Time may be running out on Auburn coach Gene Chizik and USC coach Lane Kiffin.
Reports that Chizik will lose his job have been rampant as Auburn’s worst season in decades goes from bad to worse. Now, the website 247Sports.com, citing anonymous sources, reports that Auburn president Jay Gogue has told members of the Board of Trustees that he is preparing to possibly dismiss Chizik.
According to 247Sports.com, Gogue talked to board members about forming a committee to help with the process of firing Chizik and naming a new head coach “within days after the end of the season …”
The website named Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson as a possible candidate to replace Chizik.
Kiffin, meanwhile, is on shaky ground after the Trojans announced they had been reprimanded and fined by the Pac-12 because a student manager deflated several footballs during the Trojans’ 62-51 loss to Oregon on Saturday.
Writes Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times:
On the field, this team with unbeaten talent is 6-3 while gaining national recognition mostly for reckless penalties and questionable play-calling.
Off the field, Kiffin has dragged the team through an array of distractions and ethics dilemmas that have tarnished the athletic department’s sterling post-probation image cultivated by Athletic Director Pat Haden.
Kiffin was not hired by Haden, and there is now real doubt about his ability to keep his job beyond this season as the department sinks deeper into embarrassment.
Although Kiffin denied knowing about the ball-deflating incident, he has been involved in several other questionable moves: He stopped allowing visiting teams to use the L.A. Coliseum the day before a game for traditional walk-throughs; banned a reporter for writing about injuries, before Haden reversed the ban; and changed numbers during games — a possible rules violation.
It appear, however, that Kiffin will at least finish out the season. The same may not be true for Chizik, whose team is 2-7, winless in the SEC and is facing No. 5 Georgia Saturday night. Could a beatdown by the Bulldogs seal Chizik’s fate?