Paul Finebaum sets high stakes for Hugh Freeze and Auburn football

Analyst Paul Finebaum believes the expectations are high this season for head coach Hugh Freeze and the Auburn football program.

Auburn Tigers head coach Hugh Freeze greets young fans during the Tiger Walk before the AU vs.
Auburn Tigers head coach Hugh Freeze greets young fans during the Tiger Walk before the AU vs. / Mickey Welsh / Advertiser / USA TODAY
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Analyst Paul Finebaum believes the expectations are high this season for head coach Hugh Freeze and the Auburn football program

It's been a rough few years for Auburn football, starting with the hiring of Bryan Harsin all the way back in 2020. Harsin struggled with recruiting, didn't engage well with the Auburn family, and coached the Tigers to back-to-back losing seasons.

Throughout those two years, Auburn football dug itself into a hole it is desperately trying to get out of. Then Hugh Freeze was hired at the end of the season in 2022, and despite things seeming to change for the better, the end result was another losing record at the end of the 2023 season.

Of course, Freeze has a lot more going for him than Harsin did. Freeze has done remarkably well with recruiting and revamped his staff after a dismal performance at the Music City Bowl. Freeze has been able to engage with the community, the football team, and recruits in ways that Harsin never could.

Still, Auburn football fans want to see results, and according to Paul Finebaum, Hugh Freeze's grace period has definitely run out.

“No less than 8-4,” Finebaum said, per 247 Sports. “There was a time when 8-4 got you fired at Auburn, it wasn’t that long ago, just ask. But I think that’s the bottom and I think he has to turn a couple of games. I think being in the conversation for the playoff is what I’m looking for.

“Last year, it was .500, it was going to a bowl game. This year, better than that. By the way, 8-4, that means if you miss one of those games, you’re 7-5, which would be disappointing. And if you’re 9-3, you’ve had a pretty good year, which means you’re on the verge of the playoffs. So I think that’s where it is.”

At the end of the day, you can point to all the positive things that Hugh Freeze has done, but if it doesn't translate to wins on the football field it's not good enough. With his first full recruiting class on the Plains and a year under his belt, the 2024 season could be make or break for Freeze and the Auburn Tigers.