Adams: Auburn makes it easier for Alabama

College football has enjoyed a great laugh at Auburn's expense for the last month. To the detached observer, it has been almost as funny as watching Ohio State unravel in a big game.

But Auburn's self-inflicted misfortune isn't quite as laughable if you're a card-carrying member of the SEC. That has nothing to do with fraternal concern. It's about checks and balances.

The rest of the SEC West - and the conference as a whole to a lesser degree - is far better off when Auburn can check Alabama and vice-versa. Now, after one bizarre season, the rivalry looks terribly out of whack.

Contrast Alabama's sudden supremacy with what was going on in August. The Tigers began the 2008 season with a six-game winning streak over their arch-rival and the favorite's role in the SEC West. Since then, the Friendliest Village on the Plains has been the Wackiest Village on the Plains.

Auburn's new offensive coordinator was shown the door by mid-season. Its starting quarterback lost his job. Its head coach lost his job.

And then, things really went south.

Within weeks of firing Tommy Tuberville, Auburn hired Gene Chizik, who spent the last two years trying to turn the Big 12 into the Big 11. Iowa State went 2-10 this season, gave up 49 points or more three times - and didn't play Texas or Oklahoma.

Last month, Auburn had a coach with a track record for beating its arch-rival, holding his own against Nick Saban and being at his best in the games that mattered most. It has replaced him with a coach who couldn't hold his own against Mike Sherman.

It's almost enough to make Alabama fans feel sorry for Auburn. Just kidding.

The rest of the West should feel sorry for itself.

Saban has been on the job only a couple of years, and Alabama is 12-1 and playing in a BCS bowl. Auburn is 5-7, with a 2-10 coach, and with its loudest alum - Charles Barkley - angrily playing the race card to a national audience.

Should make for an interesting in-state recruiting battle, huh?

In fact, it should be about as interesting as the SEC West next season. Arkansas is just getting started under Bobby Petrino, Mississippi State is starting over again, and LSU just went 7-5 after running out of Saban's recruits. Who's supposed to challenge Alabama for the championship? Ole Miss?

Alabama's next team will be more talented than this one. Its next schedule will be easier. Its toughest road game will be at Ole Miss. It won't play Georgia or Florida from the East.

Where are the checks? Where's the balance?

If Saban ever laughed, he would be laughing fiendishly now. He might as well start game-planning for the SEC championship game this summer. That's two weeks preparation for Florida and two days for Georgia. He could prepare for Auburn on a coffee break - if he took coffee breaks.

The irony is that Auburn had the best Saban antidote on the market. Tuberville split two games against Saban at Alabama, and won three of five games against Saban when Saban was at LSU.

Now, Tuberville is out of the picture, and the state of Alabama belongs to Saban. So does the SEC West.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnew.com.

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Comments » 42

TommyJack writes:

Excellent piece. What's good for Bama is bad for us. Chizak is good for Bama.

CoverOrange writes:

Interesting analysis John. Just as Phil was given another chance after 2005, Tubby deserved another. But life is not about fairness.

bobbarbilly writes:

I hope that Coach Tuberville lands on his feet at a quality school.

CoverOrange writes:

Dang, Indy defense didn't show up again, huh.

ScoobyDoo writes:

I'm not ready to jump on the "racism" bandwagon, but the hiring of Chizik is at best a demonstration of small-mindedness. Even if they weren't going to hire Turner Gill, I would've taken Brian Kelly or Mike Leach or, to paraphrase a favorite phrase of John Ward, "a whole host" of other coaches over Chizik. I feel much better about UT's approach to hiring Kiffin.

Should Tuberville have gotten another chance? I wouldn't personally have fired him this year, but he surely hasn't shown the ability to win conference championships, and it seems they under-achieve fairly often. I would've given him another year, but it isn't the merciless act that some in the national media have portrayed it.

Anyway, let's hope WE can capitalize on the vacuum at Auburn and get a few recruits. Looks like Miles is recruiting well, but LSU fans are not happy right now...

