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UGA, Ole Miss Holding SEC Football Hot Seat Elimination Game

Even in a sport governed by junk math defended with North Korean diplomacy, the "metrics" ranking coaches on the hot seat stink. CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd issued his calculations this week, using a 1-5 scale ('5' being Mike Locksley, even though he's only a 4.5 per Dodd, he's still somehow a 5). Dodd gave Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt a 3.0, placing him "on the bubble" with fellow SEC coaches Derek Dooley (3.0 - even after a bowl bid his debut season) and conference leading lame duck Mark Richt (3.5). 

Dodd's numbers roughly match Tom Dienhart, a recent ESPN fan poll and the tiffany outlet of coaching hot seats, (naturally). Toss out Dooley - short of a cataclysm, UT's trigger finger should be good and sprained - and that makes the September 28 Georgia-Ole Miss game in Oxford something of a certain omen for one of these coaches.... maybe.

Before we get to debunking, let's sell the drama: If the Rebels can scrape together a 2-1 record against BYU, Southern Illinois and Vanderbilt, an upset of the Dawgs would position Nutt for a low-tier bowl bid, which in Oxford buys him this season and next. He'd be officially safe for the near future. Moreover, if the Rebels could enter the Georgia game at 3-0, its outcome wouldn't solely affect his job security either way (Again: in Oxford, six wins buys you two years).

Pity Richt: Entering the 2011 with protracted heat from fans and boosters, there's really no scenario in which Georgia, fresh from the Colorado and UFC debacles, loses to a lesser SEC team like Ole Miss and Richt survives the year, unless he handily wins the last eight games. In fact, if the Rebels were to beat a Georgia team that's lost to either Boise or South Carolina at that point, the clamor will be so deafening he might not even get the chance. 

Sound spicy? Great. Too bad it's unlikely, at least for one coach: Nutt's buyout is a whopping $6 million, a crippling figure for Ole Miss' budget and a source of much fan outrage when it was uncovered in May. And even with a 4-8 campaign last season, Nutt's still 22-16 in Oxford with two Cotton Bowl wins and he's 2-1 versus LSU. Ed Orgeron is a punchline in 49.5 states but still a puss-filled scab around Yoknapatawpha. 

As for Richt, the fake math of hot seat rankings might be dead right. Boise's a nationally ranked BCS bowl contender. South Carolina is the defending division champion. If UGA team leaves Oxford at 1-3, it's hard to think Richt's tenure won't be dumped in a courtesy locker at the Tupelo airport.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.