The writing appears to be on the walls of Jordan-Hare Stadium, where another embarrassing loss has made Gene Chizik's seat hotter than a Kate Upton photo shoot.
The Tigers dropped to 0-7 in SEC play after a 38-0 defeat against Georgia––their second straight home loss of 30-plus points against a conference opponent. With the loss, many-a-pundit, including Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com, are predicting Chizik's exit from Auburn.
And while the fourth-year coach's departure seems like a near-certainty after the Tigers' worst season since 1950, it does beg an important question: Will firing Gene Chizik actually fix anything?
Or, if you prefer it phrased more bluntly: Is Gene Chizik actually the problem?
The 24-hour news cycle and the age of the entitled internet blogger have created a number of problems among the sports-watching populace. One of the most egregious of these is the propensity for fans to demand a coach's head on a spike the second things start to go wrong.
And I get it. This is the SEC. This is Auburn Football! WAR EAGLE FOR LIFE!
A 2-8 record is unacceptable for a school with so much pride, passion and tradition. Somebody has to be responsible, and if they aren't held accountable, how can the program heal? Somebody has to pay the price.
But why does it have to be Gene Chizik?
It's not like the the man had his coaching powers zapped away by Monstars and stored in a magic football. Even if the offense has been historically anemic this season––averaging a scant 17.3 points per game––it's not like Chizik doesn't know how to move the chains.
Lest we forget, this is the man whose offense propelled Cam Newton to a Heisman. Whose offense propelled Auburn to a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP just two seasons ago.
I understand the conceptual premise of "what have you done for me lately?" But in this case, I don't understand the technical definition. How, exactly, does 2010 not count as lately?
Bill Simmons, then solely of ESPN.com, coined a theory called the Five-Year-Grace-Period-Rule for fans. He postulates that "when you're fortunate enough to witness a title season, realistically, you shouldn't complain about anything for five years."
Auburn isn't just ready to complain after two; the Tigers are ready to run their coach out of town. What!?
Auburn's 2009 recruiting class––the class that should be seniors in 2012––ranked 25th in the nation. That's good enough to expect better results than 2-8, but also represents a lull in the Tigers' recruiting prowess.
In 2010 and 2011, the Tigers brought in the fourth and third-best classes, respectively. Gene Chizik brought in the fourth and third-best classes, respectively. Shouldn't a guy with a national title be given the chance to coach those talented guys as seniors?
I know it's hard in the sports environment of 2012, but the best thing to do would be to chalk this season up as a mulligan. Sometimes things just don't break the right way, and sometimes those bad breaks manifest in unfortunate ways.
Either way, Auburn's players will start next season with a clean slate. They'll be given refreshed fans, a 0-0 record and the chance to prove 2012 was a fluke.
Hopefully, Gene Chizik will be given the same opportunity.