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Coaching status report: SEC

The final installment of the FootballScoop Status Report series hits the biggest conference in college football, both in terms of roster and stature: the SEC. What starts here has ripple effects across the rest of the sport, especially in years where there's a lot of action. And this is going to be one of those years.

Previous reports: American, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Pac-12 and Sun Belt

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Before we get going, remember that Florida and Ole Miss are already open.

Movin' On Up?

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Tenure: 67-44, 32-37 SEC
This year: 6-2, 3-2 SEC

This one isn't complicated. Florida has an opening. Mullen previously coached at Florida. Florida's AD was at Mississippi State until last year. Florida hasn't had a decent offense since 2009; Mullen has made his career by developing guys like Alex Smith, Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald. None of this guarantees Mullen will leave for Gainesville or any other opening, of course, but you can't dismiss it out of hand.

Movin' On Out?

Butch Jones, Tennessee
Tenure: 33-26, 14-23 SEC
This year: 3-5, 0-5 SEC

Frankly, it's surprising to most that Tennessee has not joined the Gators and the Rebels already. The relationship has devolved to the point where even if the Vols win out and finish 7-5 the relationship between Jones and the Tennessee fan base can not be salvaged. AD John Currie has remained consistent in his message thus far with Jones; but all bets are off once the season is over.

Bret Bielema, Arkansas
Tenure: 28-31, 11-26 SEC
This year: 3-5, 1-4 SEC

Bielema inherited a mess, on and off the field. He's done an admirable job of cleaning up the off-the-field part -- and buying in whole hog (pun absolutely intended) to the Arkansas culture -- but on the field? It's hard to spin your way out of an 11-26 conference record.

On Watch

Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
Tenure: 49-24, 24-21 SEC
This year: 5-3, 3-2 SEC

I can't think of a coach on a more public hot seat than Sumlin, dating back to before last Signing Day. It seemed like he was in line to out-smart the posse before last week's no-show 35-14 loss to Mississippi State at Kyle Field. The Aggies close with Auburn at home on Saturday and a visit to LSU, whom Sumlin has yet to beat in five tries. Assuming wins over New Mexico and Ole Miss, winning both games against the Tigers would put him at 9-3 and quite potentially safe. Losing both would find him at 7-5 with the sharks closing in. But a split? That would get very interesting.

Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Tenure: 41-20, 22-15 SEC
This year: 6-2, 4-1 SEC

Every Auburn coach is on the hot seat at pretty much all times, and Malzahn is an especially interesting spot. Auburn is 1-2 against equally talented teams thus far, losing a respectable 14-6 decision at Clemson, blowing out Mississippi State 49-10, then blowing a huge lead in a 27-23 loss at LSU. Now without No. 2 runner Kamryn Pettway, Auburn will visit Texas A&M on Saturday, then close with No. 2 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama (with a breather against Louisiana-Monroe in between) at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn could still win the SEC and elbow its way to the front of the College Football Playoff. Or it could be 7-5. Giddy up.

Could Really Use a Strong Finish

Barry Odom, Missouri
Tenure: 7-13, 2-10 SEC
This year: 3-5, 0-4 SEC

What a season of dichotomies it's been in Columbia. Mizzou's three wins have come against Missouri State, Idaho and UConn; the Tigers scored an average of 64 points in those wins. In their five losses? 18.4 points a game. Missouri gets Florida and Tennessee at Faurot Field over the next two weeks, then closes at Vanderbilt and Arkansas. A 7-5 record is equally as plausible as a 3-9 mark. One should reserve judgment until then. Additionally, the University of Missouri is going through a tremendous upheaval at the moment. Having a head coach who for whom it means something to be the head coach at Mizzou -- Odom has been a Tiger player, GA, support staffer, position coach and coordinator before landing the head job -- should count for something in a time such as this.

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
Tenure: 16-29, 5-24 SEC
This year: 3-5, 0-5 SEC

Mason took Vanderbilt to the Independence Bowl last year and started 3-0 this year -- at one point cobbling together a 7-3 stretch that included wins over Georgia and Tennessee -- but the 'Dores have fallen off a cliff since then. Vanderbilt is 13th in the SEC in scoring during conference play and dead last in scoring defense, a gap that creates the average score of 47-20 in the wrong direction. Mason is a good coach who represents the university with class, but 5-24 is 5-24.

And there you have it: Half the conference mentioned, and that's with two jobs already open.

Buckle up, everybody.