Auburn Football: Barring Complete Disaster, Gene Chizik's Job Isn't in Jeopardy

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 22, 2012

Auburn head coach Gene Chizik
Auburn head coach Gene ChizikUS PRESSWIRE

The "Gene Chizik on the Hot Seat" meme reached mainstream status on Saturday, when the boys from ESPN's College GameDay discussed the notion on Saturday's show.

The universal opinion was that it was too early to question the fourth-year head coach's job, which is correct—even if callers to the Paul Finebaum Radio Network disagree.

Speculation surrounding Chizik's job status has even spawned its own pool on the web, where people who donate to charity can pick the exact date of Chizik's firing for a chance to win prizes.

But let's pump the brakes on Chizik being canned in the near future.

Barring a complete disaster—something like a 3-9 debacle in 2012—his job isn't going to come into question.

He built up a ton of equity with the national championship run in 2010-2011, and it will take an extraordinary amount of circumstances to tear that down two years later.

But (and this is what really irritates the Auburn family) his merits as a head coach still can and should be discussed. And opinions will probably change a bit if 3-9 becomes reality.

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Chizik is a lightning rod for a variety of reasons.

Whether it be his 5-19 record at Iowa State before getting the gig, all of the stars aligning for the magical 2010-2011 title run or the fact that three straight top-15 recruiting classes hasn't resulted in competitive SEC teams over the last two seasons, people are going to have differing opinions on what kind of coach he is.

The reason is simple: His time at Auburn has been filled with the highest of highs, like hoisting the crystal football on January 10, 2011, and some really low points, like blowouts in the last three SEC contests and narrow escapes vs. Utah State and Louisiana-Monroe.

But he's not on the hot seat right now.

He should be, and probably could be, if Auburn's 2012 season is a complete disaster, which is something that looks more possible now than it did in August. But it hasn't happened yet.

People aren't judging Chizik based on the first three games of the season, they're judging him on the 16 since the football sailed through the uprights at University of Phoenix Stadium in January 2011. 

But since he has two new coordinators with two new systems, let's hold off on saying that he should be fired until we know more about the direction of the program.

That doesn't mean, however, that we should ignore the possibility of it happening.

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