Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss Auburn’s decision to fire head coach Bryan Harsin, and debate possible candidates for the open head coaching spot.
DAN WETZEL: Auburn fires Bryan Harsin. He is 6-7 in his career. He is owed $15,575,000. Not bad.
ROSS DELLENGER: No.
PAT FORDE: Good way to go.
DAN WETZEL: And now the Auburn job is free. Now I tallied this up-- December 13, 2020, they fired Gus Malzahn. They paid him $21.45 million. The "Opelika Auburn News" said that the assistants that they had to fire and staffers of Gus Malzahn was about $7.15 million.
You throw in this $15.575 million-- and we're not even getting to the Auburn staffers who have been fired-- we're at $44.2 million.
ROSS DELLENGER: How much NIL could that be used for? How many players? Man.
DAN WETZEL: Yeah. But to me, this number is, this is Auburn football. It's the best part of it. The place is rich. It's resourced. It has unbelievable passion. It's also impulsive, divided, and prone to self-sabotage. Is this not just Auburn at its best and worst?
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah, it really is.
DAN WETZEL: And very, most telling?
ROSS DELLENGER: It seems like every five years, Auburn is a circus, and it torpedoes itself in some way internally. And then every five years, Auburn seems to be competing for a championship and going undefeated.
It's amazing. It's part of the fabric. It's the fight song and the colors. It's Auburn booster involvement, board involvement. I mean, that's-- it's part of it.
And they claim that no longer, we're not going to do that, but you just keep hearing that. Every new AD that's hired, every new coach that's hired, you hear the same thing.
They've got a new president. He's been in Auburn for 30 years. He's got relationships with everybody there, the board and the boosters, I'm sure. I don't know if that's good or bad. I don't know. But I guess we'll find out soon enough because within the next year, we might have some other implosion.
DAN WETZEL: Candidates? Does The Lane Train do this? To me, if Lane wants it, it's going to be his. Kiffin? Crazy doesn't scare him.
ROSS DELLENGER: No, no.
PAT FORDE: Crazy attracts him.
ROSS DELLENGER: No, and I don't know that Nick Saban, coaching in the same state, I think Saban scares him, either. So you wonder if he would leave for a chance to go to a place where there are more resources, plain and simple.
And clearly if he sees the benefit, he wants to win a national championship and he doesn't think that he can do it at Ole Miss, certainly Auburn has proven there you can do it there.
Hugh Freeze, obviously, is a name that's linked to that job, was linked to it two years ago. I think part of the reason he maybe didn't get the job two years ago is because he hadn't done his time, so to speak, from the issues at Ole Miss.
DAN WETZEL: I don't think the Auburn fans care. I don't think most college football fans care. Because the guy has got an exciting offense, and if you can't get Lane Kiffin, let's get Hugh Freeze.
PAT FORDE: My conjecture-- and this is conjecture-- is he just agreed last week to a big new contract extension at Liberty. And I'm wondering if he knew that he wasn't going to be in the mix at Auburn, whether it was going to be Kiff or it was going to be somebody else, but it wasn't going to be him. And he's like, OK, now's the time to re-up.
If you know you're not going to get the job, then you might as well cozy up to what you got. And it's just actually a thought that he and Lane Kiffin have the same agent, so he might have some information.
ROSS DELLENGER: Good point.
PAT FORDE: True.
DAN WETZEL: All right, if he's not in or whatever, Deion Sanders, Coach Prime. He's got Jackson State headed for the first undefeated season in school history. He got the number one recruit in the country out of Atlanta.
I mean, he's a force of nature in it in Atlanta. Does Auburn fit him? It's a small town, rural. I don't know. Does he need a bigger city?
ROSS DELLENGER: That one just doesn't seem to fit for me. There are a lot of other places out there that I think Deion shtick would fit a lot better than a small SEC college town.
I don't necessarily see it. And I think for Auburn's perspective, too, it's still a risk. I mean, Auburn's a good enough job, probably the best job open this cycle, arguably, that they really don't need to take that big of a risk to hire someone whose first time really college coaching experience is in the SWAC.
And although they're doing great things, there's a lot of more in the pool, more experienced guys in the pool, only the higher level of coaching with much more coaching experience, the guys that we talked about. So that one just, I don't know, doesn't ring for me.