It was only a matter of time before Gene Chizik received his walking papers and there seemed to be no better time than following a 49-0 drubbing by Auburn’s most-heated rival, The Alabama Crimson Tide. A drubbing that was made all the worse by its implications: a win by Alabama meant a trip to the SEC Championship and a potential berth in the National Championship game.
The Tigers tumble is one that has been well-documented as it was only two seasons ago, behind the arm and legs of quarterback Cam Newton, that the Tigers took home the National Championship.
Two years later, Auburn is the beneficiary of 10 straight SEC losses and a team that finishes the season not only minus a bowl bid, but ranked near the bottom of the league in just about every major statistical category. Even Ole Miss, a team that has been a perpetual whipping post in the SEC West over the last four or five years will be invited to a bowl this season—a sign of the changing dynamic of the SEC West.
Potential candidates are already surfacing—Gus Malzahn, Bobby Petrino, and Kirby Smart have all been named as possibilities—but you can bet Auburn will take great care in securing its next coaching hire as AD Jay Jacobs’ long-term job security is likely to depend heavily on who he selects.
That said, the Tigers can’t wait too long as National Signing Day is already looming large and more than a few of the team’s top recruiting prospects have already started looking around (Reuben Foster was at Georgia for their season finale and JUCO wide receiver Jacquay Williams has already opened things back up as well). So, the need to find a quality coach, with experience, and a great track record will be paramount for a team that on Saturday looked defeated long before they even bothered to take the field.