Charles Barkley sends depressingly doubtful message on Auburn football

Former Auburn basketball player Charles Barkley and Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl take the
Former Auburn basketball player Charles Barkley and Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl take the / Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK

Charles Barkley sent a depressingly doubtful message on the Auburn football program during the Iron Bowl of Basketball matchup at the Neville Arena between the Tigers and Tide on February 7: AU will never be what Alabama is. And Nick Saban is the greatest college football coach ever.

"(Nick Saban) is the greatest college football coach ever," Barkley said as he joined the ESPN2 broadcast (h/t OutKick). "I'm probably going to get in trouble for saying this: we are like the stepchild. We aren't ever going to be Alabama."

With Saban retiring in the offseason and Kalen DeBoer, a head coach lacking experience recruiting in the south, replacing him, there's never been a better time for Auburn to surpass Alabama. Even if the Tide did land the No. 2 2024 recruiting class.

Charles Barkley sang different tune about Bruce Pearl's Tigers than bearish Auburn football opinion

Barkley was at least hopeful about Bruce Pearl's Tigers, commenting on the physical advantages Auburn had over Nate Oats' Alabama squad in classic Chuck fashion.

"Alabama's got all these little skinny dudes out there," Barkley prefaced before saying, "When I was looking at the game early, I said, ‘Man, this would be like for me, if I saw all these little skinny dudes, this will be like barbecue chicken.'

"Coach (Nate) Oats does a fantastic job. But I said (before the game), ‘Broome should have a big night because Alabama's guards are terrific, but they have no size inside.'"

Barkley was a proponent of hiring Deion Sanders during the latest hiring cycle and repeatedly spoke well of Bryan Harsin, but he has assured Tiger fans he is all in on Hugh Freeze. Still, there's no doubt that Pearl is near or at the top of Barkley's list of his favorite coaches on the Plains.