Ranking the SEC's head coaches

My buddy at The Sporting News, Matt Hayes, has unveiled his annual ranking of all 125 FBS head coaches, and similar to the one Athlon Sports did a week ago, Alabama's Nick Saban is No. 1.

Big surprise, huh?

Hayes also has South Carolina's Steve Spurrier (and rightfully so) in the top 10 at No. 6. Spurrier is the second SEC coach on the list. Of particular note, Hayes predicts that Spurrier will break through and win an SEC championship at South Carolina. The Gamecocks have won 11 games each of the past two seasons, and I'm in the same boat as Hayes. I think there's a greater chance Spurrier will win an SEC title before he's finished at South Carolina than there is that he won't.

The third SEC coach on Hayes' list is LSU's Les Miles, who's No. 9 overall.

That's significantly higher than Miles was ranked by Athlon Sports, which had Miles No. 7 among SEC coaches.

Again, all this does is reinforce my argument that ranking head coaches is about as subjective as it gets. What matters most -- sheer results, coaching ability or recruiting and developing talent?

Below is a rundown of where Hayes has all 14 SEC head coaches in his rankings. Note that a pair of former SEC head coaches -- Ohio State's Urban Meyer and Western Kentucky's Bobby Petrino -- are both ranked highly. Meyer is No. 2 and Petrino No. 20. Another former SEC head coach, USC's Lane Kiffin, checks in at No. 43. Ten current SEC head coaches are ranked ahead of Kiffin, who's entering his fourth season at USC.

  • No. 1 -- Nick Saban, Alabama

  • No. 6 -- Steve Spurrier, South Carolina

  • No. 9 -- Les Miles, LSU

  • No. 12 -- Mark Richt, Georgia

  • No. 15 -- Bret Bielema, Arkansas

  • No. 18 -- Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M

  • No. 24 -- Will Muschamp, Florida

  • No. 30 -- James Franklin, Vanderbilt

  • No. 35 -- Butch Jones, Tennessee

  • No. 37 -- Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss

  • No. 52 -- Gary Pinkel, Missouri

  • No. 55 -- Gus Malzahn, Auburn

  • No. 61 -- Dan Mullen, Mississippi State

  • No. 90 -- Mark Stoops, Kentucky