FWBVol writes:

I've been following SEC football for most of my 50 years and on the surface this is one of, if not the worst hire in my lifetime.

At least someone like Ray Geoff at Georgia didn't have a record as a head coach to look at and for distractors to rip.

Chizik was 5-19 at Iowa State and lost his last 10 games. By the end of a guy's second year things should be looking up a little. That obviously wasn't the case for the Cyclones.

byobbio writes:

Adams:
Dude, you write these articles in the safety and security of your laptop computer somewhere in a room upstairs in West Knoxville, I'm sure. You talk tough. Actually, you throw out your insults at some unsuspecting victim, then run back into your little cubby hole. Now that you've written every article labeling Fulmer as Satan, you've had to go all the way to Alabama to find another poor soul to pick on. Anybody who would consider your work relevant is an idiot.
BYOBBIO

Volfan1 writes:

Tuscaloosa John is at it again!
Adams, please move to Bama or Louisiana.

Urbiewerecomingtogetyou writes:

Good job

dvols writes:

dont believe everything you read

WeLoveTennesseeVols writes:

in response to bobbarbilly:

I hope that Coach Tuberville lands on his feet at a quality school.

John Adams , the cat, lands on his feet this time also. Another liberal who twists the facts to his own ends, Adams again toots the songs to his own countenance. What a joke of a writer. What a joke. If a really good writer came along, Adams wouldn't like to see him.

stevefrommemphis writes:

One of my maxims of football: "A strong Auburn means a weakened Alabama." Turmoil at Auburn is very bad for Tennessee. We share a common enemy.

BuckFama writes:

"Adams: Auburn makes it easier for Alabama"

Interesting headline in that Chizik has not coached a single game versus the tide as head coach of the Tigers.

If I were a sports editor (and admittedly, I'm not) I hope that I would base my articles upon some hard evidence. For example, based upon what I've seen occur in terms of sports writing in the state of Tennessee, the following headline would be appropriate:

"With John Adams Acting as its Sports Editor, KNS Continually Scooped on Breaking Sports News by Jimmy Hyams, Chris Low of ESPN.com, and The Tennessean".

Verbose, perhaps, but definitely evidence-based.

mpm80#1357758 writes:

i bet clemsons lookin at tommy pretty good rite bout now

Smokey57 writes:

Gene Chizik has been crucified by the media for one reason, his record at Iowa State. That in and of itself is no guarantee he won't be successful at AU.
Although IMO Auburn may have made a better choice for their new coach, he deserves, at the very least, a chance to prove himself before he is summarily crucified.
Wouldn't it be refreshing if these sportswriters were held to the same standards of hiring as college coaches- having the coaches express their opinions of the worthiness of, say, John Adams?

99gator writes:

why are y'all beating adams down for saying what everyone is or should be thinking. not to mention, the little problem that he happens to be right.

tennessee plays bama yearly. auburn good, bama bad.....good for tennessee. bama good, auburn bad.....bad for tennessee.

does anyone not see the pendulum swinging in bama's favor.

that's all adams' point is.

he could also write an article about lsu and auburn trending down and bama trending up being bad for tennessee. since, florida plays lsu yearly and georgia plays auburn yearly.

would that be a tuscaloosa john issue too?

jsm67vol writes:

Charles Barkley is an idot! This is one reason that I'm glad UT didn't interview Turner Gill. Don't get me wrong, I think Turner is a great coach. IMO if you interview Turner Gill but decide he is not the best fit for your program and don't hire him, then you are potrayed as a racist. UT didn't even interview, but one black espn commentor did all but say that UT is racist. He said T. Gill was much more qulified than Kiffin for the UT job. The point is the best fit for the program is not always the best coach on paper. Many on here bashed Hamilton for the Kiffin hire at the outset. Hammy's decision is looking smarter every day. These so called fans crying racism at Auburn need look at what they are actually doing to their favorite school. They are not helping the cause of improving the program. They are in fact hurting Auburns chances of improving. I received my degree from UT and Hammy doesn't call me out publicly regarding the people I hire or fire when I make those decisions, and I for one did not criticise Hammy for his decision to fire Fulmer and hire Kiffin. But imagine how badly it would have hurt our chances with some recruits and current players if Peyton had publicly criticized UT for not hiring or even interviewing Gill. IMO Barkley is not just hurting his alma mater, he is actually hurting Gills chances at a better job. I think some schools will steer from interviewing Gill for fear that if they do, they will have to hire him even if he is not the best candidate for fear of having to go through what Auburn is right now if they don't hire him. I'm not saying Gill was or was not the best candidate for Auburn, just that its the ADs job to make that decision and do what he feels is best. Unfortunately, if you don't make the decision that a former basketball player wants then you are labeled a racist. People like Barkley, Sharpton, J. Jackson are the biggest obstacles to race relations today IMO.

