Harris Pastides’ unbridled optimism aside, which of the two Saban disciples now manning head coaching positions in the SEC East has been dealt a better hand to play next season?
SBNation’s Bud Elliott thinks it’s Kirby Smart, based on two factors.
- Recruiting. Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart steps into a great situation as Georgia’s head coach as the Bulldogs have signed 51 four- and five-star prospects in the last four cycles (51 percent of total signees), which is the best in the division. Florida and Tennessee are the next closest in the East, then there is a big dropoff to Will Muschamp’s South Carolina Gamecocks and Barry Odom’s Missouri Tigers.
- Schedule. While Georgia plays annual games against similar or worse recruiters in Auburn, another SEC West team and Georgia Tech, the Gamecocks must annually face two other teams that out-recruit them: Clemson and Texas A&M. Plus, whatever SEC West team South Carolina draws is also likely to have more talent than the Gamecocks.
Based on that, he thinks Kirby can improve on Richt’s average win total. That would be nice. As for Boom… well, “Luckily for Muschamp, South Carolina has no reason to have high expectations as it is has no real history of success other than a few recent years.” Tell that to Pastides.