The Auburn Tigers came three points away from their second national title in four years to close the 2013-14 season. The program has seemingly been on a downward spiral ever since.
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs has had enough.
“We have to stop losing games we should win,” Jacobs told 24/7 Sports. “No disrespect to our opponents, but when we have a chance to win, we have to win. We have to get better on offense and continue playing well on defense.”
That 34-31 National Championship Game defeat to Florida State capped Gus Malzahn’s first season at the helm. In two full seasons since, Auburn hasn’t won more than eight games — and the Tigers are off to a 1-2 start to the 2016 season after losses to Clemson and Texas A&M. The two losses have come by an average of 8.5 points.
“There is nobody more frustrated in trying to figure out a winning solution than Gus,” Jacobs said to 24/7 Sports. “He’s working day and night with his assistant coaches to put these kids in position to win.”
But without results to show for it, Malzahn has found himself sitting on the hottest of seats. Auburn was two years removed from actually winning a national title when Jacobs dismissed Malzahn’s predecessor, Gene Chizik.
Chizik had led the Tigers to an undefeated season and win over Oregon in the National Championship Game in 2010-11. He had coached the Tigers to a 30-10 record in his first three years before turning in the worst season for an Auburn football team in 60 years, going 3-9 and winless in the SEC before getting fired.
With games still left against UL Monroe, Vanderbilt and Alabama A&M, Malzahn should be able to surpass Chizik’s three-win season that got him ousted. But with an $8.95 million buyout — lower than at least 10 other coaches in the SEC — looming, will it be enough?