"Boo! We want a leader, not a loser! 5-19! 5-19 is not what we need! Give us GILL, not CHIZIK! Boo!"
Everybody remembers the infamous "Airport Heckler" who booed Auburn AD Jay Jacobs after news came out that Gene "5-19" Chizik had been hired as the new football coach for Auburn University.
ESPN made a very big deal about the heckler, claiming the "Auburn fanbase" booed Chizik, when one idiotic moron (I'm talking to YOU, sir, if you are reading this) did. Alabama fans showed up to the airport in the Auburn/Opelika area and shouted, "Thank you, Jay Jacobs!" Auburn's image was as bad as it had ever been. Especially since the last guy, Tommy Tuberville, won 85 games in his 10 seasons on the Plains.
Well, heckler, 'Bama fans who showed up to greet Chizik, and ESPN...how do you like him (and Auburn) now?
Auburn, just 21 games into the Gene Chizik era, has claimed the No. 1 spot in the BCS rankings, its first No. 1 ranking from a major poll since 1985. Since he went 5-19 at Iowa State, he is five wins (including an SEC championship win) away from a winning record as a coach. He is 16-5 at Auburn, an outstanding mark that even Nick Saban couldn't equal in his first 21 games at the University of Alabama.
No. 1 Auburn. Doesn't that have a ring to it?
Every year, one coach is awarded "Coach of the Year" in college football. It doesn't have to be a coach who led his team to an unbeaten season, either. There are many ways a coach can win "Coach of the Year." This year, one way to do it is to...be named Gene Chizik. Mark Dantonio of Michigan State, Gary Pinkel of Missouri and Chip Kelly of Oregon are the only ones close to Chizik, but none of them are closer to the award than the head coach of the orange and blue Tigers.
Is there any doubt it's Gene Chizik? What he's done in two years is incredible, especially with all the criticism he took before the 2009 season from just about everybody. He hired an excellent staff, maybe the best in the nation. Smart move. A part of that staff was Gus Malzahn. Smart move. Jay Jacobs hired Gene Chizik. Smart move.
The recruiting is at an all-time high for Auburn, with Chizik's first full class ranking as high as third in the country, and with this staff intact and as long as Chizik keeps the passion that Tuberville lost, there are top-five recruiting classes as far as the eye can see for Auburn.
That's the best part about Chizik. Auburn is No. 1, and they are still about two years away from being absolutely loaded with complete depth and talent. If you think Auburn is good now, wait until 2013 when Auburn is a loaded super-power that could challenge some of the longer winning streaks in Auburn history. Anybody who isn't scared of how good Auburn is going to be really soon needs to realize that the state of Alabama is soon to host the two best teams in the SEC and the nation...if it doesn't right now.
It's 2010. Auburn is almost unbeatable with Cameron "Refuse2Lose" Newton as quarterback. If you realize that Auburn is back as a national title contender...Smart move.