Auburn football: Paul Finebaum believes Bryan Harsin won the offseason

Auburn football (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Auburn football (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) /

While Auburn football has yet to record a single victory on the field in 2021–losing on New Year’s Day in the Citrus Bowl to Northwestern while Fly War Eagle was on hand at Camping World Stadium–they have already won the offseason according to one of college football’s most notable media heads.

Paul Finebaum, aka someone who is not easily mistaken for an Auburn fan, said that the team’s new head coach has won them the offseason.

And who could disagree? Bryan Harsin has said and done all the right things to set an example through leadership and has even found unique ways to further the Iron Bowl rivalry with the reigning national champs up north.

Finebaum heaped praise on the former Boise State-turned-Tigers coach while slipping in some backhanded compliments (transcript via 247Sports):

"“You always hear the phrase, ‘you have to win the press conference,’ Finebaum said. “And that’s overrated because we all know the next day, it doesn’t matter. But Bryan Harsin has won the offseason. Even without having a great National Signing Day. He has done a really good job in interviews. I thought Saturday (to open practice) was the best move he’s made. He’s trying to create the family atmosphere for a guy that grew up nowhere near the family. And I think that’s really smart. I’ve interviewed him a couple of times. He’s not a guy that just blows you away with charisma."

Reading between the lines, Finebaum basically discredited the praise altogether by saying that none of the offseason bells and whistles matter by the time the next news cycle hit. Next, he knocked Harsin’s first National Signing Day on the Plains…one that did not allow the program to properly pitch its campus, facilities, and atmosphere after a rushed coaching search that eventually reached “drawn out” territory.

Finally, he flatly said Harsin wasn’t the most charismatic guy. When a large portion of your job is to speak to and motivate student-athletes, having someone basically say you lack charm (a dictionary synonym for charisma) is a fairly ominous sign.

That said, Finebaum does his best damage control by acknowledging a “quiet charm” about Harsin and also mentions that Auburn football fans believe in what he is doing:

"“But he’s got a quiet charm to him that I really like. The Auburn fans are all buying in. He’s also being helped by the fact that the expectations are just not that high. He can have a seven- or eight-win season and nobody other than (cohost Lance Taylor) is going to talk about him being on the hot seat.”"

…and then also slips in another shot at the Tigers; this time mentioning low expectations on the Plains and being content with seven or eight-win seasons.

Finebaum doesn’t believe in Auburn football, but Tiger fans do.

Unless Finebaum clones himself 87,451x and fills every seat at Jordan-Hare this fall, it won’t matter how much doubt he can possibly fit into one block of radio/television time. The Harsin era will charge along (not #ChargeOn, that’s Gus Malzahn’s new school, UCF) with vigor and optimism.

Next. Alabama and UCF both vying for Tigers target. dark