Auburn and LSU tangle Saturday in what some are calling the “Hot Seat Bowl.”
The thought is that the losing coach – be it Gus Malzahn or Les Miles -- may be headed to a firing at the end of the season.
Miles lost to Alabama for the fifth straight time last season and some big-money boosters wanted him out. Then on the night of the final regular season game, with Miles prepared to give his resignation speech, he was carried off the field by his players after a 19-7 victory over Texas A&M
In the dressing room later, Miles learned that the school president had decided at halftime not to fire him after all.
What about Malzahn? There was no question about his job security three years ago after beating Alabama and coming within 13 seconds of winning the BCS national championship over Florida State.
But times have changed and now Malzahn is fighting for his job as LSU comes to Auburn as a 3.5-point favorite.
Last April, Athletics Director Jay Jacobs extended Malzahn’s contract by one year, saying, “We want Coach Malzahn to be at Auburn for a long time.”
Jacobs also said, “The future of Auburn football is very bright,” and University President Jay Gouge expressed his support.
Gouge has since announced his retirement, effective when a Board of Trustees search committee finds his replacement.
If Malzahn is fired, he could ride off into the sunset with a multi-million dollar settlement and retire. But he’s a football coach, that’s what he does, and I have no doubt he would coach again.
The same goes for Miles.
And Auburn and LSU could be competing for the same guys to be their head coach: Tom Herman of Houston or Lane Kiffin of Alabama.
Wayne Hester is retired after a journalism career of more than 40 years. He is a former sports editor of The Anniston Star and The Birmingham News. Email him at email@example.com.