It's time for the quarterly ranking of coaches! Every quarter, or whenever I run out of column ideas, I rank the coaches in the SEC. It's a measuring stick for how they should feel about themselves. There's really no way this ranking should change between now and August, but I'll probably rank them again because I can't write many other columns over the next eight months. But strap in, because somewhere over the next two months, I will berate the state of basketball in the state of Alabama, even though I know very little about basketball or Alabama or states.
1. Coach Nick Saban -- Coach Nick Saban has redefined coaching players up. The husband of Miss Terry has set an impossible standard for others to match, becoming the voice of America's most lucrative and exciting game. When Coach Nick Saban speaks, you listen, because you know that each word will redefine how much you value your own worth. Me? I was a Hostess man for all of my Memphis years. When I arrived in Birmingham, I still swore by the Twinkie's delicious, cream-filled goodness. Coach Nick Saban changed all of that. Oatmeal cream pies are the only game in town these days. Let's be honest: Coach Nick Saban's Little Debbie seal of approval was likely the undoing of my once go-to snack. Coach Nick Saban made Hostesses's ass quit.
2. The Old Ball Coach -- Steve Spurrier calls me sometimes. Have I mentioned that? Well, he does, so I think he's great at coaching football in 2013. Listen, Steve Spurrier is at South Carolina. So I've developed a sliding scale that takes into account how awesome it is that he calls me on the telephone versus how awful South Carolina is at football and BLAMMO -- No. 2 coach in the greatest conference in the land.
3. The Hat -- Les Miles' stock is slipping. What once looked like Woody v. Bo between he and Coach Nick Saban now looks more like a small child trying to fight Legend. Ha. Huh. Ha. See what I did? I took a real life situation and made an impossible analogy to a caller to my show. It really doesn't make sense, but I said two things. Gun control? More like Hoover Tactical Firearms. Get it? Anyway, what I'm saying here is that Les Miles is dumb and he eats grass like Tammy. Ha.
4. Kevin Sumlin -- Here's a gent who matched wits with Coach Nick Saban and took a victory home. If we're being honest, there's no doubt it took a lot of luck for Sumlin to do the unthinkable, and it also took the greatest, legally recruited quarterback in SEC history. But he did it, and for that amazing feat, he has cracked my prestigious Top Five in year one. It was a Harvey Updyke-esque rookie season in the SEC.
5. Mark Richt -- Mark Richt gets this spot because he was man enough to give Coach Nick Saban a run for his money in Atlanta. But Mark Richt will never win a national championship because Mark Richt does Mark Richt things. His greatest hope is winning one SEC championship every five years and competing for the Outback Bowl the other four.
6. Will Muschamp -- Coach Boom got things pointed in the right direction in Gainesville this season, but he's still far from filling the shoes of The Old Ball Coach (who calls me occasionally, because we are friends. That talk on the phone. What I'm telling you is that I know Steve Spurrier). Still, Coach Boom has this thing much further along than most of the other clowns now in the league.
7. Hugh Freeze -- Here's a guy putting things together. The hapless Rebels were in the toilet when Hugh Freeze plunged them back to life. And the team has a massive BBVA Compass Bowl victory to build on in the new year. Yes, things are looking up in the Grove. The women are prettier, the novels are written with more grand Southern slang and the beer is warm. And Hugh Freeze has the Rebels REBELLING against the norm. Of losing football games. Like they typically do at Ole Miss.
8. James Franklin -- James has done a great job of recruiting quality athletics to Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt, bro. Also, he's bald. I dig it.
9. Bret Bielema -- The Hawgs needed to fix a disaster, and I know this guy's name. So it's probably a good hire. I only know the names of 57 NCAA coaches. This guy is one of them. Slam dunk. Wooooo pig.
10. Butch Jones -- Tennessee struck out several times this offseason, but when they walked away from the table, they landed a hot up-and-comer. You don't have to win the press conference. Not everyone is Mal Moore. Sometimes, you just need the right guy. Now, with an athletic department that has built mountains of debt and no good sport worth watching, it will be interesting to see if Jones can finally hold our attention.
11. Gary Pinkel? - I guess?
12. The guy at Kentucky - I don't know who the coach at Kentucky is, but I'm putting him here.
13. Dan Mullen - This guy is a clown.
14. Gus Malzahn - I guess we know who was in charge now, right? Ha. I kid, because we know that's Pat Dye. Probably could have hired Tammy and I-Man. Ha. Huh. Ha. I'll say this, Gus better watch the wheels on his bus and not let Harvey Updyke near them. Ha. Because Harvey might poison the tires on the bus. Huh. Ha. Ha. Listen, if Tammy football transfer Updyke Cam Newton family cheatin Gus Auburn. I-Man.