It was all downhill for Terry Bowden after his first Auburn team went 11-0 in 1993. He resigned under pressure in 1998, after starting 1-6.
Tommy Tuberville never matched that undefeated run through 2004 and resigned under pressure after going 5-7 in 2008.
Gene Chizik was fired two years after winning the school’s first national title in 53 years, but posting the school’s worst season in 60 years will do that.
In one year, Malzahn has picked up Chizik’s pieces and led Auburn through a miracle-aided turnaround for the ages, but one-hit wonder? He was offensive coordinator in 2010, and many credit him more than Chizik for Auburn’s national title.
This year proves that Malzahn can do it without Cam Newton as his quarterback. The more-one-dimensional Nick Marshall, who didn’t arrive on campus until summer, is not quite Cam Newton.
Malzahn’s system is flexible and works. For all of its misdirection and formation dynamics, it’s based on time-tested, downhill running.
Rivals.com ranks his first full-year recruiting class ninth, so he can get good enough players to run his system at Auburn. Give him a year or two, and he just might have Auburn’s defense rebuilt.
Contact Sports Columnist Joe Medley at firstname.lastname@example.org.