Why Vanderbilt could cost Gene Chizik his job

No matter what happens on the field this weekend you can be sure that when the final whistle sounds James Franklin will be much happier with life than Auburn coach Gene Chizik. While Franklin is slowly building Vanderbilt into a viable program for the first time in the schools long history, Chizik is seemingly on the hottest of hot seats with only weeks left to save his job.

If you had suggested this situation to anyone in the football world as little as 21 months ago they would have laughed you out of town. Chizik was fresh off of riding Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton to BCS glory in Arizona as the Auburn Tigers were proclaimed College Football National Champions. This was supposed to be the beginning of a era when the Tigers would consistently challenge Alabama, LSU, and Florida for top dogs both in the SEC and the nation, but for some reason it never happened.

Since that magical day the Tigers are a miserable 9-10. This year they are 1-5 and coming off a loss to an Arkansas team which has no stability, direction, or worth in the SEC. Their opponents in the desert that night in 2011, Oregon, have gone on to become one of the most interesting stories in college football, with brash style and flashy uniforms making their program stand out from the crowd. Auburn literally faded into obscurity the moment that Cam Newton became a Carolina Panther.

So this is where Gene Chizik stands in 2012. He has six games left to save his job and of those six the Vanderbilt game could be the deciding factor. With three games left against ranked teams (along with two patsies) the Commodores game presents the lone challenge left which will show the powers that be that Chizik still has it in him to get his players to play for him.

If James Franklin can out-motivate and out-coach Chizik this Saturday and Vanderbilt is able to take down the Tigers then the odds are good that there will be a different coach in Auburn in 2013. Let's just hope it is not Franklin himself.

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