SEC coach hot seat odds: Vols' Butch Jones, Aggies' Kevin Sumlin top the list
Odds were issued for the first SEC coach to be fired this season, and it does not look good
Three games into the season, the seats for some coaches has already gone from "hot" to "scorching."
Knoxville, Tennessee, is home to the hottest chairs in the planet.
According to BetOnline.ag, Tennessee coach Butch Jones is not the front-runner to be the first coach in the SEC fired in the 2017 season, ahead of Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin. Ole Miss interim coach Matt Luke is not listed in the odds.
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It's clear that oddsmakers expect Jones and Sumlin to both be fired, and Tennessee seems to be the more volatile of the two programs. Jones has surpassed Sumlin due in large part to the rather listless performance in The Swamp in which Jones seemingly forgot that running back John Kelly was running like a man possessed when the Vols got inside the 10-yard line.
But it's interesting that both Jones and Sumlin have actually become less likely to be fired since opening odds were released last month. How does that make sense, especially after Jones' follies and Sumlin blowing a 34-point lead in 18 minutes against UCLA?
So why Jones before Sumlin as of now? The bye week might have something to do with it.
If both programs have itchy trigger fingers, hitting the reset button when the eventual interim coach has time to prepare would be wise. Tennessee's bye week is scheduled for Oct. 7 after a rivalry game at home vs. Georgia. If the Vols lose to two of their bigger rivals during the first month of the season -- the latter of which being at home -- that might spell disaster for Jones.
Texas A&M's bye week comes two weeks later, on Oct. 21 after a road trip to Florida. Sumlin has a gauntlet leading up to that point, with games vs. Arkansas, South Carolina and Alabama prior to facing the Gators. That will be more than enough time for the Aggie administration to judge where the program -- which currently is 2-1 following wins over Nicholls State and Louisiana-Lafayette -- sits heading into the stretch run.
Barry Odom should also be very concerned at Missouri. The second-year coach of the Tigers has skyrocketed up the odds board after back-to-back losses to South Carolina and Purude -- both at home. That coupled with the inept defensive performance in the lone win over FCS Missouri State, the dismissal of defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross and realization that the Tigers are no longer a threat in a down SEC East, has Odom on shaky ground.
The exact opposite of Odom is Vanderbilt's Derek Mason. The fourth-year coach of the Commodores started tied with Odom and is now is firmly entrenched as one of the most stable coaches in the conference. The only two on more stable ground are Alabama's Nick Saban and second-year Georgia coach Kirby Smart.
He deserves it, too.
Vanderbilt is 3-0, has allowed just 13 points all year despite playing two pretty decent teams in Kansas State and Middle Tennessee, and has developed a passing game under quarterback Kyle Shurmur to complement running back Ralph Webb. What's more, Mason is playing a real life meaningful football game this weekend vs. Saban and No. 1 Alabama in Nashville.
When was the last time that happened for the 'Dores? Not since the James Franklin era.
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