Two years ago, Auburn coach Gene Chizik was celebrating an undefeated season and a national championship. On Saturday, he coached his last game as the Tigers' head coach.
The dismissal of Chizik doesn't come as a surprise at all. Two years removed from a national championship, the Tigers ended the 2012 season 3-9 and went 0-8 in SEC play. It was Auburn's worst season since the Tigers went 3-8 overall and 1-7 in SEC play in 1998. It was also the first time Auburn went winless in SEC play since going 0-6 in 1980. The Tigers had never gone 0-8 against SEC opponents in a season.
The Tigers also finished the regular season near the bottom of the SEC in most major offensive and defensive categories and were outscored 340-224 this season, including 272-81 in SEC play.
It definitely didn't help that the Tigers suffered some absolutely embarrassing losses this season. A 63-21 loss to Texas A&M this season was the worst loss by Auburn since its 68-7 loss to Georgia Tech in 1917. Auburn was also shut out in its last two SEC games and was outscored 150-21 in its final three SEC contests. The Tigers have been outscored by archrival Alabama 91-14 in the past two years.
Although Auburn was relatively young this season, the product on the field wasn't getting better as the year went on, and two new coordinators didn't have much of a positive influence on the Tigers in games. With new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, the Tigers finished the season ranked 118th nationally in total offense (305 yards per game), and under new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, they ranked 84th in total defense (420.5).
Chizik finished his four-year Auburn career with a 33-19 record (with 14 of those wins coming during the 2010 season) and was 15-17 against SEC opponents. Since winning the national championship in 2010, the Tigers have gone just 11-14 and totally fell apart this fall. There just weren't enough positive signs for the future with Chizik in charge.
Check the SEC blog and ESPN.com for more on Chizik's firing.