Auburn's Gus Malzahn Wins Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award
College football turnarounds are not easy, especially in the SEC West.
Another big win for Auburn and the SEC.
At the beginning of the year, we pencil our teams in, expectations shaped by experts and the results of the season before and we jump headlong into college football. In 2013, the names were pretty familiar.
Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State, Florida State, Stanford, Texas A&M, and so forth.
In the SEC West, after Alabama and A&M, still you had LSU with Les Miles (horseshoe up his ass, and all), and the two Mississippi schools.
Nobody ever mentioned Auburn, and why would you? 3-9 in the final year of the Gene Chizik Era, Auburn was an unmitigated disaster that would take at least a couple years to regain respectability, and allow new head coach Gus Malzahn to implement his system, right?
Malzahn, who was the offensive coordinator for the Auburn team that won a national championship in 2010 under Gene Chizik, took Auburn's 3-9 outfit, and behind quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Tre Mason, crafted an offensive juggernaut that led the nation in rushing at 328 yards per game.
More importantly, he spearheaded an overall improvement that saw Auburn turn 2012's 3-9 outfit into a 12-2 squad that came within 13 seconds of winning a national championship.
It was perhaps the most remarkable turnaround in the history of college football, and sent a message to the rest of the SEC that the zero sum game that is SEC conference records would not include Auburn rolling over:
"We're still hurting over the fact that we were close to winning the national championship and got beat," Malzahn said. "But if you can remove yourself from that, it was a lot of fun, our players came a long way, they improved each week and we were 13 seconds away from being the national champion."