The idea is as unlikely as a palm tree growing in Minnesota, but as I’ve heard a hundred times before, “That’s why they play the game.”
When the Auburn Tigers travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the SEC and in-state powerhouse Alabama Crimson Tide, one of the most difficult things about the game may be predicting the spread. Will Alabama pour it on, or does Nick Saban have a little bit of pity for his coaching counterpart Gene Chizik?
Regardless of what prognosticators and Tide fans think, Auburn will be looking to win again in Tuscaloosa, just like 2010. While this is obviously no easy task, never underestimate the intensity and passion involved in a rivalry game.
Guys that have played together since youth camps and some even before that, know each others’ tendencies well. Not to mention the Texas A&M Aggies supplied Chizik with a game tape that he may have memorized by watching so many times at this point.
But with all of the turmoil at Auburn that hasn’t quite remained behind the scenes, is it still possible? Could a win over Alabama save Chizik’s job, enabling his to remain the head coach?
It should. If he manages to beat Alabama, there shouldn’t be any question that Gene gets another full year.
Let’s not forget the recruiting class Auburn has coming in. With the No. 1 and No. 2 overall high school linebackers in the country–according to Rivals.com–committed to the Tigers, and another 5-star recruit among their class that is likely top in the SEC and maybe even the best in the nation, firing Chizik and risking the loss of any number of these players would be an awful mishap.
Since the game is two weeks away, the teams themselves are doing the right thing and not even publicly acknowledging that the game exists. But that obviously won’t keep the fans from talking about the “what if’s.”
My take on the whole Chizik situation is this; yes he’s clearly dropped the ball, and has had several top recruits come in before that just haven’t materialized. But this class is once in a lifetime. I think firing Chizik, even if he gets blown out by Alabama, is the wrong move.
Keep him for next season and if 2013 even starts out with the same flavor, then let him go. Having an ideal replacement ready to go for that kind of situation would be ideal.
But then again, I don’t coach, so I’ll just see what the experts do. But you can bet I’ll be there to talk about it.