Alabama Football: Will Auburn hire a Saban assistant?

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If Auburn wants to hire a former Alabama football coach, they have options.

It took eight seasons, but the Gus Bus finally ran out of gas in Auburn. The Tigers will now look for a replacement, and they have options. They might follow a trend in the SEC and pluck a coach from the Alabama football staff.

We came into the 2020 season with five former assistants in charge of SEC teams. Alabama football played four of them and won every game. Will Muschamp has been fired, so we are currently at four assistants. However, the Auburn Tigers might bring us back to five.

There are plenty of assistants who will receive consideration for the Auburn job. It is no secret that Steve Sarkisian is waiting for the perfect job. Will he deem the Auburn job enticing enough to leave Tuscaloosa? He might, but I believe that he can do better. Auburn will have to play the two best teams in the SEC every year, and they have to fight against those teams for recruits.

Sark is the only assistant on Saban’s current staff who is ready to be the head coach of an SEC team. However, there are other options as well. Auburn’s interim coach is Kevin Steele, a former coordinator for Alabama football. While Auburn will likely go with an outside hire, they could always just keep him in that role.

The reports are that Mario Cristobal is currently the favorite to earn the starting job. Cristobal was a former assistant in Tuscaloosa, but he is known for his success with Oregon. He has been a great recruiter in a bad situation, and he has rebuilt a struggling program in Eugene.

Cristobal would likely be the best option for the Auburn Tigers. He could recruit Alabama and Georgia well, and he has ties to the West coast. If none of these guys get hired, Auburn might just give Lane Kiffin a call. Kiffin’s goal is to beat Nick Saban, so this would be a good pairing. However, he has not done enough as a coach to earn that type of job.

While there are plenty of reasons to want to hire a Saban assistant, they haven’t had a lot of success against Nick Saban. Since becoming the coach at Alabama, Saban is undefeated against former assistants. In fact, Malzahn had more success against Saban than anyone in the past decade.

Alabama's report card vs. Arkansas. dark. Next

To pay Malzahn’s massive buyout, Auburn must have a plan for his replacement. We’ll have to wait and see, but he could easily target one of many Saban assistants.