of Kent State is the “confirm the Space Shuttle is facing nose up and not tail up on the launchpad” of NASA checklist items, but Bama checked it with vigor, scoring on their first six drives and holding the Golden Flash to 1/13 on third down.
Why Saban should get fired: Having built a 41-0 lead at halftime, Saban sent out the starters for one more drive to start the second half. That ended in another touchdown. But if we’re just looking at the slice of game where the backups played, Bama tied Kent State 0-0, which tells me Nick Saban isn’t teaching killer instinct all the way down the depth chart and those players won’t be ready if they’re called on in a more difficult scenario.
Firing chances (between 0 and 1): 0.0
Why Gus shouldn’t get fired: 2-2’s not ideal and there are still a bunch of problems to fix, but those two losses have come at the hands of teams that are currently sitting in the AP Top 10. You can’t say that Auburn’s lost to anyone it should have definitively beaten thus far, and the LSU win might prove to be the spark this team needs.
Why Gus should get fired: You beat LSU with six field goals and not one single touchdown. You had first and goal from the 9; that ended in a 29 yard field goal. You had first and ten at the 18; that also ended in a 29 yard field goal. 1st and goal at the 5? Turnover on downs. You made a 31 yard field goal, a 37 yard field goal, and yet another 29 yard field goal. Gus, your defense was a tablespoon of proper time management by LSU and Daniel Carlson eating some bad oysters away from being hung out to dry yet again.
Firing chances: 0.5
Why Bret shouldn’t get fired: The limits of time prevent us from saying for certain that this A&M team is a fraud that will collapse over the last two months of the season. For now, this is just a tough Arkansas loss to a team that has found some stability at quarterback and does enough good things on defense to win.
Why Bret should get fired: We’re going to play a little game. I’m going to give you some defensive stats for Arkansas and a mystery team, and you’re going to try to guess who that mystery team is.
YARDS PER PLAY ALLOWED - Arkansas 6.11, Mystery Team 6.18
3RD DOWN RATE ALLOWED - Arkansas 50%, Mystery Team 41.9%
20+ YARD PLAYS ALLOWED - Arkansas 21, Mystery Team 20
TFL PER GAME - Arkansas 5, Mystery Team 4.25
Please click here to meet the defensive coordinator responsible for Mystery Team’s stats.
Firing chances: 0.2
Why Sumlin shouldn’t get fired: A&M’s 4-0 and still climbing the rankings.
Why Sumlin should get fired: Let’s say this Texas A&M team’s legit and this isn’t the aforementioned house of cards ready to tumble over at the first stiff autumn breeze. Maybe they can give Bama a game and win the West, but imagine what they’d potentially be doing in the Big 12 right now. Did Sumlin fuck up by not making a condition of his hiring that the Aggies bail on the SEC? At the very least, they wouldn’t have to play a road game against South Carolina.
Firing chances: 0.1
Why Mullen shouldn’t get fired: No, you shouldn’t need a second half comeback to beat UMass, but at least Mullen kept his team together on the road (I know, it’s still funny). That’ll be important with trips still on the schedule to BYU, Kentucky, Alabama, and Ole Miss.
Why Mullen should get fired: This one’s not even his fault, but Mississippi State’s gonna have to find a new athletic director, and that athletic director is going to know that firing Mullen is the go-to pressure release valve if things take a negative turn at some point.
Firing chances: 0.4
Why Freeze shouldn’t get fired: You remember the absolute ass kicking Alabama gave Georgia last season? Ole Miss won by three more points than that. The Rebels heard us shit-talking about the three score leads they’ve blown, so they took a four score lead at halftime instead.
Why Freeze should get fired: If beating Georgia was all that special, Ron Zook would probably still be in Gainesville.
Firing chances: 0.2
TOTAL NUMBER OF SEC WEST COACHES DUE TO BE FIRED: 2.4. I don’t think we’ll see a lot of movement based on this week’s schedule, though I guess Missouri could beat LSU and then we’ll start talking about if they need an interim interim.