Friday, December 12, 2008

What now Auburn?

We’re currently in Day 10 since Tommy Tuberville was fired resigned from Auburn. In 10 seasons on the Plains, Tuberville was 85-40 overall and 52-30 in conference games. Most importantly, he was 7-3 against Alabama. And yet, as more details come out about his dismissal, the sketchier it seems.

Remember the scene from American Beauty where Kevin Spacey was supposed to defend his job to his new boss, but instead writes how he really feels? And then he ends up blackmailing his boss to pay him a year’s salary after he quits? That’s what comes to my mind when I try to process Jacobs’ BS.

This is starting to look more and more like what Ole Miss did to Cutcliffe in 2004 by the minute. As most remember, Cutcliffe had a winning record his first 5 seasons at Ole Miss before a 4-7 campaign in 2004. He was asked to make changes by his AD, refused, and found himself on the street. More than 2 weeks later, after interviewing several candidates, the Rebels somehow selected Ed Orgeron.

The list of coaches Jacobs is interviewing is underwhelming at best. Even former DC Will Muschamp doesn’t want the Tigers’ money. Neither does Spurrier. Besides, who of those candidates would be a decided upgrade from Tuberville. When Syracuse fired Gregg Robinson or Mississippi State fired Sylvester Croom, nobody thought twice about it. Neither could coach or recruit well enough to win. But Tuberville did. He did it in Oxford. And he sure as hell did it on the Plains.

I understand that this was a tense season for Auburn. The offensive woes reached an all-time high (or low?) this season. Tuberville admitted as much as shouldered the blame for the failed experiment. Meanwhile, across the state, Nick Saban took Alabama to one quarter away from playing for the BCS title in just his second season in Tuscaloosa. While the kneejerk reaction may be panic, it seems foolish to fire a guy who produced a consistent winner for a decade.

Which of the candidates will have Tiger fans saying “Whew, I’m glad we got rid of Tuberville for that guy”? Sure Brady Hoke has put together a nice 2-year run in Muncie, but is he ready for the big time? Turner Gill is certainly a great story, but is he an upgrade over Tuberville? Derek Dooley? Rodney Garner? Patrick Nix? These are the guys you’re going to replace Tuberville with?

The longer this drags out, the worse it is for Auburn. With the football power in the stat clearly shifting back to Tuscaloosa, now is an inopportune time to have uncertainty at your program. But that’s the bed that Jay Jacobs and Bobby Lowder have made, so now they get to lie in it. If he's comfortable lying behind a podium, a bed should be no problem.

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1 comment:

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