Derek Dooley has had back-to-back losing seasons at Tennessee, so it's safe to assume his job isn't as secure as Alabama's Nick Saban. It's also a safe assumption that his job security will be a popular theme when he takes his turn on the dais at SEC Football Media Days this week in Hoover, Ala.
But themes can change abruptly in a league as demanding as this one. And other coaches could be feeling more pressure than Dooley by the end of the season.
Take Kentucky coach Joker Phillips, for example. Take Florida's Will Muschamp, for another example.
Phillips has lost seven games in each of his first two seasons. That would have been worthy of a raise at Kentucky seven years ago but not after his predecessor raised the standard for judging Kentucky football.
Rich Brooks posted two eight-win seasons and took the Wildcats to bowl games in each of his last four seasons. When he retired, he left the program with higher hopes and expectations.
Never mind that Phillips has produced one glorious Saturday, ending Kentucky's 26-game losing streak against UT last November. He hasn't lived up to the expectations his former boss left behind.
And it's hard to be optimistic about the immediate future. Six of the offensive starters will be either freshmen or sophomores; the defense returns only five starters.
Not only is Kentucky 4-12 in the SEC under Phillips. Louisville now has the upper hand in the in-state rivalry.
Phillips might need to beat UT again to keep his job.
Muschamp also would be advised to continue Florida's winning streak against the Vols in his second season as a head coach. A victory over UT was as good as it got for the Gators in 2011 when they went 7-6. They lost to rivals Georgia and Florida State, and suffered defeats against LSU and Alabama by a combined 79-21 count.
The Gators return 18 starters. But they haven't decided on a starting quarterback, don't have a proven SEC-caliber running back and cry out for playmakers at wide receiver.
One other thing: athletic
director Jeremy Foley doesn't hesitate to correct mistakes. He fired Ron Zook before the end of his third season, and Zook never lost more than five games.
If you're looking for a dark horse hot-seat candidate, how about LSU coach Les Miles?
Don't bother asking, "How can anyone question Miles' job security after his team went 13-1 and played for the national championship?"
Just re-watch LSU's 21-0 loss to Alabama in the national championship game or talk to any LSU fan about Miles' decision to leave quarterback Jarrett Lee on the bench while Jordan Jefferson was forever endearing himself to Alabama fans in the Superdome.
Miles' 2012 team is talented enough to win every game. But if it fails to play up to its extremely high expectations or suffers another embarrassment of Alabama proportions, his job could be in jeopardy.
John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or email@example.com.