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When Bryan Harsin stepped in as the head coach of Auburn football last December, he knew what he was getting into.
Harsin was stepping into a place where fans expected consistency and competitiveness. Tiger fans crave excellence in all phases of the game, but at the end of the year, there’s one thing Auburn fans want most: to beat Alabama.
Unfortunately, that’s hard to do.
Auburn has one of the most difficult jobs in college football because of the level of its rivals, and it’s hard for the Tigers to meet expectations that demand play on the same level of Georgia and Alabama when Auburn neither recruits nor coaches better than either of those schools at this point in time.
Lindsay Crosby of the ‘Locked on Auburn podcast‘ shared an interesting article with me written by ‘The Athletic.’ They just recently put out a list of their hardest Power Five jobs in college football, and Auburn was listed at seventh. The teams sitting in front of them included Vanderbilt, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Washington State, and Miami.
Here is what The Athletic had to say about Auburn.
Auburn is already a difficult job most years, as a less consistentl ysuccessful program in its own state and with a fan base that wants to compete for SEC titles. But in the current state of college football, where Georgia and Alabama rule the annual recruiting rankings, Auburn and Tennessee are the only schools that have to play both each year because of annual cross-division rivalry games.
“That’s like an 8-4 job where everyone there thinks they should be national champ contenders,” one Group of 5 administrator said.
Added one Group of 5 assistants: “The Tennessee and Auburn people are friggin’ vicious.”
It’s a tough gig, for sure. Auburn fans may not realize how good they have it as opposed to some of the other mid-tier teams in the SEC, but unfortunately “mid-tier” is not what fans are looking for. Harsin preached patience when he was hired, and he’s going to continue to need to preach it for the next couple of seasons.