Where did it go wrong for Gene Chizik? (Plus Week 12 Picks)


To say the Gene Chizik era at Auburn has been weird would be to state an absolute understatement. Gene Chizik successfully took a 5-7 team, turned them into a 14-0 team, then turned them back into a losing team. He was laughed at upon his hiring, then he got his turn to laugh as he raised a national championship trophy. These days, there’s nobody laughing about anything.

Even most Alabama fans don’t laugh because Auburn’s football program has reached a depressing level of ineptness. It’s gotten that bad.

Where did it go so wrong for a coach who’s been on the staff of three national championship teams? There’s multiple reasons why Chizik’s on his way out as Auburn’s coach… we assume…

1. Is he too nice?

Nobody’s ever accused Gene Chizik of being a bad person. He’s a good guy. But one must wonder if his niceness affects how he treats his players. Michael Dyer had multiple issues before being booted from the team. There’s other cases of these types of incidents under Gene Chizik. His niceness might also affect his control of the program. Is he too nice to have total control over the team? There’s no proof that this is a reason why Auburn is so bad, but it’s a realistic possibility.

2. He might have gotten lazy after his bonus.

He did a good job of keeping the team glued together through controversy in 2010. He led the team to a national title. He was then given a new contract by Jay Jacobs, a decision that might cost Jacobs his career. Since then, he has been terrible at building team chemistry. The defenses have been awful, the special teams have been inconsistent, the offense has had plenty of issues…. it just seems that Auburn hasn’t played as a complete team since beating Oregon for the BCS title. Some signs point to some pure laziness by Chizik.

3. He has some real problems when it comes to recruiting.

He’s had very highly-touted recruiting classes every year, so why is this team going 2-8? Why does it look like there’s no talent on the field? Some of Chizik’s recruits were badly misevaluated. Zeke Pike, Mike Dyer, the four players involved in the armed robbery… Chizik’s done a poor job of evaluating recruits since the first day he took the job.

4. He’s terrible at developing talent.

There have been plenty of Chizik recruits that have stayed out of trouble, but they’ve been very ineffective on the field. Why? They’re not being coached. There’s natural talent on both sides of the ball, and yet this year features both Auburn’s worst offense in modern history and Auburn’s worst defense, not just in modern history, but of all-time. That’s all coaching.

5. Perhaps he might not been that good of a coach.

Perhaps there’s a reason he went 5-19 at Iowa State. Chizik went 22-5 when he had a roster full of Tuberville’s players. But now that he has his own players in his schemes, the team is failing badly. He won a national title with the nation’s best offensive coordinator, an offensive line recruited by Tuberville, an All-American defensive lineman recruited by Tuberville and a Heisman winner. All Chizik had to do that year was hold the team together in the face of controversy, and he did that wonderfully. But for a defensive-minded coach, that team had the worst back seven of any team to win a BCS National Championship. Since winning the title, Auburn has gone 10-13. Outside of 2010, Auburn’s record against SEC rivals is frustating. How frustrating? How about 0-12 against Alabama, LSU, Arkansas and Georgia?

We love you as a person, Gene, but as a coach… let’s face it, you’re not a good head coach. At all.

Auburn-Alabama A&M prediction: If Auburn wins, it might be the last time fans get to roll the old oaks at Toomer’s Corner after a home football win. They’re entering their final days. Likewise, the Gene Chizik era will likely be entering its final days. This game should be Chizik’s last game at Jordan-Hare Stadium as Auburn’s head coach. As a coach who did bring a national title to Auburn, it will be nice to see him, along with seniors like Onterio McCalebb, Daren Bates and Emory Blake, go out with a win.

Auburn 35, Alabama A&M 16

 Other SEC predictions:

#7 LSU 34, Ole Miss 24 (Rebels will put up a fight, but LSU’s not going to lose this game, especially at home.)

#4 Alabama 56, Western Carolina 0 (Get used to these types of scores. It’s “SEC Cupcake Day.”)

#6 Florida 31, Jacksonville State 7 (Florida might gain over 300 yards in this game!!!)

#5 Georgia 45, Georgia Southern 17 (UGA is pretty much on cruise control until they face Alabama in Atlanta.)

#8 Texas A&M 56, Sam Houston State 27 (Sam Houston State is #3 in the FCS. Good luck stopping Johnny Football, guys.)

#9 South Carolina 45, Wofford 0 (I didn’t know Wofford had more than a basketball team.)

Mississippi State 38, Arkansas 31 (Arkansas will scare the Bulldogs but MSU wins in the final minute.)

Missouri 33, Syracuse 27 (Mizzou reaches bowl eligibility with this win.)

Vanderbilt 38, Tennessee 24 (Let me list you the positives of Derek Dooley: 1. Uhhh……. I have nothing.)

Kentucky 24, Samford 17 (This game is to football what Nickelback is to rock music.)

Predictions for other notable games:

#2 Oregon 44, #13 Stanford 31 (Cardinal puts up a fight, but Oregon’s pretty much unbeatable right now.)

#1 Kansas State 59, Baylor 27 (Baylor’s defense is worst in the country by 30 yards. That’s impressive.)

#3 Notre Dame 34, Wake Forest 6 (I’ll probably be wrong and Notre Dame will need four overtimes to win.)

#12 Oklahoma 55, West Virginia 34 (This would be WVU’s fifth-straight loss. Geno Smith for Heisman!)

#24 Oklahoma State 37, #23 Texas Tech 34 (This Big 12 shootout goes the way of the home team, the Pokes.)

Upset Special: #17 UCLA 48, #18 USC 38 (UCLA ends the football monopoly in L.A., advances to the Pac-12 title game.)

Tags: Auburn Football