SEC Coaching has passed Coach Fulmer by
I believe there's another possible explanation for the slide in Tennessee's won-loss record over the past ten years. It's not that Coach Fulmer is getting worse: it's that the talent -- specifically the coaching talent -- in the SEC is getting much better.
Coach Fulmer fared much better against SEC competition when Coach Spurrier was his only nemesis. With the addition of Mark Richt, Les Miles, Nick Saban, and Urban Meyer, the water in the SEC talent pool has gotten much deeper.
Like many SEC fans, I was horrified when Alabama agreed to part with so much money for Coach Saban. Looking at Alabama's performance this year, I'm forced to concede that Saban may actually be worth the money.
I think Phil Fulmer is an honorable man. I also think he was a terrific coach -- in the 1990s. Given the math of the last ten seasons, I have been forced to conclude that the retooling of the coaching talent -- which in large part was forced on SEC schools by Coach Fulmer -- has elevated the upper tier schools beyond Coach Fulmer's capacity to compete.
Because of everything he's done for Tennessee, I hate to see him publicly humiliated. But I think it's time for him to go.