gfx-they-said-it4Gene Chizik's rapid rise and fall at Auburn make him one of if not the brightest shooting star in the history of SEC coaches.  Hired in 2009 after a 5-19 record at Iowa State; fired in 2012 after 3-9 season on the Plains.  But in between, a pair of 8-5 seasons sandwiched around a 14-0 BCS Championship season.  From the valley to the mountain top and back to valley all in five years.

Unfortunately for Chizik, much of the credit for his national title will always be given to quarterback Cam Newton -- himself a one-year flash on the SEC scene -- and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn.  It was Malzahn who replaced Chizik, of course, and he led the Tigers to a BCS title game of his own last year, before losing to Florida State.  Included in AU's SEC championship run was a shocking, last-play-of-the-game win over arch-rival Alabama at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Speaking on XM/Sirius satellite radio yesterday, Auburn's last football coach predicted his successor will finish 10-2 in 2014 with a pair of losses.  One will come at home to a "loaded" South Carolina team.  "I think South Carolina will get them," Chizik said.  The other will come at the hands of Nick Saban and Bama.  In such a heated rivalry, picking the Tide over the Tigers is likely to lead to charges of treason being aimed at the ex-Auburn man.  But his rationale is sound:


"That's almost one of those 50/50 deals.  If the game was at Auburn, I would pick Auburn."


Knowing how the Iron Bowl can bring on a case of the crazies in some folks -- example: Harvey Updyke -- Chizik's comment is still liable to earn him a nasty email or two.

(CORRECTION -- An earlier version of this story said Auburn will play at South Carolina.  South Carolina will actually play at Auburn.)