The Tigers are in the homestretch and are, once again, in a position to control their own destiny in the SEC West.
It is, however, the toughest remaining schedule in the country. Auburn, who is No. 10 in the latest College Football Playoff poll, hosts No. 1 Georgia this Saturday followed by No. 2 Alabama in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 25.
Malzahn has what should be the last chance to save his job in the weeks ahead, but does he have what it takes to win big games? History says no.
The majority of Auburn fans just don’t trust Malzahn in meaningful games, and he’s given them no reason to.
The Tigers are 1-7 the last four years against Top 10 teams, with the only win coming at Ole Miss in 2014. Since defeating both rivals, Georgia and Alabama, in 2013, Malzahn has gone 0-8 against them.
And it’s not only that Auburn is losing big games under Malzhahn, it is how they are losing. Of Auburn’s 12 worst offensive performances under Gus Malzahn, half of them have come against either Georgia or Alabama.
In 2016, the offense stalled late in the season, only managing 164 yards at Georgia and 182 yards at Alabama. Most recently, in games this year against Clemson and LSU, the offense was dreadful. At Clemson, the Tigers failed to score even one touchdown, and at LSU, they blew a 20-point lead due in large part to predictable play calling.
Auburn called 17 straight first-down runs and converted just 3-of-14 third-down attempts. That simply isn’t going to get the job done in the SEC.
The pressure is on, and it’s worth noting that Malzahn won’t have athletic director Jay Jacobs behind him as a safety net anymore.
It’s pretty simple: these last three weeks will determine Gus Malzahn’s future. If he pulls two upsets against Auburn’s two biggest rivals and takes the Tigers to the SEC championship, he will salvage not only his job, but the support of a fan base that has grown tired of mediocrity in big games.
If he fails to beat either, as the Auburn faithful have grown accustomed to, then he will lose his job.