Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - We live in a world of instant
gratification, where everything has to come bigger, better and faster than the
The world of college sports is no different. There are no more five-year plans
to turn programs around. It's all about winning and winning now.
A short 24 months ago, Gene Chizik was at the pinnacle of college football,
having just navigated his Auburn Tigers to a perfect 14-0 season and a
national championship. Now he is looking for a job.
In his four seasons at the helm, Chizik was 33-19, including this year's 3-9
debacle. In his debut campaign, Chizik was able to lead the program to an 8-5
record. That was followed by the 14-0 season, capped off by a national
championship, the team's first in over a half century. Last year, despite the
loss of several marquee players on both sides of the ball, Chizek managed
another 8-5 campaign.
Unfortunately for Chizik, this year proved to be more than anyone at Auburn
could stomach. It wasn't just another loss to rival Alabama that proved to be
The complete domination by the Crimson Tide in last week's shutout was simply
the straw that broke the camel's back, as Auburn went from conference elite
two years ago to the conference doormat in 2012.
If you had followed Auburn football since Cam Newton took his Heisman with him
to the professional ranks, you saw a team that went from 14 wins in 2010, to
eight wins in 2011, to a measly three, including an obviously unforgivable 0-8
in SEC play in 2012.
The Tigers didn't only lose all their conference games this season, but for
the most part they were beaten in every sense of the word. Just look at the
conference's cream of the crop, the two teams that will be battling for the
SEC crown this week. Georgia and Alabama both shut out Auburn this season and
the scoring differential in the two games combined was an eye-popping 87-0.
Did Chizik bring this on himself? After the departure of both offensive
coordinator Gus Malzahn (Arkansas State) and defensive coordinator Ted Roof
(UCF/Penn State), Chizik hired new coordinators after last season in Scot
Loeffler and Brian VanGorder.
Forget the fact that Loeffler failed to turn Auburn into an offensive
juggernaut. The Tigers weren't even an average offense this season, ranking
113th nationally in scoring (18.7 ppg), 112th in passing (156.7 ypg) and 115th
in total offense (305.0 ypg). That is just unacceptable from any SEC program,
especially one that is supposed to be at least competitive year-in and year-
After being part of some good offenses in the recent past at both Temple and
Florida as a quarterbacks coach, Loeffler never really came close to
delivering on that with Auburn, as three different players took significant
snaps under center in 2012 and none played well.
Meanwhile, VanGorder also failed to bring the Tigers back to relevance on the
defensive side of the ball. Auburn allowed just over 420 yards of offense per
game and was particularly poor in run defense, at nearly 200 yards per game.
While those hirings obviously didn't pan out, to be fair, Chizik did bring in
Gus Malzahn to run the offense during the team's first couple of years and
also got Cam Newton to come to Auburn.
Still, the buck stops with Chizik good or bad, and Auburn Athletic Director
Jay Jacobs wasted little time in giving him the hook, explaining his decision
at a press conference on Sunday.
"While I am disappointed that Coach Chizik's career here has come to an end we
will long cherish the memories of our first National Championship in 53
years," said Jacobs. "Gene and his staff will always be a part of the Auburn
Family, and we wish them and their families the best.
"I wanted to quickly share what led me to the decision to recommend a change.
My primary consideration was doing what is in the best interest of our current
student-athletes and the future of our football program.
"After some tough losses in a transition year in 2011, I had hoped our team
would show improvement this season. Unfortunately, it did not.
"As we all know, the competition in our league is fierce. In the final
analysis, I decided that we cannot risk falling further behind by waiting
another year and hoping for improvement. That is why we decided it was time
for a change."
The last part of Jacobs' statement is telling. The school could not "risk
falling further behind."
There will probably be no tears shed for Chizik's dismissal among the Auburn
faithful. The national title he delivered just two years ago might as well be
a century ago in the eyes of fans.
Among the powers that be, that also rings true.
It's all about the present, not the past, no matter how recent that past is.
The Sports Network