The last time Auburn started a year 1-5, Terry Bowden “resigned” before he could coach the seventh game of the 1998 season.
While Gene Chizik likely won’t face the same imminent fate as Bowden, the long-term future of the head coach on The Plains looks bleak.
The latest blight on Chizik’s Cam Newton-less resume’ is Saturday’s embarrassing 41-20 loss to Ole Miss, a program that had lost 16 straight SEC games. The 21-point loss drops AU to 0-4 in conference play and into the SEC West cellar, which they had previously shared with the then-winless Rebels.
It also comes a week after a 17-point loss to Arkansas, a team that was also previously winless in conference play and had lost its two league games by a combined 100 points.
Yes, it’s that bad on The Plains, and Chizik continues to dig himself a hole from which he may not be able to climb from, BcS title ring or not.
As we’ve written previously, and we’ve pounded home this point time and time again: Chizik has done nothing of import at the collegiate level without Cam Newton as his quarterback. In 2010, Newton’s lone season at the school, the Heisman winner led AU to a perfect 14-0 season that ended with a BcS title. In three non-Newton seasons at his current school, Chizik is 17-15, including a lowly 7-13 mark in SEC play. Add in his time at Iowa State, and the AU head coach sports a laughable 22-34 record without Newton.
It remains to be seen whether Chizik can survive such a brutal start, even less than three years removed from hoisting the crystal. One thing that shouldn’t preclude a move, though, is the buyout in the current coach’s contract, as was deftly explained by Kevin Scarbinsky prior to this loss.
In that column, Scarbinsky also wrote that, if AU lost to Ole Miss, “it’ll move the school’s decision-makers closer to a day when they’ll have to seriously consider letting Chizik go.”
Whether it’s tomorrow or next month or after what will likely be a bowl-less 2012 season, D-Day will indeed be coming for Chizik and the Auburn football program before the calendar flips to 2013. If there’s not an abrupt change to the direction of the current season, the only surprise would be AU clinging to a head coach whose in over his head when he’s sans a Heisman winner under center.