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Chizik Hot Seat Index: Auburn off to worst start in six decades

Arkansas v Auburn AP

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…

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41 Responses to “Chizik Hot Seat Index: Auburn off to worst start in six decades”
  1. pike573 says: Oct 20, 2012 4:10 PM

    He was a bad hire to begin with

  2. Deb says: Oct 20, 2012 4:18 PM

    Wow. Just … wow.

    But in fairness, Cam Newton wasn’t the only player on that team. He’s a phenomenal athlete, but not even Cam Newton can single-handedly win a championship in the game of football. They had a good defense in 2010, too. Maybe Tuberville should have gotten more credit for recruiting the players that surrounded Newton. Or maybe it was Malzahn.

    Still … despite their record, I wouldn’t be surprised if Auburn rose up in the Iron Bowl and killed our season.

  3. Deb says: Oct 20, 2012 4:21 PM

    But in fairness, Cam Newton wasn’t the only player on that team. He’s a phenomenal athlete, but not even Cam Newton can single-handedly win a championship in the game of football. They had a good defense in 2010, too. Maybe Tuberville should have gotten more credit for recruiting the players that surrounded Newton. Or maybe it was Malzahn.

    Still … despite their record, I wouldn’t be surprised if Auburn rose up in the Iron Bowl and killed our season.

  4. houndofthebaskervols says: Oct 20, 2012 4:23 PM

    Time to bust out the checkbook Auburn and go for the longshots.

  5. Deb says: Oct 20, 2012 4:25 PM

    Cam Newton wasn’t the only player on that team. He’s a phenomenal athlete, but not even Cam Newton can single-handedly win a championship in the game of football. They had a good defense in 2010, too. Maybe Tuberville should have gotten more credit for recruiting the players that surrounded Newton. Or maybe it was Malzahn.

    Still … despite their record, I wouldn’t be surprised if Auburn rose up in the Iron Bowl and killed our season.

  6. soreeagle says: Oct 20, 2012 4:37 PM

    Auburn fans got a little too big headed after that 2010 season. SoreEagle baby!!!!

  7. tg1896 says: Oct 20, 2012 4:45 PM

    I’m not even an Auburn fan, but I feel sorry for this team. I thought Dooley had the hottest seat in the SEC. Not even close. btw – Butch Davis is available.

  8. surly1n1nd1anapol1s says: Oct 20, 2012 4:52 PM

    Classless Act

  9. Deb says: Oct 20, 2012 4:53 PM

    Auburn never wanted Chizik, but then decided he was The Man. Now it’s looking like Tuberville should have gotten more credit for recruiting the players around Cam. Or maybe it was Malzahn.

  10. lew24 says: Oct 20, 2012 5:00 PM

    He should have never been hired! He is just following the tradition he started at Iowa State!

  11. zurnvs says: Oct 20, 2012 5:01 PM

    Who will hire Bobby Petrino first, Auburn or Kentucky? He has close ties At Auburn, but can they over look him stepping out on his wife? Kentucky, Petrino is the only big name coach they can get and maybe the only school that will have him. Good coach but his off field issue maybe to much for both schools.

  12. imaduffer says: Oct 20, 2012 5:10 PM

    Vandy is now in negotiation for a home and home with Auburn for next year.

  13. normtide says: Oct 20, 2012 5:15 PM

    Zurnvs- It will bee interesting to watch this off season. I hear that SEC schools may target coaches like Holgerson, Briles, Strong, Dykes, and Tubberville.

  14. cometkazie says: Oct 20, 2012 5:30 PM

    Holy catfish, I never thought I would see the day when Vandy was an eight point favorite over Auburn.

    Will wonders never cease . . .

  15. cometkazie says: Oct 20, 2012 5:56 PM

    Chizik is worse than Dinardo.

    I guess he beats ‘Bama and Auburn thinks he is worth millions. Serves them right.

  16. Deb says: Oct 20, 2012 6:06 PM

    Can’t see Auburn taking Petrino.

  17. dfalcon3522 says: Oct 20, 2012 7:26 PM

    NO Bobby Petrino!!!!!! That slime ball POS better not show up on AU’s sideline next year. As a life long Atlanta Falcons & Auburn Tigers fan I will bail in a second if he is hired. I’m sure my opinion will not affect the decision wether or not he is hired but I can voice my thoughts. I know there are fans all across the country that Bly care about wins but I hope there are some fans with me on this one. Bobby Petrino is a low life scum and I don’t want him anywhere near the program I pull for. It will be painful and odd but if he is hired I will move on and never attend or watch another second of Auburn football.

