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Auburn Football: With Gratitude, Auburn Should Say Goodbye to Gene Chizik

Oct 20, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Gene Chizik watches his team play against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium. The Commodores beat the Tigers 17-13. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE
Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE
Brett MixonContributor IOctober 22, 2012

No one saw this type of season coming for the Auburn football team. The most despondent pundits at least had Auburn going 6-6 and possibly landing in the BBVA Compass bowl.  

Gene Chizik and his job status have been defended here twice in 2012. The most recent defense came just last week. The words you read here are sometimes meant to simply offer a contrary perspective.

In this case, there is no other way to look at what must happen at season’s end for the Auburn football program to bounce back in 2013. There is no way to defend a 1-6 start to the 2012 season.

With gratitude, it is time for Auburn to say goodbye to Chizik at season’s end.

Chizik was the right man for the Auburn program in 2010. Auburn supporters will reminisce about 2010 for the rest of their lives.

After Auburn defeated South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game in 2010, an elderly Auburn fan explained to me that he was a senior in 1957 when Auburn won its first national championship.

He was sure he would never see the words “Auburn” and “national champions” beside each other ever again, especially after it was left out of the national title game in 2004.

He was filled with pride that Auburn was going to get a chance to play for the title again in his lifetime.

It was a very special time to be on the Plains in 2010. It was all the things that sports fans dream of for their teams. Those types of seasons may happen only once in a lifetime. If you’re a Chicago Cubs fan, it may never happen (sorry, the urge was too strong to resist). 

Because of Chizik’s leadership through what felt like a monsoon of negative stories and speculation, Auburn fans were able to experience this type of season and it’s something that can never be taken away from them.

No one at Auburn wanted this type of season for the Tigers or for Chizik. There can hardly be a bad word said for the quality of man that Chizik is. Everyone would wish Chizik a career full of success.

That success will not come at Auburn. It simply is not working out and his continued employment at Auburn may leave the program in a more fragile state than it was when he was hired in December of 2008.

A likely 0-8 record in conference play does not allow much ground to stand on when fighting for a job. Neither does one of the worst stretches in history after winning a championship.

Auburn becomes 1st team ever in AP Poll era to start 1-6 within 2 years of winning a national title.

— Jon Solomon (@jonsol) October 20, 2012

 

If there were any semblance of a team that was improving and had flashes of becoming great in the near future, Chizik may be able to save his job.

This team, as talented as it is, is nowhere near being in the conversation as a contender in 2013.

Auburn has lost (or nearly lost) to teams that it should beat while blindfolded based on talent alone.

It is not tough, it beats itself and does not know how to play fundamental football. These are all characteristics of a poorly coached team.

Without watching many Vanderbilt games under James Franklin, it is safe to say that Saturday was not one of his best-coached games. Franklin still managed to out-coach Chizik and the Auburn coaching staff. 

The Tigers will not be down long. Auburn is a top-15 job in college football. It has a strong commitment to being successful on the football field. It will not get back to championship-level football with Chizik on the sidelines.

While the Auburn Family is thankful for the magical 2010 season that most likely would not have been achieved without Chizik’s leadership through turmoil, it is time for the two to say goodbye at season’s end. 

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