Everyone knows that Auburn will have a new coach in 2013.
If a coaching change wasn’t obvious with the less-than-supportive letter to Auburn fans that Auburn president Jay Gouge sent out last Thursday, it should be as clear as a cloudless Alabama sky today.
Auburn gave an uninspired effort and suffered a historic loss at the hands of the Texas A&M Aggies last Saturday, 63-21. The team quit on its head coach. Former Auburn safety Rob Pate agreed.
Kids have quit. First time I've thought that. Death knell for staff. Modern era AU football low.— Rob Pate (@robpate) October 27, 2012
There were times during the game against the Aggies where it almost appeared that Gene Chizik knew his time as the head coach of Auburn was coming to a screeching halt.
Although Chizik refused to accept questions about his job security in the postgame press conference, his dismissal as Auburn head coach is unavoidable.
Auburn should not delay the inevitable until the end of the season.
Auburn should announce Chizik is not returning immediately. Chizik should be allowed to finish the season if he wants, but Auburn needs to get the wheels in motion to find a new leader of the football program.
The most important reason Auburn needs to act now is that there will be a high demand for coaches in the offseason. In the SEC alone, Arkansas, Kentucky and possibly Tennessee will be fighting to get a new head coach.
It would surprise no one if Texas coach Mack Brown is shown the door as well.
Texas and Auburn are likely the most desirable jobs out of that group.
Tennessee will also be willing to shell out an extraordinary amount of money to bring its football program back to prominence.
By announcing that there will be a head coaching position available at Auburn, feelers can be sent out to top candidates and Auburn can get a head start on competition in the market.
Athletic director Jay Jacobs' job security is also on shaky ground. Many Auburn supporters see Jacobs and Chizik as joined at the hip. It is well-known that Jacobs campaigned for the hiring of Chizik in 2008 and his massive buyout after the 2010 national championship.
If Jacobs pulls the trigger on a coaching change now, it may give him a little bit of leverage and show that his personal relationships will not get in the way of his vision to make Auburn the preeminent athletic department in the country.
Auburn has a tremendous recruiting class lined up for 2013; Rivals.com currently ranks it No. 9 in the country. If they wait until after the Iron Bowl to fire Chizik, it will only give the new staff a month-and-a-half at most to retain or regain these commitments.
Announcing a coaching change now and a quick hiring of the new staff after the season gives Auburn a better chance to hold on to a highly-ranked class.
There is the issue of the buyout that decreases on Dec. 1 of this year.
A report by Kevin Scarbinsky earlier this fall shows that there is already a movement in place to replace Chizik. (The report says with Bobby Petrino, but that's not happening.)
Regardless, powerful Auburn boosters are ready to make something happen.
If those boosters want Chizik gone sooner rather than later, they will be able to make the money issue disappear, regardless of the amount.
The next Auburn head coach hired will no doubt have a long-lasting impact on the Auburn football program. A poor job handling the current coaching situation could lead to further setbacks to a program that has already hit close to rock bottom.
By not delaying the inevitable firing of Chizik, Auburn can get the coaching search off on the right foot.