The football coaches around the Southeastern Conference probably have a list of New Year’s resolutions. Lose some weight, land some five-star recruits, impress the boosters — you know, the usual stuff.
Well, here is a possible list of New Year’s wishes for the head coaches in college football’s toughest league (as for those at Texas A&M and Missouri, which will become official members later this year, here’s a wish that you are ready for the grind that is the SEC season; it’s a load, and it’s the perfect definition of the adage “Be careful what you wish for”):
Alabama coach Nick Saban: Some enjoyment. He has built the Cadillac of programs and still has the demeanor of a marathon runner with two in-grown toenails. And of course, we wish him as many Little Debbies as he wants.
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino: A fresh start. Petrino is making hay at Arkansas, but it still feels like his history of shiftiness overshadows that. Of course when you leave an NFL job by posting a note in the locker room, that tends to happen.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik: Good coordinator hires. Chizik won a national title 12 months ago and now he needs two quality hirings. Welcome to the “What have you done for us today” world of college football.
Florida coach Will Muschamp: Some points on the scoreboard. Wow, other than the uniforms, there was no way to recognize this version of the sluggish and offensively challenged Gators.
Georgia coach Mark Richt: Some respect from his fan base. Enough said.
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips: A quarterback. You can’t win in this league — or any league, for that matter — without a quarterback. Well, unless of course you devise a diabolical scheme to beat your rival for the first time since 1984 by using all of six plays with a wideout at quarterback. But that only works once every 300 years and it has to be when the opposing coach is wearing orange pants.
LSU coach Les Miles: Some lottery tickets. The way this guy’s luck is running right now, if tomorrow’s headline was “SEC coach wins $100 million PowerBall drawing,” isn’t your first guess going to be Les Miles?
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze: Some players. And plenty of time. And a voodoo hex to break the curse of the Rebel Black Bear.
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen: More cowbells.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier: For one more run to glory. The SEC is more fun when Spurrier is involved and when Spurrier’s team is good. Let’s have Alshon Jeffery come back for his senior year so the Gamecocks offense has balance. In a wide-open East, the Gamecocks will be among the favorites next year, but it feels that window may be closing (and we all know that 2012 is Marcus Lattimore’s last in college). So let the Ol’ Ball Coach have one more moment in the sun — and contend for an SEC title — before he heads off into the sunset.
Tennessee coach Derek Dooley: Wow, there’s so much he needs. A running game. Some quality assistant coaches. Some unity in the locker room. But our wish for Dooley — and for the UT football family — is clarity. Let Dooley and the Volunteers win 10 games next fall or let them win four. The wish here is that by the end of 2012, let’s have a sense for certain whether Dooley is the guy for UT, and let the fans embrace that choice and direction.
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin: A complete repeat of 2011. With the possible exception of the trip to Knoxville, there’s no way any Vandy fan could have expected anything more.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...