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Gene Chizik Fired: Dismissal Exemplifies Urgent Nature of College Football

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 10:  Head coach Gene Chizik of the Auburn Tigers reacts on the sideline during their game against the Georgia Bulldogs on November 10, 2012 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. Georgia defeated Auburn 38-0 and clinched the SEC East division.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Michael Chang/Getty Images
Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2012

Win, or go home. 

That's how college football works for every program, and Gene Chizik found that out the hard way on Sunday when the Auburn Tigers fired their head coach (via ESPN) less than two years after winning the BCS National Championship Game

Chizik's firing may seem a little harsh, but that's how things work when you play in the country's most rigorous conference in front of football-obsessed fans.

If you don't win, nothing else matters. The football world has a short memory, especially when, according to ESPN, Auburn "endured the worst slide within two years of winning a national championship of any team since the Associated Press poll started in 1936 and hadn't lost this many games since going 0-10 in 1950."

Chizik should have been fired. There is no time for forgiveness in today's world. Everything is done at a faster pace, placing more pressure than ever on the people in charge.

A few down years could be catastrophic for recruiting. That creates a domino effect. Auburn had the nation's seventh-ranked class for next year, according to ESPN, but who knows how many would have actually come after witnessing the game-by-game debacle that was Auburn's season?

Major programs don't have time to waste. That doesn't mean shifting to a new coach every season, but Chizik only had one great season. Going 14-0 in 2010 was amazing, but he also had Cam Newton at his disposal. Without the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner, he went 19-19 and dropped 17 of 24 SEC games.

That might be OK for a lower-end program, but not for Auburn. It may not be steeped in winning tradition like in-state rival Alabama, but the Tigers are still an extremely proud program.

Showing complacency in college football is a sign of weakness. Giving unsuccessful coaches the ax is necessary. Someone else will be waiting in the wings as his replacement, and the show will go on. But idly standing by while your program loses horribly just isn't acceptable.

Chizik's blue-collar attitude fit the SEC, but the wins weren't there for the most part. Today's ultra-competitive culture is cutthroat, and he fell victim to a short leash, but that's how it goes. 

If you want to coach with the big boys, you better be prepared to win like one for more than one season.

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