Two things are running their course right now: the Auburn Tigers are sitting on a 4-3 record, making Gus Malzahn’s seat easily the hottest in the Southeastern Conference; and former Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze is attempting to rehabilitate his image with a re-entry into actual football coaching after both NCAA and personal scandals ended his successful tenure at Ole Miss.
Those are two very different sentences.
As things are wont to go at this point, there exists only one logical conclusion to these two stories of import, and that’s that Freeze will wind up being the head coach at Auburn University. This may be by the end of 2018 or as late as in the midst of some bizarre, only-in-the-SEC scandal that clouds the 2021 season (think Southern gothic here: like a booster’s will is being fought over and it leads to, among other things, a governor’s resignation).
Either way, we all know where this is going. Auburn is gonna hire Hugh Freeze.
My argument for this is simple: close your eyes right now and picture Freeze coaching the Auburn Tigers. Seems natural, doesn’t it? Picture them firing Malzahn and making up for his 40-something million dollar buyout. Now picture them doing literally anything else than hiring Freeze. It doesn’t make sense, does it?
Hugh Freeze is an excellent offensive coach and recruiter, who has several years of SEC head coaching experience under his belt. He is used to recruiting at a high level, and has coached teams that have beaten Alabama—twice! Freeze, like Malzahn, was the head coach of Arkansas State before getting hired by an SEC school. He also is very much #online at all moments. Is there anything else that Auburn wants? Is there anything else that Auburn needs? No, I posit, to which you undoubtedly agree.
Auburn could lose a whole mess of games this season. They could very, very feasibly lose to Ole Miss on Saturday. They did just lose to Tennessee! Tennessee, a team that hasn’t beaten an SEC team since beating Missouri in November of 2016. And Auburn lost to them at home, no less. With Texas A&M, Alabama, and Georgia remaining on the schedule after this weekend, it’s completely reasonable to suggest that Auburn is, at best, a 6-6 team in 2018.
Does that get Gus fired? It does if Hugh Freeze is available, which he will be, because he’s coaching in a league that exists only technically, and almost definitely fleetingly. Auburn would love to have Freeze. He’ll be the X’s and O’s, offensively-minded football coach they want, and has the “beating Alabama” and “aw shucks”-ing his way around town quality that Auburn loves. You know how Malzahn won the Iron Bowl and then celebrated at a Waffle House? You know how campy and endearing that was? He got that sincere folksiness from Freeze. Gus didn’t build that.
So, again, Auburn is going to hire Hugh Freeze. This move will be similar enough to Auburn’s hiring of Tommy Tuberville to warrant this now obligatory comparison. So here it is: this will be similar to Auburn’s hiring of Tuberville. It will make Ole Miss fans mad. Auburn fans will like it. Freeze will recruit a Nkemdiche and tweet something like this:
And it will all make sense because Auburn is going to hire Hugh Freeze.