Since his hiring in December, the detractors of Auburn's new head coach Gene Chizik have been legion (and we count ourselves among them). Derided in print, on air, and throughout the blogosphere as "5-19 Gene," the former Iowa State skipper will have a host of skeptics to impress with a quickness in September.
But fear not, Gene, for in your corner stands a guardian angel and a prophet in the form ex-Auburn darling and new North Alabama coach Terry Bowden, maestro of 20 conseuctive AU wins after taking over in 1993-94, who looks at Gene Chizik and sees ... the next Terry Bowden:
Terry Bowden has been back in Alabama for only five and a half months, but he's heard it, and he can't believe it.
The cynicism. The sarcasm. The absolute dismissal of a coach who's yet to lead his new team onto the field when it counts.
Bowden has a message for all the doubters and haters.
Don't count him out. Don't write him off.
Who? Bowden at North Alabama?
No. Gene Chizik at Auburn.
"Gene Chizik could not be any more unusual a hire than me from Samford," Bowden said. "That little 36-year-old I-AA coach, to take over for Pat Dye, who was one of the top icons in this state, and they hired a little ole guy from Samford."
You heard it here first, Tiger fans. How hard can resurrecting a reeling program with two separate baffling, unpopular hires in consecutive decades be? The stars are aligned, a Bowden has spoken and Alabama just got put back on probation. It's 1993 all over again!
Five years for you at Auburn it is, and we'll be expecting back-to-back 10-win seasons right out of the gate. This will be immediately followed by a decade of vacation as a middle-tier media type and eventually a new life bringing funds and prestige to [Directional Tech]. (We'll also be expecting you to pull your weight around these parts.) You've got your marching orders; now come back in January when you've won the Bear Bryant Award. No pressure! (And don't forget to shut the door real quiet on your way out in 2016.)