The Auburn Tigers are just two years removed from winning a BCS National Championship. But Cam Newton is gone. So is Nick Fairley, Michael Dyer and Lee Ziemba. Gus Malzahn is no longer running the offense, and the Tigers are off to an unimpressive 1-2 start in 2012.
That is a bad formula for current Auburn head coach Gene Chizik. But are the Tigers seriously considering firing Chizik after the 2012 season if things do not turn around in a hurry?
This is the SEC. That means the answer is yes.
Winning in the SEC is crucial. Winning today, however, is all that counts. This is as cut-throat a conference as there is when it comes to college football. It is almost more of a business than anything else. Chizik knows that.
Unfortunately, there is a good chance that after today, Auburn will fall to 1-3 after having to play the No. 2 ranked LSU Tigers this evening. And considering their only win was over the upstart UL-Monroe Warhawks in overtime last week, things are not going to get a whole lot better for Chizik and the Tigers any time soon.
Auburn still has a brutal schedule, although they are actually fortunate enough to not have to play other SEC powerhouses this season such as the South Carolina Gamecocks and Florida Gators. But even with being able to not have to tangle with those two Top 25 teams, the Tigers still have to travel to take on the Mississippi Runnin’ Rebels, Vanderbilt Commodores and Alabama Crimson Tide. They have home games remaining against the Arkansas Razorbacks, Texas A&M Aggies, New Mexico State Aggies, Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama A&M Bulldogs.
The schedule is not a favorable one by any means.
Assuming Auburn does in fact fall to 1-3 after tonight, they could still conceivably finish the regular season around .500. The Tigers should beat Mississippi, New Mexico State and Alabama A&M. Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Texas A&M are a bit of a toss-up. Alabama and Georgia are considered nearly unwinnable.
Auburn could still finish the year 7-5 and be bowl eligible. A 6-6 finish is also possible, still finishing in a bowl position.
Then again, Auburn could also just as easily finish the 2012 season 5-7.
If that happens, even though he won the first National Championship for Auburn since 1957, Chizik could be fighting for his job after this season.