Gene Chizik: College football’s Wizard of Oz

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis


I know you all wanted me to break down Saturday night’s putrid 55-0 Florida State win over Savannah State, but I have bigger fish to fry.

Mr. Gene Chizik, that deep fryer has your name all over it.

Auburn’s head coach came into the picture under a lot of scrutiny when he began his tenure in 2009. Some AU fans were skeptical of a man who went 5-19 while coaching at Iowa State They doubted he would be better than Tommy Tuberville, who nearly brought a national title to town in 2004.

But Chizik looked like a genius when he coached the Tigers to a national championship in 2010. He had Cam Newton on the field and Gus Malzahn coaching that offense. Now, both are gone, and there’s nowhere for Chizik to hide.

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In 2011, Newton left for the NFL, but Malzahn remained the offensive coordinator for the Tigers. Auburn won eight games — the same win total they had in 2009 when Chizik was just beginning to get control of the football team.

Then, Malzahn left. So far, without Malzahn, Auburn is 0-2 with losses to Clemson and Mississippi State (both away from Auburn, which should be noted). They’re averaging just 14.5 points per game in those first two games, and their offense ranks 109th in the nation.

Now, I understand the Tigers have played two non-cupcakes, which means their numbers might not be inflated like other schools. But it should also be noted that they’re 8-7 since winning the national title.

If Auburn Football is like “The Wizard of Oz,” were Newton and Malzahn the curtain hiding the true Oz, or Chizik in this case? Is this what Auburn truly has — a coach that is struggling to stay above .500, sans one magical season?

Other coaches have been fired for less, and I’ll confirm one thing: Auburn fans won’t put up with mediocrity. Louisiana-Monroe comes to town for the home opener this weekend, fresh off upsetting Arkansas. If the Warhawks can make it two wins over SEC opponents in two weeks, I think Chizik will be sitting on a hot seat really soon.

It might sound shocking, but Auburn has a very good in-state rival to keep up with, and they’re falling behind quickly.

Chizik better pull out some more of that wizardry, soon.

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