2020: New Head Coaches Poised To Lead 4 SEC Teams

February 19, 2020 by Dave Congrove

Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Missouri will all begin the 2020 season under a new head coach.

When Arkansas opens at home against Nevada on September 5th, Sam Pittman will be the 8th different head coach (interim or full time) to lead the Arkansas program in a football game over the first 20 years of the 21st century. The Hogs have won just 8 games total over the past three seasons behind Bret Bielema, Chad Morris and Barry Lunney, Jr.

Getting a win in the 2020 opener is not a guarantee for the Razorbacks, either, given that they lost at home to San Jose State last year and barely managed an opening week win over FCS member Portland State. After the Wolf Pack visit, Arkansas won't have another home game until Charleston Southern in week 5. In between, the Razorbacks will visit Notre Dame and Mississippi State, and take on Texas A&M in Arlington.

In Oxford, the Ole Miss faithful are eager to witness the beginning of the Lane Kiffin era. Not many ever questioned Kiffin's offensive football brilliance, but his leadership skills seemed to be sorely lacking as he sloshed his way through three consecutive head coaching jobs with the Oakland Raiders to the Tennessee Vols to the USC Trojans. Nick Saban helped him resurrect his career when he brought him onboard as his QB coach and OC in 2014. That eventually led to another head coaching opportunity and he spent the past three seasons guiding Florida Atlantic to a pair of Conference USA titles and bowl wins.

Kiffin will be the 6th head coach to take the field for Ole Miss in the 21st century when the Rebels open the season in Houston against Baylor in the AdvoCare Kickoff game. That will also be the first game for the Bears under new head coach Dave Aranda who spent last season with the national champion LSU Tigers.

Ole Miss will be at home the next two weeks, facing FCS member Southeast Missouri State before hosting Auburn in the SEC opener.

Mississippi State also landed a high-profile coach as Mike Leach bolted Washington State and the PAC-12 to try his high-octane offense out against SEC competition. Leach will be the 6th head coach in the 21st century to lead the Bulldogs onto the field when they get New Mexico - and new head coach Danny Gonzalez - at home on September 5. It's a relatively weak schedule throughout September for the Bulldogs who will then travel to N.C. State before returning home to face Arkansas (SEC opener) and Tulane.

Missouri's firing of Barry Odom was a bit of a surprise, given his ties to the school as a graduate (BS and Masters) and standout player. After a four-year stint produced pedestrian records of 25-25 over-all and 13-19 versus the SEC, Odom was replaced by one of the hottest stars in the galaxy - Eliah Drinkwitz. Just two years ago, Drinkiwtz was the QB coach and OC at N.C. State before acing his first head coaching gig last year by posting a 13-1 mark at Appalachian State.

The Drinkwitz era opens in Columbia with a trio of September home games and a single, not-so-difficult road trip. The Tigers host Central Arkansas on September 5th, Vanderbilt on the 12th and Eastern Michigan on the 26th. They visit South Carolina on the 19th.