Something remarkable has happened. An Alabama newspaper’s Web site conducted a poll in which readers graded the SEC’s football coaches … and Nick Saban didn’t come in first. Not only that, but Auburn’s Gene Chizik came in next to last.
Ah, the wonders of the Internet, which knows no state borders.
The Birmingham News says more than 6,400 fan ballots were cast online in its 2009 SEC Coaches Power Poll. Readers were asked to grade each of the 12 coaches on a scale of one to five stars (as is done with recruits), with five being the best. Florida’s Urban Meyer came out on top with a rating of 4.61 stars, followed by Saban (4.56) and Georgia’s Mark Richt (3.93).
Saban was given five stars on 80.3 percent of the ballots, while Meyer was rated five stars by 74.5 percent, but Meyer finished with a higher average, the News said, because he got more four-star votes and Saban got more one-star votes.
In fourth place, not far behind Richt, was South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier (3.81 stars), followed by Ole Miss’ Houston Nutt (3.52), LSU’s Les Miles (3.28), Vanderbilt’s Bobby Johnson (3.18), Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino (3.17), Kentucky’s Rich Brooks (2.94), Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen (2.19), Auburn’s Chizik (2.07) and in last place, the clown prince of conference coaches, Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin (1.63).
While on the subject of the SEC, which begins its annual football media fest today in Hoover, Ala., here’s a little more information from the conference on the SEC Network package being syndicated to local TV stations: The network’s SEC football Game of the Week will be televised for 13 consecutive Saturdays, beginning Sept. 5. Those telecasts will begin at noon Eastern with a live SEC studio show, followed by the game, with the teams generally determined 12 to six days in advance. The new kickoff time will be 12:21 p.m. Eastern.
The regular-season SEC men’s basketball package on the SEC Network beginning in January will consist of Wednesday and Saturday games, including doubleheaders. The SEC Network will also offer regional coverage of multiple rounds from the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament as well as SEC women’s basketball games on Sundays, also beginning in January.
And while it’s primarily a regional network, affiliates have signed or are expected to sign in non-SEC markets, too, including Phoenix; Chicago; Indianapolis; Wichita, Kan.; Detroit; New York; Charlotte; Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio; Oklahoma City; Pittsburgh; Dallas-Fort Worth; Houston and San Antonio, Texas; Norfolk, Va.; and Charleston. W.Va., though some of those will be for football only.