The Auburn football program has experienced a series of disappointing events since winning the BCS national championship in January 2011. Amongst the dismissal of their All-Freshman SEC running back Michael Dyer and rumors of Cam Newton being paid to attend the school, the Tigers find themselves in an NCAA investigation stemming from their championship season.
The NCAA investigation accused 12 Auburn players of failing drug tests during the 2010 season amongst multiple accounts of academic fraud committed by the school to benefit players.
Auburn finished the 2012 season seventh in the SEC West with a 3-9 overall record. The poor performance led to the firing of coach Gene Chizik, who led the team to their BCS championship win.
Former Auburn assistant coach Gus Malzahn, whose offense shined during the Tigers’ championship season, replaced Chizik. Malzahn will have the daunting task of turning around a hapless Auburn program that looks to take a step back toward dominance.
Auburn may have all the pieces in place for early success under the new head coach. The Tigers finished with a top recruiting class during their national championship season. The 2010 prospect class are all entering their junior and redshirt-sophomore seasons.
However, playing in the stacked SEC West will be a great barrier for the struggling team to overcome. Auburn will have to face Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU, as they do annually, as well as SEC East opponent, Georgia.
It would be ridiculous to say that Malzahn’s future at Auburn rests completely on how his team performs during his first season, especially coming off a poor performance in 2012. However, the sooner he can win, the sooner fans will forget about the recent woes the program has experienced.
Winning changes everything in sports and the Auburn fans will be no exception to that logic. Malzahn was an excellent hire and should fix the Auburn football program if given the chance. The sooner he is able to do so, the better.