Marshall: Riding On The Coaching Carousel

Columnist Phillip Marshall takes a look at the coaching changes across the country and how it affects the Auburn Tigers.

Just ramblin' around …

Houston Nutt decides to resign at Arkansas. The chancellor and athletic director say they tried to talk him out of it, but he's adamant. They give him a $3.5 million going-away present.

Ole Miss hires Ed Orgeron from USC to be its head coach. Not surprisingly, a defensive line coach who has never even been a coordinator struggles as a head coach. He gets paid almost $1 million a year for three floundering years. After he messes up terribly in his last game, the guys who hired him decide they have to fire him. He gets a $1.3 million going-away present. Add it up and he was paid more than $4 million for his three seasons. That's more than $1.3 million for every Southeastern Conference win. Similar scenarios are playing out all over the country. Head coaches who were awarded handsome contracts, who even received recent extensions, are being shown the door. And they are taking large bags of cash with them.

Is this a great country or what? …

Some of my email pals have been beating a familiar drum in recent days. Auburn, they say, only wins the Iron Bowl when Alabama is struggling. Hearing that often, I decided sometime back to do a little research. Here is what I found:

Over the 26 seasons (1982-2007) since Auburn broke Alabama's nine-game Iron Bowl win streak, it has won 16 from Alabama and lost 10. In the 25 years before that (1957-81), Alabama won 19 and lost six. From 1948, when the series was renewed, through 1956, Alabama won five and lost four.

Auburn's resurgence started when Pat Dye led the Tigers to a 23-22 win over Bear Bryant's final team in 1982.

Ten of Auburn's 16 wins in the past 26 years were over Alabama teams that finished those seasons with eight or more wins. Four were over Alabama teams that finished with 10 wins. Four were over Alabama teams that finished with losing records. Nine wins came over Alabama teams nationally ranked at the time the games were played. Four came over Alabama teams ranked in the top 10.

Conversely, of Alabama's 10 wins, five came against Auburn teams that finished with eight or more wins. None came over an Auburn team with 10 wins. Five came over Auburn teams nationally ranked at the time the games were played. Two came over Auburn teams ranked in the top 10. Three came over Auburn teams that finished those seasons with losing records.

Does that mean Auburn only beats Alabama when the Tide is "down?" You be the judge. …

Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp's name has come up in connection with vacant head coaching jobs at Ole Miss and Georgia Tech. It's too early to say just how high he might actually be on either school's list. But with jobs coming open in bunches, you'll probably hear his name again. Muschamp would certainly be interested in Ole Miss or Georgia Tech. There might be others that would interest him, though he's not going to take a job that doesn't give him a real chance to be successful. …

The questions surrounding Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville's future should be put to rest in the next day or two. It would be a huge surprise if he does anything other than agree to a contract extension and say he is committed to Auburn. …

Auburn cornerback Jerraud Powers has taken a lot of ribbing after being bitten by a police dog during last Saturday's 17-10 win over Alabama at Jordan-Hare Stadium. But the truth is there was no excuse for it happening. You have to wonder what a police dog wearing no muzzle was doing on the field in the first place. What if the dog had seriously injured Powers? Or what if a student had come on to the field after the game and actually been attacked?

Security is clearly necessary when more than 87,000 people pack Jordan-Hare Stadium. But there's no reason to have dogs on the field. Someone needs to make sure no such incident ever happens again. …

Until next time …


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