volnsc writes:

Well, if Adams thinks the hire was stupid, it must have been brilliant.

volroadwarrior writes:

in response to jsm67vol:

Charles Barkley is an idot! This is one reason that I'm glad UT didn't interview Turner Gill. Don't get me wrong, I think Turner is a great coach. IMO if you interview Turner Gill but decide he is not the best fit for your program and don't hire him, then you are potrayed as a racist. UT didn't even interview, but one black espn commentor did all but say that UT is racist. He said T. Gill was much more qulified than Kiffin for the UT job. The point is the best fit for the program is not always the best coach on paper. Many on here bashed Hamilton for the Kiffin hire at the outset. Hammy's decision is looking smarter every day. These so called fans crying racism at Auburn need look at what they are actually doing to their favorite school. They are not helping the cause of improving the program. They are in fact hurting Auburns chances of improving. I received my degree from UT and Hammy doesn't call me out publicly regarding the people I hire or fire when I make those decisions, and I for one did not criticise Hammy for his decision to fire Fulmer and hire Kiffin. But imagine how badly it would have hurt our chances with some recruits and current players if Peyton had publicly criticized UT for not hiring or even interviewing Gill. IMO Barkley is not just hurting his alma mater, he is actually hurting Gills chances at a better job. I think some schools will steer from interviewing Gill for fear that if they do, they will have to hire him even if he is not the best candidate for fear of having to go through what Auburn is right now if they don't hire him. I'm not saying Gill was or was not the best candidate for Auburn, just that its the ADs job to make that decision and do what he feels is best. Unfortunately, if you don't make the decision that a former basketball player wants then you are labeled a racist. People like Barkley, Sharpton, J. Jackson are the biggest obstacles to race relations today IMO.

You are exactly on target. Barkleys's big mouth is unfair to Gill who is an excellent coach. We don't know the whole story. Gill might not have wanted to come to Auburn.

There are many excellent black coaches. Two were in the Super Bowl at the same time a year or so ago. Yes, it has been more difficult for them to get a foot in the door, but let's not make it worse.

TommyJack writes:

in response to 99gator:

why are y'all beating adams down for saying what everyone is or should be thinking. not to mention, the little problem that he happens to be right.

tennessee plays bama yearly. auburn good, bama bad.....good for tennessee. bama good, auburn bad.....bad for tennessee.

does anyone not see the pendulum swinging in bama's favor.

that's all adams' point is.

he could also write an article about lsu and auburn trending down and bama trending up being bad for tennessee. since, florida plays lsu yearly and georgia plays auburn yearly.

would that be a tuscaloosa john issue too?

Exactly my point. The JA haters on here just jump on the bandwagon without reading the article. Adams made great points. Good for Bama = bad for TN. Not Korean calculus.

jdogg44 writes:

I agree with LeBron James, "Charles Barkley is stupid."

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Exactly my point. The JA haters on here just jump on the bandwagon without reading the article. Adams made great points. Good for Bama = bad for TN. Not Korean calculus.

Is Ms Weatherbottom still teaching Korean calculus at Boerne Normal?

She was a terror.

TommyJack writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Is Ms Weatherbottom still teaching Korean calculus at Boerne Normal?

She was a terror.

