Truly the natives in (very) Rocky Top today are ready for a (coaching) change. One ironic thing about this weekend's Tennessee-Georgia game is both fan bases can look at that game, from their respective sides, and say "How about them Dogs". About the only thing that Tennessee can take comfort in is that their upcoming game with LSU now looks winnable. Phil Fulmer is most likely smiling wondering what do you think about me now.
To say that the wheels have come off on Rocky Top is a fair assessment and frankly I don't know if Butch Jones, having been there already 5 years and playing with his recruits, can get things turned around fast enough to keep his job. I'd be really surprised if the AD at Tennessee or some of the folks at the University haven't already assembled some kind of a short list of folks and may be contacting them over the coming days/weeks. I'd say Chip Kelly might be high on that short list also and possibly Tommy Tuberville and I've also heard that Jon Gruden at one time was considered by some to be a potential candidate. The only question I believe there is now among the fans, alumni, and school leadership is will Butch Jones last through the end of the year or not.
LSU fans are most likely thinking "at least with Les Miles we won all the ones except Alabama". Losing to Troy at home though has to have people wondering if they made the right coaching decision. At least on Ed's side is that he is intensely liked by his players and most of the fan base but if LSU continues losing games like they have in the last few weeks then his likeability may have an expiration date.
Alabama has made it very difficult on SEC Coaches and other SEC teams. Certain fan bases have come to expect to compete for National Championships year after year or at least be in the short list running for National Championship contention. Of those whose fan bases maintain those expectations are Tennessee, Georgia, Florida in the East and LSU, Auburn and Alabama in the West. Of those fan bases it's interesting that two of them have hired Nick Saban former assistants. It looks like this year that Auburn and Georgia are going to be the teams that are best suited to challenge Alabama for that right.
Of all the SEC teams the team, at least to me, that appears improving the most is Georgia in the East and Auburn in the West. Alabama is Alabama and remaining consistent with still some questions on both offense and defense but overall still ahead of the rest. My concern, as a fan though, is their defense this year, although very good, isn't as great as it has been over the last two seasons (my own assessment) and with several key injuries so far into the year will be Alabama's greatest challenge going forward. Right now though it appears that if Alabama is going to be beat then it's going to be Alabama that will have to do it at least up until they face Auburn in the Iron Bowl and then Auburn, if they continue on their course, should be a real challenge to their dominance.
At this point I think the final four that will compete for a National Championship will be Clemson, (Alabama or Georgia), Oklahoma, and Penn State. TSU, Ohio State, Michigan and possibly Auburn of course could also easily throw a wrench in that calculation. If I had to bet though I'd predict 1)Alabama 2)Clemson 3)Oklahoma 4)Penn State and a rematch between Clemson and Alabama for the National Championship. But seeing I'm certainly no expert, my opinion is just that, an opinion and a bit biased I might add.