Gene Chizik is a fine Christian man. He is the coach at Auburn University.
However, that has not stopped rampant speculation on the Internet and talk radio about the future of the Auburn Tigers.
Auburn football fans want to win. Who can blame them? This is the SEC, and Auburn has posted an impressive record under Terry Bowden, Tommy Tuberville and Gene Chizik. Undefeated seasons and contending for conference championships were hallmarks of Auburn football during the 1990s and 2000s. This success created pressure.
With Nick Saban’s arrival in Tuscaloosa and the rapid ascension of the Alabama Crimson Tide to the top of college football, the comparative expectations increased the pressure at Auburn.
Gene Chizik must win and win now. To deal with this, Chizik took shortcuts.
The pressure at Auburn encouraged shortcuts and recruiting for headlines instead of substance. It encouraged running a joke offense under Gus Malzahn. It created the environment of not giving a team time to respond to a new power offense before fans turned their back on a championship coach.
Now everyone is speculating on the next Auburn football head coach. One name that continues to make the top of many lists is Bobby Petrino. The former Arkansas football coach was fired in disgrace, but his reputation as an offensive mastermind overcomes many objections.
Petrino has a mixed record. His recruiting classes were ordinary at Arkansas. For reference, Rivals ranked Arkansas 34th in 2012, 24th in 2011, 49th in 2010, 16th in 2009, 36th in 2008, 31st in 2007, 27th in 2006 and 24th in 2005.
Yet, his teams managed to post impressive numbers. His Arkansas offenses averaged 36 points per game in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He led Arkansas to a BCS bowl. His defenses were deficient, but he put his teams into a position to win despite a serious recruiting challenge at Arkansas.
Would Petrino be interested in Auburn? Possibly. He might prefer a football job in Knoxville coaching the Tennessee Volunteers, or perhaps outside the SEC. However, with Petrino’s skills and ego, Auburn makes an attractive option. It would be foolish not to consider an offer from Auburn.
Does this worry Alabama fans?
Yes. This possibility concerns many Alabama fans. Not all, but many.
Why? Many Alabama fans believe Gene Chizik is a 5-19 joke with a coaching staff full of buffoons. Sure, the OC buffoon might have taught Tom Brady everything, but nobody takes Auburn’s X’s & O’s and player development seriously.
Contrast that with games against Arkansas. Alabama fans consistently worried about Petrino’s offensive firepower. Saban usually dominated these games, but Petrino had a chance. Does anyone give Chizik a chance of coaching up the Auburn Tigers?
So, every time an Alabama fan argues against Bobby Petrino this is in the back of their minds: Combine Petrino with the bagman and Auburn could be a formidable opponent.