Who Is Your SEC Coach of the Year?

Les Miles won the AP's SEC Coach of the Year award, and he's certainly deserving. However, you can make the case for other coaches as well. Here's the best I can make those cases, after which you can vote for who you think should get it.

LES MILES

Miles is the head coach of the sole team to finish the year undefeated, but that only scratches the surface. Few coaches had to deal with as many distractions as Miles did. Before the season began, he had to deal with the Will Lyles scandal, Steve Kragthorpe's unfortunate illness shaking up the coaching staff, four players (including starting QB Jordan Jefferson) getting mixed up in a fight, and eligibility issues with Russell Shepard. Then he had to suspend three players including stars Tyrann Mathieu and Spencer Ware mid-season after they got busted for synthetic pot. Through it all LSU kept mauling everyone but Alabama, who he beat thanks in large part to outcoaching Nick Saban.

JAMES FRANKLIN

It's hard to overstate how bad Vanderbilt has been the past two seasons. By some measures, the Commodores were literally off the charts bad in 2010. Franklin came into Nashville talking a good game, even winning SEC Media Days in the process. Unlike most Vandy coaches, he actually made good on that talk as he led the team to a bowl in his first year. The novelty has worn off that some thanks to VU's 2008 bowl run, but this is only the school's fifth bowl game in history. That '08 team even did it with some smoke and mirrors, winning four of its six regular season games by one score and getting outscored by its opponents on the season. Franklin's team has five blowout wins to its name and had four other one-score losses. This was a dramatically better Vandy team than last year, and it might be the best in recent memory.

MARK RICHT

The "Mark Richt is on the hot seat" meme was one of the most pervasive over the last couple of years. So pervasive, in fact, that it's difficult to imagine the players never heard of it either in the media or, in the case of the young guys, from other coaches who recruited them. In that light, it would have been entirely predictable and understandable if the Bulldogs fell apart after getting dissected by Boise State and losing a strange heartbreaker to South Carolina to begin the season 0-2. Instead, UGA ripped off 10 straight wins including a clean sweep over rivals Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech. It's the first time Georgia has both won 10 games and gone 3-0 against its rivals since 2007. It also resulted in the program's first SEC Championship Game appearance since 2005.

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