AUBURN — Gus Malzahn hasn’t won enough amateur adjoin Auburn’s better rivals.
That is both a accepted criticism of his seven-year administration as arch drillmaster as able-bodied as — probably — a fact. Malzahn has won added amateur adjoin Alabama (three) than any drillmaster in academy football added than Les Miles since Nick Saban became the arch drillmaster in Tuscaloosa in 2007, but he’s alone 2-5 adjoin LSU and 2-6 adjoin Georgia.
Add in a two-game breach with Tennessee and a accident at Florida, and Auburn’s almanac adjoin its bristles best arresting SEC rivals aback 2013 is aloof 8-17. That mark is far worse than those of Ralph “Shug” Jordan, Pat Dye and Tommy Tuberville, who are the alone three Tigers arch coaches with a best administration than Malzahn aback the Iron Bowl became a abiding accoutrement on the agenda afresh in 1948.
Here’s how those four coaches’ resumes analyze to one another:
Auburn drillmaster Ralph “Shug” Jordan poses with All-SEC linebacker Bill Cody afore the 1965 season. (Photo: Contributed/Bill Cody)
Success on the acreage affairs added than annihilation abroad in academy football. Malzahn was the abhorrent coordinator during Auburn’s additional civic championship achievement in 2010 and led the affairs aback in his aboriginal division as arch coach, but in that respect, he still lags abaft his predecessors.
Jordan, Dye and Tuberville each left the job with academy all-embracing and appointment acceptable percentages than the program’s accepted arch drillmaster has activity into his eighth division at the helm. Anniversary accomplished with a acceptable almanac in the amateur that amount best to Auburn fans.
The Tigers aren’t appointed to face Florida afresh until 2024 and Tennessee until 2025, so Malzahn would accept ambit Alabama, Georgia and LSU in anniversary of the abutting three seasons aloof to ability .500 in animosity games. Accustomed the contempo success of those programs, that seems awful absurd no amount how able-bodied Auburn performs.
But Auburn is alone bisected the blueprint in those games. There are two teams on the field. How the added one was assuming should be considered. Wins over Alabama are consistently a acceptable affair on the Plains, but they’re added absorbing during the Saban era than they were from the backward ’90s through mid 2000s, back the Crimson Tide went aloof 67-55 during a 10-year amplitude beneath Mike DuBose, Dennis Franchione and Mike Shula.
So, with that in mind, let’s attending at how Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee fared on the acreage while Jordan, Dye and Tuberville were the arch coaches at Auburn, and how that compares to what Malzahn has faced.
NOTE: Not every drillmaster faced all of these teams every season. Jordan akin up with LSU alone four times in 25 seasons, and Malzahn has faced Florida alone already in seven. The annal beneath accommodate alone the seasons in which those schools had Auburn on the schedule.
As you can see, the all-embracing almanac of Auburn’s rivals accept risen with anniversary casual era, as accept the allotment of amateur adjoin them in which they were ranked.
Because of the SEC’s breach into capacity in 1992 and amplification in 2012, Malzahn has faced the Gators and Volunteers far beneath than any of his predecessors. But he’s the alone arch drillmaster in the SEC that has to face the Crimson Tide, Bulldogs and Bayou Bengals every season, and he has had to do it during absurd runs of success.
Alabama has won 11 or added amateur and absent two or beneath in every division aback Malzahn alternate to Auburn, authoritative four CFP Civic Championship amateur and acceptable two of them. Georgia accomplished with double-digit wins in bristles of the aftermost seven years and has won three after SEC East titles. LSU is advancing off one of the best seasons in academy football history, activity 15-0 and acceptable the civic championship abaft Heisman-winning quarterback Joe Burrow.
Combined, those three teams accept a .789 acceptable allotment over the accomplished seven seasons. They were ranked in 19 of the 22 amateur the Tigers played adjoin them, and in the top-10 in 14 of those 19. None has accomplished a division worse than 8-5 aback Malzahn became the arch drillmaster at Auburn. They’ve accumulated to win anniversary of the aftermost six SEC Championship games.
Former Auburn drillmaster Tommy Tuberville. (Photo: Advertiser File)
Jordan, Dye and Tuberville faced off adjoin affluence of great teams, too, of course. Bear Bryant led Alabama to four civic championships during the Jordan era. Dye faced off adjoin some of Vince Dooley’s best Georgia teams and Johnny Majors’ best Tennessee teams. Tuberville accomplished at Auburn during an era area LSU and Florida won two civic championships each. The Tigers’ successes beneath them should be celebrated.
But none of those coaches faced those teams at their accomplished akin as generally as Malzahn has. Neither Alabama or Georgia has had a accident division aback he became Auburn’s arch coach. The Crimson Tide accomplished .500 or worse four times during Tuberville’s tenure, and the Bulldogs alert during Dye’s.
That doesn’t alibi Malzahn’s almanac adjoin Auburn’s better rivals. Admirers appetite to see added wins adjoin those teams than the drillmaster authoritative added than $7 actor per division has accustomed them over the accomplished seven years, a desire that is alone agitated by how consistently successful they accept been on a civic level.
That success needs to be considered, though. There ability not be a tougher arch apprenticeship job in the country than the one Malzahn has at Auburn appropriate now.
Josh Vitale is the Auburn exhausted biographer for the Montgomery Advertiser. You can chase him on Twitter at @JoshVitale. To ability him by email, click here.
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