What each SEC football coach has to be thankful for on Thanksgiving | Goodbread

Besides mom's roasted turkey and her decadent sides, we've all got plenty to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. For family and friends, for life and love – and if you're an SEC coach, who knows what else? So relax, take the day with your people, overeat, and enjoy a fun look at what each SEC coach has to be thankful for:

Kirby Smart, Georgia

Ladd McConkey. The junior wide receiver has absolutely energized the Bulldogs offense during the most critical stretch on Georgia's schedule. Usually, it's quarterbacks who make receivers look good. With McConkey, it's the other way around. And for Smart, he's irreplaceable.

Sam Pittman, Arkansas

A win over Florida. Due to a performance clause in his contract, Pittman's buyout ballooned by more than $5 million with the Razorbacks' win over the Gators. How? That victory assured him a .500-plus winning percentage since 2021, which mean's he's due 75% of his contract. Had he finished this season under .500 since 2021, he would've been owed just 50% if Arkansas let him go.

Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M (fired)


Nick Saban, Alabama

Georgia. Wait, Georgia? Yes, Georgia. The Crimson Tide has some climbing to do if it hopes to reach the College Football Playoff, and a win over rival Auburn this weekend isn't going to get it done. The Crimson Tide's playoff case needs a jolt of electricity, and the Bulldogs are the only remaining opponent that can provide it.

Clark Lea, Vanderbilt

Patience. Vanderbilt is now 2-19 in SEC play during Lea's tenure of nearly three seasons. He'd be a goner next week at any other school in the league, but instead he's at the one SEC institution that tolerates football losses like no other. He'll be back in '24, and probably '25, too, because Commodores football will never be a quick fix.

Mark Stoops, Kentucky

September. A cupcake of an early schedule is about all that's anchoring the Wildcats' season right now.

Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss

The winter coaching carousel. Auburn's vacancy last year allowed leverage for a Kiffin extension. Now there's an even bigger job open (at least salary-wise) at Texas A&M. And while extensions in back-to-back years might be unlikely, Kiffin's success at Ole Miss is going to drive up his long-term pay whether he leaves or stays.

Greg Knox, Mississippi State (interim)

The transfer portal. It's pretty much a start-over for MSU next season, and even if the Bulldogs move on from Knox after the season, he'll still likely be in the role when the portal opens in early December. An already-dismal offense will lose key players at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. The heart of the defensive front seven will depart, as well. Come to the Stark!

Brian Kelly, LSU

Jayden Daniels. What would Kelly's first two years at LSU look like without him? He's the primary reason the Tigers reached the SEC title game a year ago, and he's the only reason they're not downright average this season.

Billy Napier, Florida

Sunshine State recruiting. It’s a goldmine, even though his predecessors couldn’t tap into it the way Urban Meyer did. Napier, frankly, hasn’t yet either. And NIL makes home-state turf tougher to defend than it used to be. But at least the fight is in his backyard. Go ask Sam Pittman how important that is.

Josh Heupel, Tennessee

Those 2022 wins over Alabama and Florida. You don't think a trip to the Orange Bowl is what got him raised an extra $4 million a year, do you?

Eli Drinkwitz, Missouri

Politics. Missouri's state NIL bill is a how-to manual on keeping the NCAA's nose, and the SEC's, for that matter, out of the Tigers' NIL activities.

Hugh Freeze, Auburn

Bowl eligibility. Reasons for optimism come cheap on the Plains this year.

Shane Beamer, South Carolina

Tyler from Spartanburg isn't a Gamecocks fan from Columbia.

Reach Tuscaloosa News columnist Chase Goodbread at Follow on Twitter @chasegoodbread.

Tuscaloosa News sport columnist Chase Goodbread.
Tuscaloosa News sport columnist Chase Goodbread.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: What each SEC football coach has to be thankful for on Thanksgiving