Don't look now, but Saturday morning's game between Auburn and Arkansas may be a pivotal game in both the Auburn football program and Gene Chizik's career. Now before you start ranting, let me state that I do not believe that Gene Chizik's job is in jeopardy- you don't fire a good man and fine coach who won a national championship just over 18 months ago. But five years from now, Auburn fans may look back at Saturday's game and remember it was the turning point (for better or worse) for the program and for Chizik.
Here's the rub: The Arkansas Razorbacks come a callin' Saturday to face a 1-3 Auburn team that picked up it's only win in overtime against La-Monroe. If you have watched the Razorbacks this season, I say you have more guts than many. In two SEC games this season, Arkansas has been outscored 110-10. It's been so bad I'm thinking Mike Slive might consider replacing Arkansas in the SEC's western division with La-Monroe. John L. Smith's team has looked so bad you have to wonder if the Razorback nation would be willing to hire back Bobby Petrino and present him with a new motorcycle driven by Jessica Dorrell.
My point? The Auburn Tigers need to beat this hapless Arkansas team this weekend. If they don't? The Tigers will drop to 1-4, and with possible losses to LSU and Alabama in their future, the best Chizik can hope for is a 6-6 season. Would a 1-4 record bring out more of Chizik's critics? Certainly- but a win could be a first step in the Auburn nation gaining confidence and getting the ship sailing in the right direction.
If Chizik is looking for any more motivation to slap the Hogs, I ask you to recall John L. Smith's comments to the Little Rock Touchdown Club several days ago: Asked if he thought Bobby Petrino would ever coach again, Smith said "yes", and he mentioned that perhaps Petrino may wind up at... you've got it- Auburn! While none of us need JetGate to rear it's ugly head, Gene Chizik can perhaps prevent an ugly future by slamming the Razorbacks on Saturday.
Now for some thoughts swimming through my mind as I finish up my coffee: Asked about coaches Saban and Chizik, former Auburn coach Pat Dye told the Montgomery Touchdown club, "Nick Saban is the best coach in the country, but there aint a better man than Gene Chizik. I wouldn't trade one Gene Chizik for ten Nick Sabans". Was that shot at Saban? My co-hort Paul Finebaum thinks Dye should swear off the media forever- what's your take?...How about those video game offensive numbers put up on Saturday by numerous teams and athletes? Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel striking for 557 total yards against Arkansas. Georgia and Tennessee rolling up combined yards of over 1,000. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith passing for 656 yards and 8 TD's. While I absolutey love it, you and I know that defense wins championships- and while top-ranked Alabama had a less-than impressive win over Ole Miss, remember that the Rebels gained all of 218 yards against the Tide... Kudos to Bama quarterback AJ McCarron, who has now thrown 216 consecutive passes without a pick- that's an all-time school record... Said Nick Saban of the nice effort by Ole Miss against his team? "I told you they were talented, but nobody listens to me"....So UAB drops to 0-4 after a 49-42 loss to Tulsa- the reason? The Blazers gained a net total of one rushing yard on 35 carries... Attendance at the UAB game was listed as just over 13,000: If there were 13,000 people at Legion Field Saturday, I'm Bob Costas...The more I listen to Hoover coach Josh Niblett, the more he sounds like Nick Saban. His team is pretty good, too as the Bucs thrashed a very tough Vestavia Hills team 35-15 Friday night... Congrats to Gardendale's Jordan Howard, as he rushed for 198 yards Friday in a 31-30 win over Briarwood Christian, and QB Nick Mullens of Spain Park? How about 250 passing yards and 5 TD's in a 42-16 win over Lee-Montgomery... You heard it here first: Jimmie Johnson wins next weekend's Chase race at Talladega... If a NASCAR pit crew can change four tires in less than fifteen seconds, why am I waiting 3 hours in a tire wharehouse for my tires to be changed?... I don't want to ruin Chipper's party, but as good as that Atlanta Braves team looks, why do I get a nagging feeling the team will lose their wild card playoff series and go "one and done"?... Why does it happen every time I walk ino Subway sandwich shop? The person in front of me has that list out and he's ordering for the entire office... I tweeted NBC's Michelle Beadle to ask her what she thinks of the new judges on "American Idol"- she tweeted back "I still won't watch." Rememer, she works for NBC... finally, don't get too offended whenever you hear Charles Barkley say that there are too many fat people in Alabama. He admits he has long been one of them. He tells me he's proud of the 60 pounds he has lost on the Weight Watchers diet, and he's simply trying to motivate those who are a bit plump to scale back a bit.
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