  18. bamasleeper13 says: Oct 20, 2012 8:10 PM

    I have a request John, let Deb back on your threads, a lot of people enjoy her comments! We all enjoy your articles too! Keep them coming!

  19. cometkazie says: Oct 20, 2012 8:27 PM

    bamasleeper13 says:
    Oct 20, 2012 8:10 PM
    I have a request John, let Deb back on your threads, a lot of people enjoy her comments! We all enjoy your articles too! Keep them coming!

    Me, too. She actually has things to say and adds to the blogs.

  20. zurnvs says: Oct 20, 2012 8:56 PM

    @ normtide holgerson likes the big 12 and can’t spell defense, tuberville won’t be interesting, he in the SEC now, but would he leave a&m now.

    @dfalcon I’m with u, but u know it’s all about winning sometimes.

  21. taintedlombardis says: Oct 20, 2012 9:02 PM

    Deb sucks. Hot air.

  22. goodfieldnohit says: Oct 20, 2012 10:15 PM

    @zurnvs – you might want to check your facts. Tuberville is NOT in the SEC, nor is he at A&M

  23. bunyanj says: Oct 21, 2012 12:17 AM

    Chizik is not an SEC or even a Division 1 level head coach, so firing him is automatic. The guy who needs to be fired first is Jay Jacobs. He hired Chizik and all the rest of the AU major sports coaches who are at the botom of the SEC barrell. He even killed the swimming program by not paying David Marsh what he was worth. We now have paid for great pools with no good swimmers.

    Let’s get real. We need a NFL trained football coach. We can’t get a NFL or NCAA head coach or even a coordinator; but there are a lot of guys in the NFL that have coached for 10 years and would take $3M in a heartbeat. Jay Jacobs could not hire a guy like that if he was threatened. He is the biggest loser in AU athletics in my memory.

    He took all the credit, along with his buddy Tim Jackson, for the 2010 NCAA Football Championship, when Cam Newton was the only hero.

  24. lucky5936 says: Oct 21, 2012 6:20 AM

    I grow tired of hearing people bring up the Cam Newton stat. Cam was an amazing player. One of the best in college football history even. But to break it down as “Under Cam” is a lazy assumption. Chizik inherited a team with solid players and leadership. Especially, on the offensive line. When Cam was at Auburn, many of those players were upperclassman with starting experience. If you put Cam on this year’s team, they would be 8-4 or 9-3 at best. So can we let that Cam stats go John? You are better than that.

    Secondly, let’s examine Chizik’s strengths: He is an excellent recruiter. It is not easy recruiting against LSU, Georgia, and Alabama. Yet, he has successfully done it the last few years. His defensive haul coming in this year is going to be on of the best defensive recruiting classes Auburn has brought in. Secondly, Chizik also handles the stress of the job quite well. Very few coaches would have been able to handle the Cam situation and still guide a team to the national championship. His composure is amazing. Case in point, he kept his emotional QB and team focused when they fell behind against Alabama before they rallied for that 28-27 victory in Tuscaloosa. Very few coaches are good enough to pull that off. Next, Chizik does a fantastic job of protecting his players from the media. Finally, he is an outstanding role model. The thought of replacing him with a slimy person like Petrino sickens me. I hope Auburn doesn’t sell its soul to the devil for a few more SEC wins.

    Now about Chizik’s weaknesses: Point blank, the coaching staff has not developed these top recruits the way they should. When Cam left, he had a full slate of young players to prepare. This year, some of those players have regressed. It is to be expected to a certain degree with bringing in new coordinators. However, Coach Loeffler is simply not the right choice for the players they have recruited. The biggest difference with player development between schools like Alabama and Auburn is simple. Auburn does not recruit well enough to have 4 and 5 star players as back-ups at critical positions. If a star RB or QB does not step up at Bama, the next player is just as talented. Auburn does not have that luxury, which further emphasizes the lack of player development. Chizik will need to clean house if he wants to keep his job. If he doesn’t, then he risks not developing another talented crop of incoming freshmen. If Auburn chooses to fire Chizik, then they risk starting over from scratch in recruiting.

