Auburn lost six of its last seven since the start of October, with the only win coming against Tennessee-Martin, but otherwise, Tuberville only went undefeated four years ago, beat the hated cross-state rival six times in a row and won 45 more games in 10 years than he lost, is all. Along with Phil Fulmer, let the corpse of Tuberville's tenure be a lesson to Lane Kiffin and fellow incoming mercenaries, and the existing mercenaries as well: Woe be unto the SEC coach who takes a wrong turn with his offensive coordinator hire. Half-hearted transitions and young quarterbacks buried two of the longest-serving and most successful coaches in the country in a matter of a few weeks.
Expect the phone calls from Mississippi State to begin right ... about ... now.
Rumors are already flying about Tubs' successor, starting with one very intriguing name and one very ... let's say ... familiar name possibly waiting in the wings:
An unofficial Auburn representative has reached out to people close to Arkansas' Bobby Petrino and Texas Tech's Mike Leach to gauge their interest in succeeding Tommy Tuberville if the school decides to fire him, a source familiar with the contacts told The Birmingham News.
Those contacts took place before talks between Tuberville and Auburn officials about the coach's future resumed today.
Three sources close to the Leach camp said the Texas Tech coach would consider Auburn if the job were open.
One source close to the Petrino camp said Auburn's window to hire him all but closed last year when he left the Atlanta Falcons for Arkansas.
Leach is just interesting, for the same reasons he was an interesting candidate at Tennessee, especially for another traditionally conservative program that just got badly burned by its attempt to ride the spread wave. But Petrino, of course, was the target of the infamous Planegate in 2003, from which Tuberville emerged triumphant with the public shaming and resignation of president William Walker and athletic director David Housel and a 13-0 season the following fall. Firing Tuberville would be one thing, but if you really want to wound the man, to rub it in his face, there's probably no better man for the job than Petrino, mercenary par excellence.
Remember also that the Birmingham News is also the paper that got the "Rich Rodriguez-to-Alabama" story completely wrong in 2006, which may be a rather petty thing to bring up two years after the fact. But fool us twice, etc.