Under Bryan Harsin, Auburn football is in danger of becoming nonfactor

February 1, 2022

College football coaching tenures are like presidencies in that they’re usually better evaluated after they end, with the benefit of perspective.

Years from now, I wonder if Gus Malzahn’s Auburn tenure will be remembered this way: He was the coach the last time the Tigers were truly relevant in the SEC.

The narrative to support Auburn firing Malzahn in December 2020, at the cost of a $21.45 million buyout, went like this: Malzahn led Auburn to success early in his tenure, but his program was trending down and often failed to live up to preseason expectations. His once-innovative offense had also grown stale.

Given the rate at which Bryan Harsin, Malzahn’s successor, is failing, that narrative might soon modify to this: More often than not, Malzahn succeeded in one of the nation’s most challenging jobs.