Retired. Now taught by Miss Jong-ill.
259 days til W.KY. Many doldrums in betwixt.

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

in response to 99gator:

why are y'all beating adams down for saying what everyone is or should be thinking. not to mention, the little problem that he happens to be right.

tennessee plays bama yearly. auburn good, bama bad.....good for tennessee. bama good, auburn bad.....bad for tennessee.

does anyone not see the pendulum swinging in bama's favor.

that's all adams' point is.

he could also write an article about lsu and auburn trending down and bama trending up being bad for tennessee. since, florida plays lsu yearly and georgia plays auburn yearly.

would that be a tuscaloosa john issue too?

99,

Don't go bringing logic and reason in here....you know it most likely will not be tolerated....you know by now that baseless opinion and rants are more the norm on this board...LOL!

olozbal#646632 writes:

As a guy who hires and fires people all the time, I feel bad because this is a lose lose for Auburn. Obviously mine is non sports related but the same things apply. Your resume (in their case W-L record or pedigree like USC) gets you in the door but it's a ton of other things that get you the job. They interviewed a wide group of folks which means they cast a wide net in their search.

None of us were in the room when these folks interviewed, and in the end it's the hiring manager's decision yes or no. In the end you have to trust that your hiring manager is not using things like racism to make the hire. If you don't trust him/her then they shouldn't be your hiring manager. The folks at Auburn aren't morons, despite being portrayed as such, somewhere along the way there was someone who said "This guy is our guy, I just know it". I've been there, and this is the problem with the whole racist charge. You've got zero defense other than "trust me I'm not racist". If this guy turns out to be a dud then fire the hiring manager. That's why they get paid so much.

TommyJack writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Fair point. but based on their respective locations, which coach will have a recruiting edge? Chizak or Kiffin? Seems to me Chizak has a tougher row to hoe.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Maybe next Oct 3rd we'll find out if we give a Chizik.

I hope by then geezer-powered "D" will be stopping the likes of the 97 yd drive by the Ga Dawgs. Bet we'll see DBs man up on the wide-outs. Dawgs follow Aubie.

Bet we'll also see some more roiling.

Volfan1 writes:

The only problem with the "logic" of Adams' article making sense in that "bama good = tennessee bad" idea is that Tennessee is NEVER mentioned in the article.
It is solely an article promoting Alabama coming from the Knoxville paper....hardly a positive thought for people who bleed, and want to read, Orange.
It's obvious things are going well for Bama. That's not calculus for any fan. But does Tuscaloosa John feel the urge to rub it in the faces of Tennessee fans? I know, it's a rhetorical question.

invisiblekid writes:

in response to DukeDeLuca:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How many games did Chizik coach against Mike Shanahan, Norv Turner, Herm Edwards, Tony Dungy, and Jeff Fisher among others?

Chizik's teams lost to the likes of UNLV, Baylor, Kent St., and Northern Iowa. As a defensive specialist, his team gave up less than 28 points 1 time this year.

Disparage Kiffin all you want, but to do it by trying to compare him to Chizik in anything but their overall records to this point is a stretch.

Volunatic writes:

in response to WeLoveTennesseeVols:

John Adams , the cat, lands on his feet this time also. Another liberal who twists the facts to his own ends, Adams again toots the songs to his own countenance. What a joke of a writer. What a joke. If a really good writer came along, Adams wouldn't like to see him.

Adams is a liberal? Where did you find any evidence of his political leanings?
He works for a newspaper that has endorsed a republican for president in every election since at least '80. (I didn't read KNS in '76, so I don't know about then.)

TheVolMan writes:

in response to WeLoveTennesseeVols:

John Adams , the cat, lands on his feet this time also. Another liberal who twists the facts to his own ends, Adams again toots the songs to his own countenance. What a joke of a writer. What a joke. If a really good writer came along, Adams wouldn't like to see him.

WeLoveTennesseeVols, sounds like a tough year for you with Fulmer being run out of town and Obama winning. Stay bitter!

senracjr writes:

Again,isn't there some way to block Gator fans from this site?

murrayvol writes:

in response to senracjr:

Again,isn't there some way to block Gator fans from this site?

