This morning I feel a bit like I did last Thursday when I sat down for Thanksgiving dinner- there's just too much on my plate. From the Iron Bowl breakdown, to the SEC Championship game to the Gene Chizik dismissal, this past weekend certainly left me with lots to digest. But after spending 17 hours at Auburn Sunday, eventually chasing the story of the day, I thought I'd tell you why the Auburn folks might be in better shape in landing a new coach than may think: A man named Bo Jackson.
At first glance, the timing of the Gene Chizik dismissal was poor. Yes, Chizik, while a good man, had to go, but the talent pool of available head coaches is not very deep and the list of other schools looking for coaches is as deep as ever. Searching for a new coach? Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Cal, Purdue, Colorado, NC State, Boston College and others. For the newly-former Auburn search committee, finding a top-notch coach is certainly possible, but it will take work. I liken it a bit to bass fishing on a cold winter day. You're not going to land a 5-lb largemouth by tossing a crankbait into the lake and hoping for the best. While a lunker can be snared, it may take patience and work finding that bass that lies in deep water.
While some insist this Auburn job would nab a middle-of-the-road rating- while others insist there are too many cooks in the Auburn kitchen that make decisions difficult to make, I think this Auburn job is a very good one. And the man to lead the Auburn nation back to relevance? Bo.
Auburn Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs has announced a search committee consisting of himself, Mac Crawford, Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson. With all due respect to the other three gentleman (So Jay Jacobs really kept his job?), it's the man was once the greatest athlete in the world that has the weight of the Auburn nation's shoulders upon him.
Vincent Jackson grew up in tiny McCalla, Alabama as tremendous baseball, football and track star. An admitted punk in childhood, Bo grew to become the most beloved athlete in Auburn sports history. Today, Bo's business empire is considerable, and his charity work admirable. Now, Bo looks to lead the way in landing a "splash" hire. Petrino? Malzahn? Smart? Strong? When Bo talks, people listen. He's far from a "suit", but when this man sits in a conference room and brings his thoughts to the table, watch out. This is a man who does not have time for small talk, BS, or Auburn family favors. This is Bo Jackson, ready to "Just Do It." So when Bo Jackson tells the committee what coach will lead the Tigers, not too many arguments will follow.
It was 30 years ago when Bo went over the top at Legion Field, changing the balance of power of an Iron Bowl series that saw Coach Bryant and Alabama win nine straight. Bo's short TD run gave Auburn fans hope and confidence in showing the world that those big bad folks from Tuscaloosa weren't the only folks around who could play a little football.
Yes, it's time to "Fear The Bo": Over the next few weeks, the former Heisman winner will once again be called upon to take the Tigers over the top- and while that rascal named Saban really has it going at the Capstone, Bo's hire could help put the Tigers program back on top. Three decades ago Auburn fans cheered wildly for number 34- they're cheering wildly for him again.