In a year of craziness it was still surprising Auburn decided Sunday to pay Gus Malzahn somewhere just north of $21 million to not coach there anymore.
To be honest, I was surprised it lasted as long as it did. Sooner or later Auburn will set the barn on fire to run the cows out simply because that’s what they do.
For a school that has an athletic department with a massive inferiority complex to Alabama run by big boosters, I never thought Malzahn’s big ego combined with his lack of personality and massive paranoia was ever going to work.
Malzahn caught lightning in a bottle twice in 2013 and got to the last BCS Championship game before losing to Florida State at the end … then ridiculously under-achieved the rest of his time on The Plains.
When you beat both teams that play in the national title game and the best you can do is lose a bowl game that same year to Central Florida, well, it’s really just a matter of time.
While Arkansas fans would be happy to have won two-thirds of the games played over eight seasons, at Auburn a 40-28 record in the league (68-35 overall) won’t cut it when you’re 3-5 against the Crimson Tide and LSU, then 2-7 against Georgia.
Those two games every year are the ones any coach at Auburn needs to win and they haven’t through a revolving door of coaches since Pat Dye was booted off the sidelines for NCAA issues.
The fact they put Dye’s name on the field a few years later kinda tells you everything you need to know about Auburn.
Somebody at Auburn is going to be writing a big check to get rid of Malzahn. Don’t blame him. He simply played the game as it’s played these days in college football.
They could have saved themselves the money by simply telling Malzahn to go to Fayetteville, where he really was never that interested in going. Two sources have told me he was never coming to Arkansas.
Some fans won’t believe that, but that’s what I’ve been told from two people who would be in a position to know.
In Arkansas there is no middle ground on Malzahn. He’s either a football genius or seriously over-rated. Take your pick on that one.
Now Auburn is stuck because they are reportedly in a war down there over who to hire next, according to Pat Forde’s story at Sports Illustrated on Tuesday.
Since Shug Jordan retired 45 years ago, the Tigers have been doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Malzahn was there eight years, which is third on the seniority list at Auburn since 1975 (behind Dye and Tommy Tuberville).
The patience level at Auburn is low. But at least they’re willing to pay to not wait.
Malzahn will leave town with millions in the bank, so don’t feel too bad for him.