On3.com, a national college football media outlet, recently ranked all 14 SEC head coaches and it appears they don’t think very highly of Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel.
Heupel ranks No. 9 in their rankings, just behind Mississippi State’s Mike Leach and just ahead of South Carolina’s Shane Beamer.
After both teams went 7-6 in their inaugural seasons in the SEC, you could flip a coin between Heupel or Beamer. However, I gave Heupel my slight nod since he beat Beamer head-up in 2021. He also has two double-digit win seasons at UCF. The former Oklahoma quarterback has brought modern football to the table. ‘Run ’N Shoot’ back to the SEC, and Tennessee broke all sorts of offensive records in Year 1. If Heupel can keep displaying a recruiting prowess which he never displayed in Orlando, then the Vols should be optimistic about their future.
I expected Heupel to be ranked slightly higher than No. 9, though I can somewhat understand why he’s that far down on the list.
If I’m being objective, then it’s easy to see why guys like Mark Stoops, Lane Kiffin, and even Sam Pittman are ranked higher than the Vols’ head coach. They have more SEC experience and they’ve all had seasons better than Tennessee’s 7-6 year under Heupel last season.
There’s an argument to be made for putting Heupel ahead of Leach, but I get that he has considerably more head coaching experience than Heupel.
Heupel is off to a great start at Tennessee — no one expected the Vols to go 7-6 last year in the aftermath of the disastrous Jeremy Pruitt era.
Heupel has a lot of work ahead of him. If Tennessee continues to progress under Heupel, then he’ll rocket up lists like this one from On3.com.
Though I’m guessing Heupel doesn’t really care where he’s ranked. He cares only about Saturday’s results. Fans might not be concerned, but they should. The better the reputation of the head coach in the national media, the more it will benefit UT recruiting.
Featured Image via Christopher Hanewinckel USA TODAY Sports