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SEC Coaching Rankings: No. 12 Jim McElwain

With the SEC season less than four months away, here’s a look at how the conference’s coaches rank in 2015.

Bio: Jim McElwain was hired by Florida after a disappointing end to the Will Muschamp era. He is coming off his first head coaching tenure at Colorado State. McElwain led the Rams to a 22-16 (14-10 MWC) record which included back-to-back bowl appearances.

He also has SEC experience having served as Alabama’s offensive coordinator from 2008-11. During that span, Alabama won two BCS National Championships and had its first Heisman Trophy winner in Mark Ingram.

Eastern Washington (QB/WR)
Montana State (OC/WR/ST)
Louisville (WR/ST)
Michigan State (AHC/WR/ST)
Oakland Raiders (QB)
Fresno State (OC/QB)
Alabama (OC/QB)
Colorado State

Reasoning for ranking: McElwain has head coaching success but the Mountain West Conference is a far cry from the SEC. Still, he garners optimism as a potential savior to an ailing Florida program, much like Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops — the only coaches to rank lower — in their debut seasons.

Florida’s biggest flaw under Muschamp was its lack of offensive production. The Gators should see steady progress with McElwain once he recruits players who best fit his scheme. However, the jump from a small conference to the SEC could be a difficult hurdle in his first season.

2015 Schedule: 

Sat, Sep 5 New Mexico State
Gainesville, FL
Sat, Sep 12 East Carolina
Gainesville, FL
Sat, Sep 19 at Kentucky *
Lexington, Ky.
Sat, Sep 26 Tennessee *
Gainesville, FL
Sat, Oct 3 Ole Miss *
Gainesville, FL
Sat, Oct 10 at Missouri *
Columbia, Mo.
Sat, Oct 17 at LSU *
Baton Rouge, La.
Sat, Oct 31 vs. Georgia *
Jacksonville, Fla.
Sat, Nov 7 Vanderbilt (Homecoming) *
Gainesville, FL
Sat, Nov 14 at South Carolina *
Columbia, S.C.
Sat, Nov 21 Florida Atlantic (Saluting Those Who Serve)
Gainesville, FL
Sat, Nov 28 Florida State (Senior Day)
Gainesville, FL

2015 Outlook: Florida had a disappointing season, but that’s by its own standards. The Gators still managed to finish with a winning record and earn a victory in the Birmingham Bowl against East Carolina.

McElwain could be the missing piece that boosts Florida in an open SEC East. However, the Gators lack the personnel to make an immediate turnaround and face a difficult schedule in 2015.

Florida is capable of exceeding expectations with several toss-up matchups, but is likely to be somewhere around 6-6 in McElwain’s debut.

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