Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy promised he’d be unbiased upon being hired as an SEC Network analyst, and he’s making that known before the network even kicks off in mid-August.
McElroy, who led Alabama to a perfect 14-0 season and a championship in 2009, told WJOX-FM that Auburn is the 2014 frontrunner ‘without question’, mostly because of Gus Malzahn.
“I think he’s the most innovative play-caller in college football,” McElroy said. “I think he’s a tremendous football coach, and he’s had a lot of success over the course of his career. And what they did last year was really special; so I think they are the frontrunners without question at this point.”
McElroy and I share the same idea.
Is there a hotter coach in the country than Gus Malzahn? Is Malzahn the one factor that could totally change the direction and landscape of the Iron Bowl rivalry? Is Malzahn the most ingenious play caller in football at any level?
Those questions will be answered in the coming years, but it’s clear: with the talent Auburn returns, it’s easy to make a case for the Tigers to be a playoff contender (sounds fun saying playoffs). In fact, Auburn should be the preseason favorites among the masses.
Winning in the NFL revolves around the quarterback. In contrast, college football is all about the head coach, and Auburn may have a top-five coach in the country in the Gus Bus – and maybe the most innovative offensive mind at any level.
High praise? You bet.
But what Malzahn did for Auburn last year, taking a 3-9 team and turning it into 12-2 championship team, is one of the most impressive things we’ve seen in the SEC over the last several years.
However, the Iron Bowl winner could again decide the division winner in 2014. So, it’s not about the ‘best’ team; it’s more about who wins on that day.
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