Auburn head coach Gene Chizik
Just two years removed from hoisting the crystal football in Glendale, Ariz., Auburn head coach Gene Chizik is arguably on the hottest seat in America.
The fourth-year Auburn head coach finds himself at 1-7 in 2012, and 17-17 at Auburn in the three years that the Tigers didn't win the BCS National Championship.
That's unacceptable at Auburn at any time, but especially considering Chizik has hauled in top-11 recruiting classes in each of the last three seasons, according to 247Sports.com.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of any college football program, and that's what's so alarming with what's happening at Auburn. Chizik and company are bringing in talent and isn't coaching them up. In some cases, it almost appears that the coaching staff is coaching them down.
However, the talent is still there, and that trend looks to continue this February if commitments stay strong.
Auburn currently has the nation's No. 8 class in 2013, according to 247Sports.com Composite. That class is headlined by linebacker Reuben Foster, defensive tackle Dee Liner and defensive end Carl Lawson, all of whom are in the top 25 of the 247Sports.com Composite rankings.
Foster told AuburnUndercover.com that he, Liner and Lawson have all been working hard to keep Auburn's 2013 class intact despite the struggles that have hit the Tigers this season.
Does the strength of next season's class warrant one more year for Chizik?
It's certainly an argument that can be made, but it's clear that Chizik is struggling to maximize the talent that's currently on his roster. Keeping him around to see if he can turn it around with this class seems like delaying the inevitable.
It's easy for Foster to say that the class is staying together, since Chizik is still the coach.
A coaching change would not only bring up a change in the head coach, but possibly a change in staff, coaching schemes, recruiting plans and just about everything else that sold prospects on their commitment to Auburn.
Should Auburn's 2013 recruiting class be a factor in Auburn's decision to keep Gene Chizik or let him go?
It would be total upheaval, but that's okay.
Whether you think Foster is being genuine with his assertion that the class is sticking together or not, the cupboard isn't bare at Auburn. Whoever is coaching the Tigers next season—whether it's Chizik or somebody else—will have a roster that is loaded with untapped talent.
That would be the case if the 2013 class stays intact or falls apart.
Auburn's class of 2013 is about what you would expect from this staff. It's loaded with talent and should get the Tigers on solid footing sooner rather than later. However, Chizik and his staff have proven that getting the program on solid footing—even with top tier talent—is easier said than done.
Letting go of Chizik and bringing in a new head coach would put the class of 2013 at risk, but it's a risk that Auburn has to take.