Coach Ron Meyer: Chizik's Inconsistency
The Auburn Tigers and head coach Gene Chizik head into Saturday's Iron Bowl battle with Alabama with a true Jeckyll and Hyde personality. Though, when you look closely at the results, it seems even more extreme than that. Jeckyll is on his honeymoon, and Hyde just woke up with a hangover!
Here's what I mean about Mr. Hyde.
Last Week Auburn was leading lowly Samford 21-16 in the fourth quarter. Samford isn't a board team in Las Vegas, but places that offered that game on their added slate made Auburn about a 31-point favorite. It was a tight game in the fourth quarter!
The week before that, Auburn lost to Georgia 45-7 in a game that some TV guys thought they had a chance to win. No way. This was no contest as surging Georgia absolutely embarrassed an Auburn team that should have the 2011 season figured out by now.
About a month ago, Auburn lost to LSU 45-10. It's no shame, losing to LSU this year. But, those two results vs. teams playing in the SEC Championship were a combined 92-17 loss. Auburn won the title tilt last year...and now they can't even stay on the field with championship contenders.
Arkansas was #3 in the BCS poll heading into Friday's game at LSU. Auburn lost to Arkansas 38-14. So, again, we have evidence that Auburn is nowhere near top quality.
When you go back to September...you see Auburn looking sluggish as 30-point favorites over Florida Atlantic...you have a double digit loss to Clemson...and you have that season opener vs. Utah State that was almost an outright loss as 24-point favorites (a 4-point victory was won LATE).
What a disaster. The season as it stands right now is bookended by a fortunate win over Utah State, and an ugly performance vs. Samford. Between the bookends, you have a series of slaughters at the hands of national powers.
So, naturally, Auburn ranks 24th in the most recent BCS compilation.
How can Auburn be in the top 25 of the BCS composite with THAT resume?
Dr. Jeckyll showed up a few times:
Auburn beat Mississippi State outright as a home underdog, the week after almost losing to Utah State.
Auburn beat South Carolina outright as a 10-point road underdog the week before their loss to Arkansas.
Auburn beat Florida by double digits as a 3-point home underdog in the schedule spot between Arkansas and LSU.
Auburn blew out Ole Miss and covered by a touchdown.
So, who are we going to see when Alabama comes to town Saturday afternoon on CBS? Rivalry spirit and college football history would suggest Dr. Jeckyll is ready to make a house call...which means Auburn fans will be very excited about their chance to score a home upset as a 21-point home underdog. But, those poor results vs. LSU, Arkansas, and Georgia might suggest Dr. Hyde is already sitting in the locker room ready to spoil the mood.
You regulars know I handicap from a coaching perspective. I consider this game a huge gut check for Gene Chizik of Auburn. It's rare to see a national championship head coach lose respect nationally so quickly. But, that title is now seen as something that quarterback Cam Newton did rather than something that was the result of great coaching. Chizik happened to be there when Newton carried the program on his shoulders. Now that Newton is gone...a coach who didn't impress at Iowa State now seems outclassed vs. powerhouse opponents.
If Auburn loses big Saturday, then Chizik will be on a very short leash next season. If Auburn can keep it close, or provide college football with its latest big dog shocker...then the Tigers could carry that spirit right into a big bowl performance next month...and perhaps a return to glory next year.
I have to tell you I'm generally skeptical about Chizik. If he can't keep his team competitive in their rivalry game (in what is one of the biggest rivalries in the nation), then we'll know by Saturday Night that Auburn was probably a one-year wonder.
Alabama-Auburn may or may not be part of my Saturday Grand Slam. There are so many great games on the card...and so many teams who are more consistent than Auburn! You can purchase my slate right here at the website with your credit card. Be sure you get things done before the early kickoffs, because games like Ohio State-Michigan and Georgia-Georgia Tech go at noon ET, 9 a.m. Las Vegas time. If you want to talk to one of my representatives about extended service, call my office at 1-877-540-8787. We have a month of NFL regular season action still ahead, plus all the bowls and playoffs.
Anybody can get hot for a day or a week. If you want to be a CONSISTENT winner, you need the right COACH IN YOUR CORNER!
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