It’s the off-season for college football, so you know what that means. Get your list maker ready. Prepare the power rankings. Create the hottest takes imaginable. That’s usually how it goes, anyway. Pro Football Focus unveiled their list for “Top Coaches turning programs around” via Seth Galina. A familiar face for Vols fans is on there, but it is not Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel.

Ole Miss HC Lane Kiffin makes an appearance on the list. Oddly enough, new Florida Gators HC Billy Napier does as well before he coaches a single game in Gainesville. Fellow SEC coaches Sam Pittman from Arkansas and Mark Stoops from Kentucky made the cut, too.

Heupel was left off of this list even though many would say that the Vols program seems to be on an upward trajectory. Could it really have transitioned to a downward trajectory since he got to Knoxville? Not likely.

Their recruiting is at the top of the SEC for 2023. They have some exciting pieces on both sides of the ball, especially QB Hendon Hooker and WR Cedric Tillman. Heupel and his staff have to find ways to put it all together, but things have been much worse over the past few seasons for the Vols.

The choice to put Napier over someone like Heupel is probably the oddest decision of the bunch. Kiffin is finding success at Ole Miss, especially through the transfer portal. Stoops and Pittman have both overachieved at their schools so far as well. You could say that for Heupel as well, though. His offense took strides last season, and the expectations are pretty high for the Vols this season and beyond.

Napier is a complete unknown so far. There is no way to know if he will turn that Florida program around or not. Heupel is performing well on the recruiting trail and on the field so far, to a degree at least. Considering what Jeremy Pruitt and co. left him, he probably deserved to be on this list over a few of the coaches selected.

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