Alabama Football: Auburn mired in mediocrity while Crimson Tide soars

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football: Auburn’s rocky transition to a new coach shows a program far from elite with no idea of how to change.

Auburn football is a major mess. Alabama football fans are loving it. Notice the word ‘again’ was not used in the first sentence. ‘Again’ is a major mess, would suggest an occasional or cyclical, rather than a constant situation. Minus a brief reprieve in 2010, Auburn is exactly where it has been for most seasons since Shug Jordan’s team won a National Championship in 1957.

To allow Auburn to hire a new head coach requires paying in excess of $25M dollars to Gus Malzahn and his former assistants. Once found, the new coach will cost many millions more.

Reportedly, the Tigers’ top choice was Mario Cristobal. Cristobal spurned an offer to remain at Oregon. Hugh Freeze has been often mentioned as Gus’ replacement, as has Urban Meyer and Lane Kiffin. Alabama football fans are begging Auburn powerbrokers to hire Reverend Hugh Freeze, whose Ole Miss cheating-tenure ended with a 5-7 record in his last Ole Miss season.

Lane Kiffin would be crazy enough to take the job. Meyer does not need the aggravation or the stress of competing against Nick Saban every season. Kevin Steele is apparently an option if Kiffin turns them down, and once the Aubies learn Steve Sarkisian is not an option.

Going back to Ralph Jordan, the only sanity in the Auburn football program came from Pat Dye. Alabama football fans rightly fault Dye for years of NCAA rule-breaking, but he was a realist and could be candid at times. A few years ago Dye honestly admitted,

"We could play football for another 500 years and not catch up to Alabama’s tradition."

No truer words have ever been uttered down on the Plains. No Auburn fan will agree with the assessment Auburn is at its normal mediocre equilibrium, shackled to a history of falling far short of expectations. Believe what they want – facts tell the story.

In 25 Auburn seasons, Ralph ‘Shug’ Jordan won 60.5 percent of the SEC games his teams played. Auburn named a stadium after him. While coaching Alabama football, Nick Saban’s teams have won 86.5 percent of SEC games played.

It is no coincidence the most prominent names mentioned to replace Gus Malzahn are either current or former Nick Saban assistants or coaches with wins against the GOAT.

No coach will achieve lasting success at Auburn. Gus Malzahn’s teams won only 59 percent of SEC games. The most successful Auburn coach, in terms of SEC wins, was Terry Bowden at 68.5 percent. Tommy Tuberville’s teams won 67.8 percent; Pat Dye’s teams won 67 percent; Doug Barfield’s teams won 52.5 percent and Gene Chizik’s teams won 46.8 percent.

Auburn is forever trying to re-write history. It has not worked for them and it will fail again.

Next. Takeaways from the Early Signing Period. dark

The latest inside information from Auburn indicates Kevin Steele is now the Aubies leading candidate. It also suggests Steele may have had a role in getting Gus fired.