Tony Franklin is O-U-T of Auburn—this just a day after head coach Tommy Tuberville adamantly defended Franklin in his routine, early week press conference.
With a dismal offensive start to a season that was supposed to be supercharged by Franklin’s first year at the OC helm with his custom spread offense, Auburn currently finds itself 2-2 in the SEC, 4-2 overall with no sign of improvement in the offensive game.
Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, what better a point in the season to conduct a major overhaul of a hot rod that hasn’t been so hot? The upcoming Arkansas game at home should give Tuberville somewhat of a break to get a win, regroup and execute the next step of his plan (assuming there is one...we will).
The Tigers' schedule gets progressively tougher after this weekend with road tests at West Virginia and Ole Miss, followed by Georgia at home and then you-know-who at the end of the season in Tuscaloosa.
Now, go with me for a moment on a speculative journey, a mental trip consisting of unverified, potentially inaccurate ideas regarding this recent development on The Plains...if for no other reason than it’s too intriguing not to.
The end of the 2007 season was a crossroads for Tommy Tuberville and the Auburn Tigers. Tuberville’s contract was up for renewal. Tuberville delayed signing the contract for reportedly wanting the university to remove the “buyout” clause from the agreement. The university refused to do so and wouldn’t budge on this significant stipulation.
After the standoff, Tuberville relented and signed with the existing agreement intact, “buyout” clause and all.
Now, why would a head coach be so insistent on having a “buyout” clause removed from his agreement in Tuberville's situation? Hmmm.
You and I will never hear what’s discussed behind the many closed doors of college football human resource management, but it’s safe to assume there are many, many discussions between university kings and warlords that serve as catalysts for many of the ground-shaking events we see, such as personnel changes.
Back to our magic speculation bus: It’s common knowledge that Phillip Fulmer is on the ropes at Tennessee this season, and as usual there are other programs with midterm grades that put their head coaches in jeopardy. Could there be a different shade of orange in Tuberville's future?
Perhaps the wheels started turning for Tuberville after the Vandy loss. Maybe they were already in motion when the season began. In either case, I speculate we will see some very interesting changes to the coaching landscape in the SEC by the end of the 2008 season—and I think Coach Tuberville will add yet another twist to an already interesting story.
Talk about parity in college football—how about parity in college football coaching jobs?