With a couple of notable exceptions I wouldn't want to do that.....even if we could.

They usually bring something to the table and UF sets the bar for the SEC. Bring em on!

murrayvol writes:

in response to RobtheVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Different guy Naffy. But you knew that didn't you?

volbald writes:

Always enjoyed Auburn having a good team and giving Ala. and Fla. fits. But hiring a 2-11 coach! Lean years ahead for War Eagle. Chizic must have been a prodigy at DC under Tuberville. Tuberville was/is an a-- but usually whipped a winning seaon out of his assistant coaches. He and Fulmer were both too awestruck by the once-in-a-decade success which Meyer has had with his option-spread-short pass, long pass, fast run offense amd hired gimmick OCs who cost them their head coaching jobs. Remember Fla. lost 4 games last year - but then Tebow had a broken hand. Meyers has Tebow and no other school in the SEC has had anyone close. Appalchian State did have a smaller, faster version. Maybe Bolling Green hired Clawson because his former Richmond team got into the playoffs again. It's currently running and passing all over Montana. We lost to Wyoming didn't we? If Nutt stays at Ole Miss, look for the Rebels to give Ala. a run for their money next season. Watching the post-season replays, Ole Miss really started looking impressive in the last half of the season and played like they had talent and coaching. Never thought Nutt was as good as he should have been at Ark. - how could you ever lose a game with McFaddin and Jones in the backfield?

Vawlfanpreandpost writes:

John I have to say I love the shot at Ohio State.

CRIMSON_NATION writes:

in response to bama987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are so right Bama! We are back in a big way and Auburn making such a bad hire just means we will dominate the Iron Bowl again next year and hopefully many years to come. I am still in a state of shock by this hire.

ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!

chefjorge writes:

So let me get this straight. The conservative media doesn't twist facts to its own ends? That's odd. I was unaware of it.

99gator consistently brings some of the most intelligent rhetoric to these forums. Why would we want to exclude him.

joeaubie writes:

To those of you who said give Chizik a chance, I say thanks and I agree. I've been saying the same thing about the Kiffin hire.

To those of you who need us to beat up on Bama for your benefit, isn't that a like a whiddle boy hiding behind big brother b/c he's scared of the bully?

To you Bammers, we'll see...Nobody is scared of the Tahd, except for your mullets

adamsck#591720 writes:

This is the kind of useless snivelling distribe we've come to expect from Adams. A couple of recent articles attributed to him made me think he'd been replaced. Good to know the status quo is in effect.

Hey genius, if we play Bama every year and they are in the West then what difference does it make to us? If we win the games we should we play the best from the West. If that's Bama it means they were the best. If not it means the West's best beat Bama. I guess that' too simple for Genius John.

Take a long break John. Maybe you can move over to the Bama paper with this kind of insightful piece.

trace5254 writes:

Great article. Auburn will pay for this hire for the next 5-7 years.

And hopefully a few Tenn prospects will read this article. We could use more Tenn guys like Donta Hightower and Barrette Jones- - keep em coming!

Roll Tide

leedsvol2007 writes:

I believe right now Bama and LSU are poised to battle it out for the West for several years. Mainly because of available talent.

The last few years the state of Alabama has been producing top 100 players and top 250 players in for a small state exceptional numbers. Saban is going to get virtually all of them. He can coach and he will have the talent.

LSU likewise has a state currently producing athletes and is close to the East Texas border where a lot of outstanding players come from.

Miles will take Fulmer's place as the whipping boy for having great talent and not developing it but don't sell them short. Ryan Perriloux was supposed to be their QB this year and he was kicked off the team. They have two guys who look like they have All-SEC potential and they replaced a secondary that has guys starting in NFL as rookies with freshmman and sophomores. Look for that defense to be a lot better next year. LSU should be back and roaring next season.

Auburn does need to have a strong coach to siphon talent from Bama. If Saban gets the vast majority of Alabama High School talent look out they will be tough.

GoVols!

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