Which SEC coach has the toughest job in 2015?

This week’s edition of The Student Section college football roundtable is all about the SEC. TSS Associate Editors Bart Doan and Terry Johnson join staff writer Kevin Causey and special rotating guests in our weekly roundtable discussing all things college football.

To talk about SEC football as we are joined by Senator Blutarsky of Get The Picture.

Question: Which coach in the SEC has the toughest job this season?

Senator Blutarsky
On Twitter @MummePoll

The lazy answer is Derek Mason at Vanderbilt. Not only is he coaching at what has been the weakest program in the conference for decades, he’s following in the footsteps of a coach in James Franklin who managed to beat the odds and elevate the program during his term there.

Of course, just because an answer is lazy doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

Bart Doan:
On Twitter @TheCoachBart

The answer is always Vanderbilt, every year, no matter what, but because Vanderbilt is low hanging fruit in this case and is basically “going to a steak house and ordering chicken fingers” off the menu, we won’t choose them. They have inherent disadvantages. This year, the challenge falls on Hugh Freeze and staff in Oxford.

Ole Miss is coming off of a breakthrough 2014 where it lingered around the top of the polls all season. Expectations won’t let up because that’s not how it works. The problem is, the schedule is morbidly brutal and then you toss in the fact that the SEC West looks like one of those rooms in a fake haunted house where the monsters keep belting you with giant sacks of fake bloody meat. At Mississippi State. At Alabama. At Auburn. At Florida. Not that it necessarily is supposed to be easy, but when you look at some of the losses the team sustained and then factor in that schedule, you’re looking at the intersection of “expectations” and “schedule” and basically there’s a troll under the bridge at said intersection.

Kevin Causey:
On Twitter @CFBZ

I think the coach that has the most difficult job in the SEC this season is none other than Steve Spurrier. From 2011 to 2013, the Gamecocks went 33-6 overall and 18-6 in the SEC. He set the bar pretty high for the Gamecocks during that stretch.

Then they went 7-6 overall and 3-5 in the SEC in 2014. There are questions about Spurrier’s age and whether or not he’s in it for the long haul. Spurrier is holding press conferences with the express purpose of ripping on sports writers. Spurrier is in the spotlight. Some of it is his own doing but he’s definitely put himself into a place where his team needs to come out firing on all cylinders after their sub-par 2014.

The SEC East is wide open but after last year, can Spurrier right the ship or is he going to sail off into the sunset. 2015 will let us know the answer to that question.

Terry Johnson:
On Twitter @SectionTPJ

Even though I agree with Mr. Blutarsky about Vanderbilt, I think there’s actually a tougher coaching assignment in the SEC this fall.

That dubious distinction falls to Jim McElwain of Florida.

Let’s be honest: as someone who’s regarded as one of the top offensive minds in college football, many Gator fans are expecting McElwain to turn the offense around this season. That’s going to be a very difficult task. The offense was absolutely awful under Muschamp’s watch, ranking 105, 104, 115, and 96 nationally in yards per game over the last four years. Every effort to shake things up – whether it was a different coordinator, quarterback, or philosophy – seemed to fail miserably.

Things won’t get any easier this fall. Florida needs to find seven new starters on offense, including four on the line. While that’s not an impossible task, it’s certainly not an easy one.