    Final Summary: Chizik deserves another year to show growth. But he needs to find a better offensive coordinator. Auburn needs to find a coach that fits the skillset of the players being recruited. Next, people often refer to Chizik’s record at Iowa State being 5-22. Well, duh! He inherited a team void of talent. It is no wonder the coach who came after him had better results. Chizik recruited those players. Chizik had the benefit of inheriting a strong group of players who Tommy T. developed and molded into leaders. He is bringing in another outstanding recruiting class. Chizik needs to find coaches who can develop these young sophomores and freshmen while the program continues to improve. Especially, at the quarterback and wide receiver positions! That is the key to the future. Not firing Chizik. We all want Auburn to win and show they belong. And there is no doubt this season has been an eye opening disappointment of a season. A blow to our Auburn pride if you will. But let’s not let a knee jerk reaction ruin the recruitment of special players we have coming in next year. That way if he fails next year, the next coach will have talented recruits to work with. If Chizik turns it around, he will continue to bring in excellent players. In the big picture, waiting a year gives Auburn a better chance to for future success.

  25. vols84 says: Oct 21, 2012 6:25 AM

    I can’t confirm this, but talked to an Auburn alumni and he said there is a rift between players (Chizik recruits vs. Trooper’s recruits) because Trooper Taylor is upset he wasn’t named OC after Gus left. I mention this (if true) because Trooper did the same thing at Tennessee and actually had Vols alumni recommending to recruits to look elsewhere.

  26. lucky5936 says: Oct 21, 2012 6:29 AM


    “when Cam Newton was the only hero.”

    Don’t forget that Michael Dyer ran for 143 yards on 22 carries, including a big play at the end. Also, the defense held LaMichael James to 49 yards on 13 carries and had two interceptions. Auburn was not just a “One Man Show” that game.

  27. lucky5936 says: Oct 21, 2012 6:31 AM


    Very interesting development, if true. I hope it is not though. I know Taylor is loved by his players. Hopefully, he is not revolting behind the scenes and creating unrest among the players.

  28. bunyanj says: Oct 21, 2012 12:15 PM


    I stand corrected. Cam was not the only hero in 2010; but you ignored the rest of my post and missed the point by focusing on one sentence. Sure there were a lot of other players like Ziemba, Dyer, Lutzenkirchen, etc. who all made critical contributions to the 2010 championship season. If you read the post copletely you will see that my point is we should fire Jay Jacobs before we fire Gene Chizik.

    Jay took every photo-op he could with Cam which was reflected in my overstatement about Cam being ” the only hero”. Jay has also taken all of our other sports down the tubes. You missed that point. I also disagree with your suggestion that we give Chizik another year. That is like giving a death row inmate two more days so he can have a second “last meal”.

    This season will end the top recruiting classes; and comparing our talent only to Alabama is a mistake. We will lose to Alabama because they have superior talent three deep; but we also have lost to Vanderbilt, Arkasas, Mississipi and Mississippi State, and we have better talent than all of those programs.

    I suggest you enroll in a “reading comprehension” program before you post a reply again. It is obvious that you don’t need a “creative writing “class based on your (too) lengthy post.

  29. lucky5936 says: Oct 21, 2012 5:04 PM


    For your benefit, I will keep this short and sweet. I read your entire post. My reading comprehension is just fine. I simply discredited anything else you had to say once you wrote about Cam being the only hero of the BCS championship game. I could care less if you disagree with my stance. I didn’t post it for your approval. I posted it for fair weather fans who need a wake up call in terms of loyalty.

    ps- If multi-paragraph writing is too much for you to read, might I suggest picture books?

  30. bunyanj says: Oct 21, 2012 6:26 PM


    It is obvious that you have more personal problems than Chizik has football problems. No more replies from me to a sad soul like you.

  31. Deb says: Oct 21, 2012 10:42 PM


  32. WarEagle30 says: Oct 21, 2012 10:54 PM

    I’m tired of hearing about Chizik’s record without Newton. Sure, Cam was a hell of a player. You ignorant people are missing the fact we had a good team as well. Just to list a few: Devin Adams( wouldn’t be good if you didn’t have a quarterback to throw to him) Michael Dyer, Onterio McCaleb, Emory Blake, Darren Bates and plenty more. I understand we still have many of the players, but we lack several things. To win games you have to have leadership, a good offensive coordinator, and confidence.

