You, in the faded Peyton Manning jersey. Why the long face?
Oh, you’re a Tennessee football fan. I understand.
You’ve looked at the bottom line, and you think the bottom has dropped out.
You’ve seen Derek Dooley’s 17-20 career record as a head coach, and you see trouble ahead.
Look on the bright side, and don’t listen to Bill Parcells.
You are not necessarily what your record says you are.
Look at Gene Chizik.
In case you didn’t notice, he came to Knoxville last season and did something Nick Saban couldn’t do on his own home field.
Chizik embarrassed Lane Kiffin, although no one does that quite as well as Kiffin himself.
Saban may be Dooley’s mentor, but Chizik could be his role model. No SEC head coach in recent years has been greeted with as much disdain as the Auburn coach.
Chizik didn’t get a honeymoon.
Thanks to his bottom line, he just got mooned.
His 5-19 career record in two years at Iowa State eclipsed his longer and stronger track record as a defensive coordinator at Auburn and Texas. He didn’t win at Iowa State, but that didn’t mean he forgot how.
Look at him now.
He became the first Auburn coach to take the Tigers to a bowl game in his first season. His first full-year recruiting class has a chance to be the No. 1 class in Auburn history.
He still has to prove he can win championships, starting with the state title, but AD Jay Jacobs no longer deplanes at the local airport to a chorus of boos.
Like Jacobs, Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton has discovered twice in the last two years that it’s easier to covet a big-name coach than to corral one.