Time to Circle the Wagons
Everyone knew it was coming. Auburn fans had weeks to prepare. Still, witnessing the complete destruction of the Auburn football program at the hands of Alabama was shocking on many levels.
Today’s loss was far worse than anyone could have imagined. The 49-0 score was not a surprise. The fact that Nick Saban could have scored 149 points if he chose was a sobering reality check for all Auburn people.
This football program is beyond broken.
It’s not hyperbole to say that this is Auburn’s darkest hour. This team will not be fixed in a year. The scars are way too deep. A quick look at the numbers show just how big a problem Auburn’s next coach inherits.
They have been outscored by their two biggest rivals 87-0 this season. Add in last season’s games and that number goes to 171-21. In the last 16 quarters against Alabama and Georgia, Auburn has scored just one offensive touchdown. And to think, both teams pulled their starters at the beginning of the third quarter in consecutive years.
So now we wait.
Gene Chizik’s termination window is officially open. He could be released tonight, tomorrow or next week. It doesn’t matter. Auburn is now faced with the biggest decision in the football program’s history.
Does Jay Jacobs remain as athletic director? If so, where does he turn to find a new coach? Who will be involved in the decision making? This will not be a run of the mill hire. Auburn’s new leader will face obstacles never encountered by an Auburn coach.
He’ll be required to right a ship that’s sunk, while at the same time competing against a juggernaut to the north that is threatening to eclipse the accomplishments of Bear Bryant. And he will be expected to perform immediately.
It will be a tall task for Auburn leaders to find the right person; and they must thread the needle on this choice. If they fail, Auburn’s position in the SEC will be threatened. Call me melodramatic, but the stakes are that high.
Regardless of our feelings and opinions, Auburn people must rally around each other and its new coach. We may not all agree on the choice, but we sure as hell better support him.
Auburn football is not life or death, but it can feel damn close.