Auburn Tigers football. Tradition. Prestige. A whole lot of toilet paper.
The Tigers have compiled over 700 wins, three Heisman winners, seven perfect seasons, two national champions, 66 All-Americans and five #1 overall NFL Draft picks (tied for most with USC and Notre Dame). Over time, the Tigers are one of the top 15 winningest college football programs of all time. Auburn is a place that prides itself on success on the gridiron.
That’s why what has happened this season is unacceptable, especially what occurred on Saturday, October 27, 2012, at 6:07 p.m. C.T. Auburn played perhaps its worst football game ever, losing to #20 Texas A&M by a final score of 63-21.
The numbers were staggering. By halftime, Auburn was down 42-7. In that first half, Texas A&M outgained Auburn 464-91. The 63 points were the most ever scored against Auburn at Jordan-Hare. The 671 yards allowed was the most ever given up by an Auburn defense. The Tigers not only lost, but were demoralized to the point that every last Chizik defender was lost, even those who had defended Chizik earlier that same day.
Chizik’s tenure at Auburn hasn’t been a bad one. Heck, it should be looked upon as a success. The Tigers won the national title in 2010, and while Gus Malzahn and Cam Newton will get all the credit, Chizik was the head coach. He did a good job of holding the team together through hype and controversy.
However, Auburn can’t afford to keep Chizik any longer. His first two years that saw Auburn go 22-5 featured starting lineups full of Tommy Tuberville’s players. Chizik has done a very poor job of developing players. He’s lost control of the program. He’s lost the locker room. There have been off-field issues galore since he took over. Now the Tigers are losing, and have stumbled to a 1-7 record. One of the most disturbing things is that Auburn still has no 4th quarter touchdowns this year. The Tigers have been outscored 69-6 in the fourth quarter this season.
I could go on and on about Chizik’s shortcomings, but I’ll just cut to the chase: Chizik needs to go, whether it’s next week or after the inevitable Iron Bowl beatdown. He’s a good guy. But as a coach, he’s just not getting it done. Here are some names to watch out for in the coaching search:
Chris Petersen: 80-7 at Boise State. Wins over Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Oregon (twice), Georgia, BYU, Arizona State, Oregon State and TCU. Chris should definitely be on Auburn’s radar, and the Tigers certainly have the money to draw Petersen away from a place where winning a BCS title may never happen, no matter how good the team is.
Bobby Petrino: FACEPALMING COMMENCE. Petrino’s personality leaves a lot to be desired. Many Auburn fans would love this move. Many would hate it. Me? Well, at this point, I don’t know what to think. Maybe if Petrino can prove he’s changed his ways, at least a little bit, he’ll be more accepted at Auburn. The moral fiber of Auburn is a concern here, but then again, the guy is a good coach and he has seemed to be trying his hardest since his accident to fix what he’s done. He may be Auburn’s top target. He may not even be considered. But Auburn seems to be his dream job, so keep an eye out on this one.
Jimbo Fisher: The odds of this happening aren’t very good, but according to several sources in Auburn, Fisher will be targeted. He isn’t really paid that much by Florida State, so Auburn’s only hope of grabbing Jimbo is to present him huge numbers to return to the place he coached at for six seasons. His Seminoles have been one of the ACC’s best teams in recent years, and this season, an Orange Bowl berth is expected. Jimbo may not leave Florida State for Auburn. As a matter of fact, I really doubt he would. But Auburn may be willing to try anyways. Who else is on Auburn’s radar? Hard to say. But these three are perhaps the top three to keep and eye on.
Wallace gets his shot: Auburn finally named freshman Jonathan Wallace the starting QB. He’s clearly the most exciting, talented quarterback on the team, and he might be the QB of the future. Sure is a good thing Chizik waited until his team was 1-7 and his future at Auburn was sealed, isn’t it?
Danny Sheridan rides again: Sheridan told a Bama club that…. sorry, I couldn’t finish the sentence due to lack of caring. Sheridan has tried time and time again to throw mud at Auburn when there’s nothing there. What is Sheridan anyways? He’s a zombie look-alike who may or may not be a oddsmaker or non-oddsmaker. All we know is, he’s created one story about Auburn for every real Twitter follower he has…. which means he’s created about four stories.
Auburn plays Saturday…. Yay?: The Tigers finally face an opponent they can beat for their first win of the year. OK, I know Auburn is 1-7, but the one win over UL-Monroe wasn’t so much a win. It was more of a non-loss than a win. The Tigers face a New Mexico State team that is also 1-7. Jonathan Wallace is finally the starting QB, and New Mexico State has struggled on defense, so against my better judgment, I’ll take Auburn to win by double-digits.
Auburn Tigers 38, New Mexico State Aggies 20
Other SEC Predictions:
#1 Alabama 13, #5 LSU 6 (LSU could win this game, as it’s in Baton Rouge. But I can’t pick against Bama until I have a reason to.)
#16 Texas A&M 31, #15 Mississippi State 24 (Showdown of SEC Maroons goes to the Aggies in a thriller.)
#7 Florida 27, Missouri 10 (Gators will rebound from last week’s sloppy loss to the Georgia Bulldogs.)
#6 Georgia 35, Ole Miss 22 (Rebels put up a good fight but beating UGA in Sanford is too much for Hugh Freeze right now.)
Tennessee 49, Troy 35 (Troy stays close in typical Troy fashion. Derek Dooley might as well pack his bags now.)
Arkansas 37, Tulsa 31 (Tulsa will give the Hogs a big-time challenge but Arkansas should score enough to squeak by.)
Vanderbilt 24, Kentucky 6 (If the Wildcats are the Joker, the rest of the SEC is a combination of Batman and the Joker’s dad.)
Predictions for other notable games:
#4 Oregon 63, #17 USC 24 (A 39-point win at USC was unthinkable before the season. USC doesn’t stand a chance here, though.)
#2 Kansas State 35, #24 Oklahoma State 27 (Big 12 showdown is close, but Optimus Klein can’t lose.)
#3 Notre Dame 24, Pittsburgh 7 (Pitt can win this game… if you count losing as winning by negative points.)
#18 Texas Tech 52, #23 Texas 21 (How is Texas even ranked? Tuberville’s team should steamroll an awful Longhorn team.)
#21 West Virginia 38, TCU 35 (Remember when WVU was a national title contender? Yeah, that was fun.)
UCLA 28, #22 Arizona 24 (Bruins can take control of the Pac-12 South win a win here and a win over USC.)
Upset Special: Michigan State 24, #20 Nebraska 17 (How big of a mess is the Big Ten? Indiana can still technically win their division. It’s November.)
Well, Gene Chizik, it was nice while it lasted. We’ll remember your personality fondly. But it’s time for you and Auburn to go your seperate ways.