    I know Chizik isn’t the ideal coach and his record sucks. Give him another year and see if he can’t right the ship. If he can’t, then can him. Until then just sit back and watch what he will do. I personally believe he should fire Scott Leoffler. Leoffler is the main issue. We need an OC that runs something like Malzahn. Hell, hire Jon Gruden as OC, pay I’m a lot higher than an OC would make. If Chizik doesn’t prove himself in the 2013 season, move Geuden up to HC. Oe you could simply do the same with Kirby Smart.

    Do you know how many teams are going to looking for new HC jobs after this season? A LOT! Just leave chizik one more year and give him time to righten the ship. WAR EAGLE!!!

  33. lucky5936 says: Oct 22, 2012 6:28 AM

    No Bunyanj, just a problem with your post and your general lack of big picture analysis of what is best for the Auburn football program.

    War Eagle30,

    I agree whole heartedly with your response. I am not sure if Gruden would come aboard, but there are plenty of small college coaches who can right our offensive ship, if you will.

  34. normtide says: Oct 22, 2012 8:53 AM

    30- Gruden is far to sought after to be an OC, but I truly believe he will keep hiss MNF gig. Aside from that, I think your spot on. Your OC is the issue, you can start going to a more pro style offense, but you still have to play to your personnel. I have also read where he is disliked by HS coaches for his attitude, and HS coaches are what feed college coaches. That 2010 team was stacked, Adams was a beast. My AU buddy and I was shocked her went pro tho, another year and he could have made a splash, instead he went undrafted. The only way I would fire Chizik would be if I had another feast coach, like a Gruden, lined up. However, her has to know that it is do or die next year.

  35. lakesidegator says: Oct 22, 2012 10:32 AM

    John, Deb’s life is entirely online.
    Your decision is like a partial “death penalty.”

    Good call, John.

  36. Deb says: Oct 22, 2012 11:42 AM


  37. Deb says: Oct 22, 2012 2:04 PM

    A-hem …

  38. Deb says: Oct 23, 2012 3:39 PM

    Oh, lakesidegator, you sad little thing. Turns out this was all a technical glitch out of John’s control. NBC Tech has fixed it now. My personal life is gratifying enough that I don’t need to dog strangers on a football blog to get my jollies. Bless your heart.

    @cometkazie and bamasleeper13 …

    You guys are the best! Thanks, everyone! :)

  39. Deb says: Oct 23, 2012 3:42 PM

    LOL … all my lost posts have reappeared, too. So excuse all the repeats, question marks, and knock knocks.

  40. v2the4 says: Oct 24, 2012 3:18 AM

    everyone remembers the video of Gene Chizik getting off the plane with Jay Jacobs in 2009, where the guy who was videotapping was screaming we need a coach not a loser….

    ..everyone remembers it came down to either Turner Gill, who eventually went to Kansas, and has since been fired and Chizik….Auburn chose Chizik because his 5-22 record at Iowa St trumped the controversy of hiring Gill…see Charles Barkley’s comments at the time for further info.

    if Chizik survives this year, he better go find another qb in the juco ranks….and he better get an offensive coordinator….those two are a must….if these rumors about Trooper Taylor are true, then Taylor must be gone as well. the current recruiting class looks like it will be a top 5 class, so we will see what happens when the dust clears the monday after Auburn gets stomped into a mud hole by Alabama.

    I hear a lot of people saying Chizik is a great recruiter who cant coach…you know who else was a great recruiter..Randy Shannon at Miami…so was Rick Neuishal…and Dennis Franchoine…and Dennis Erickson and of course, the zooker, Ron Zook….all of those coaches were eventually fired or resigned because they couldnt coach their talent.

    its going to be armageddon in the sec come November 25th…thats the monday after the end of the regular season, and its quite possible that four or five sec schools will change head coaches.

    we already know that Arkansas will get a new coach…Kentucky, Tennessee, and Auburn could be looking as well…..if Miss St splits it games between Bama and LSU and wins the rest to finish 11-1, then Dan Mullen will probably be a hot commodity as well..

    stay tuned for the fun and frolics to come.

  41. gmsalpha says: Oct 24, 2012 2:39 PM

    We know Gene can’t coach. But it would also stand to reason that he can’t recruit. Auburn needs to focus on finding a new coach who can bring in some more studs if they ever want a chance to win anything in the future because I don’t see things improving any time soon with him at the helm.

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