Thanks to the wonders of pulled back muscles and then joys of hydrocodone taken legally and with a prescription, I am getting to this post a couple of days after I would like to. But here is the SEC rookie coach ranking after two weeks.
1) Gene Chizik, Auburn. Chizik is the only rookie SEC coach that is undefeated after the second week. What's more, he dominated one of the other rookie coaches, Dan Mullen of Mississippi State. In two games, Chizik's teams have scored 86 total points, a stratospheric total considering last year's offensive struggles. While it may yet be too early to start talking division contention, through two games, fans of the Plainsmen/War Eagles/Tigers could hardly have asked for more from their new coach.
2) Lane Kiffin, UT. Kiffin's team seemed to take a step back this week, especially quarterback Jonathan Crompton. Crompton, who was 21-28 in the Vols' week-one pasting of Western Kentucky, droped to 13-26 for just 83 yards against UCLA. The Vol defense is still performing well, however. Unlike many, I don't share the disdain for Kiffin that borders on disgust and a almost Jokerian antipathy. His team hasn't done horribly this year, but he isn't exactly drawing comparisons with a young Bear Bryant either.
3) Dan Mullen, Mississippi State. Mullen's teams took a beating at the hands of Auburn, and Mullen laid part of the blame where it belongs: on the coaching staff. "I was disappointed in our coaching staff as far as not putting our players in better positions to make plays." In talking about the progress that the team is making, he implied that they were not well coached when he arrived. That may be the case, and to be fair, Mullen has the toughest uphill climb of any of the rookie coaches.
This week should be a big one for the rookies. Kiffin gets a chance to back up his off-season trash-talk, Mullen gets to face SEC East weak-sister Vanderbilt, and Chizik's Tigers will host West Virginia. However, the chances of them going 0-3 are far greater than them going 3-0.