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Auburn’s Malzahn Skirts Texas Talk, But SI.com Writer Is Right – He Should Go If Offered

AUFB Louisiana Tech AuburnHow’d ya like to be Mack Brown?  The guy still has a shot to win 10 games this season — if Texas upsets Baylor and wins its bowl — but all anyone wants to talk about is who will replace him.

Brown says he’s going nowhere.  In fact, his people have responded to rumors of boosters trying to push him out by suggesting the coach would sue anyone who tries to undermine him — a novel approach, to say the least.  But AD DeLoss Dodds is walking away.  That’s one less big Brown supporter in the Longhorns’ org chart.  And rumors persist that Brown will either step down or he shoved aside soon.

So yesterday, Pete Thamel of SI.com tried to play matchmaker between Texas and Gus Malzahn before the Horns have even divorced themselves from Brown.  His message to Malzahn was simple:

 

“Get out of Auburn as fast as you can.

There’s an expectation that the Texas job will open in the next few weeks.  According to a source, Malzahn has told friends privately that coaching the Longhorns is his dream job.  If confronted with the choice between Auburn and Austin, it’s a no-brainer move for Malzahn to bolt.  The best job in the Big 12 is a much more stable plan than The Plains, as even a play-caller of Malazahn’s acumen isn’t likely to make adjustments to historical trends.

History tells us that Auburn coaches — no matter how successful — don’t have long and stable professional careers.  Just as Terry Bowden, who started 11-0 in 1993.  Or Tommy Tuberville, who went 13-0 in 2004 after a failed coup to hire Bobby Petrino.  Or Gene Chizik, who got fired two seasons are going 14-0 and winning the national title.”

 

For his part, Malzahn danced around Thamel’s report when he was asked for a response.

“The response is, I’m tickled to death to be the head coach of the Auburn Tigers,” he said yesterday.  “I’m very blessed to be the head coach of the Auburn Tigers.  I really appreciate the guys that gave me this opportunity and believed in me.  We are playing for the SEC championship, so it’s been a good year.”

Yes, a good year.  But you may have noticed Malzahn did not in any way, shape or form deny Thamel’s suggestion that he would be interested in the Texas job.  Perhaps Malzahn is just trying to live by Chapter One of agent Jimmy Sexton’s playbook — “Milk outside interest and reports of outside interest for better contracts and bigger buyouts.”  Sexton is indeed Malzahn’s agent.

But heading into an SEC title game that could/should open a door to the BCS Championship Game, wouldn’t most coaches want to nix this type of distraction straight away?

Whether Thamel is right about the dream job thing or not, he nails the rest of his argument for splitting from Auburn.  It’s one of the least stable jobs in the SEC as evidenced recently by Chizik’s fast-as-lightning slide from king to fool.  Tiger fans won’t like to read this, but Auburn has been on major NCAA probation more times than any other SEC football program.  And no matter how good the Tigers become, they will always play second-fiddle to Alabama.  That rivalry is too heated for one team to stay on top record-wise for long.  Which means the default position is Alabama — the SEC’s winningest all-time program (with more than a few NCAA tussles of its own) — in the #1 spot.  The state is named Alabama, not Auburn.  So when folks think football in Alabama, “Alabama” will always be top of mind.  No way around that.

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Muschamp Plays Down Friendship With Fisher

When was the last time two rival coaches at two big-time football factories shared ownership of a beach house?  Before Florida hired Will Muschamp, it had probably never happened.  But Muschamp and his old friend Jimbo Fisher — Florida State’s coach — have shared ownership of a beach house in Panama City for about 10 years.

Just don’t think their old friendship is going to get in the way of the Sunshine Showdown.

“Who?” Muschamp answered when asked about Fisher by a fan at a Gator Club rally last night. 

“We won a lot of football games and competed every day,” he said of Fisher.  “Somebody said, ‘What’s it gonna be like competing?’  I said, ‘Well, we competed every day for about five years.’”

The two coaches worked together on Terry Bowden’s staff at Auburn in the 1990s and then served as Nick Saban’s offensive (Fisher) and defensive (Muschamp) coordinators at LSU from 2001 to 2004.

Both coaches have their own programs, their careers, and millions of dollars on the line these days.  They may have competed in the past, but their friendship has never had to withstand the competition they’re about to kick off in 2011.

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