On Nov. 8, 1952, Auburn fell to Mississippi State 49-34 to drop to 1-6 on the season.
Six decades later, and for the first time since, the 2012 Tigers have duplicated that dubious feat. And added to the raging fire burning beneath Gene Chizik‘s backside.
Coming into the game with Vanderbilt as eight-point underdogs (chuckle), AU actually played the Commodores closer than expected although, in the end, the 17-13 loss was the sixth in seven games this season. It’s the fourth time in the program’s 111-year history the Tigers have started 1-6. The only start worse than that? The 1950 squad started 0-7 on its way to a winless 0-10 season.
But back to 2012 and Chizik’s status. And as we’ve previously written…
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 17-16, including a lowly 7-14 mark in SEC play. Add in his time at Iowa State, and the AU head coach sports a laughable 22-35 record without Newton.
In the nearly 22 months since Auburn beat Oregon for the BcS title, the Ducks are 19-2. The Tigers? They’re just 9-11 since claiming a crystal trophy almost solely on the right arm and both legs of Newton. In fact, in the BcS era (1998-present), the worst record an Associated Press national champion has accrued in the two years after winning a title had been LSU, which went 17-9 in 2008 and 2009 after winning the ’07 title.
The collapse the past two seasons, particularly in 2012, is unprecedented in the modern era. Is it unprecedented enough to bring such an abrupt change at the head-coaching position such a short time after claiming a title?
Tick… tick… tick…