Over the past few years, Gus Malzahn has frequently been linked to “the hot seat,” but has managed to avoid getting burned.

Auburn ended the regular season 7-5 in 2018. Days after an Iron Bowl loss to Alabama, rumors were swirling that Auburn powerbrokers were ready to buy out Malzahn’s contract, despite its hefty $32-million buyout, and had reached out to Bob Stoops about becoming AU’s next coach. Despite the rumors, AU did not make a head coaching change. Malzahn went on to coach the Music City Bowl. The Tigers thumped Purdue 63-14, giving Auburn an 8-5 mark for the 2018 campaign.

Hot seat talk is no fun for any coach, but Malzahn is aware that high expectations come with his job.

“Some places eight wins, they celebrate. That’s just not part of Auburn,” Malzahn told Josh Vitale of the Montgomery Advertiser. “I got a job that expects to win championships, and I expect to win championships. I knew that when I signed up for that. In the years that we win championships, it’s good. The years we don’t, it’s hot seat this, hot seat that. And I think out of the six years, four had been this same rodeo. And it’s just part of the job description.”

Vitale and other reporters noted a certain swagger from the Auburn contingent on Thursday at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama. Perhaps it’s because Malzahn thinks 2019 could be a big season for the Tigers.

“You know, this will be my tenth year at Auburn. During that time, we played for two national championships. We won one. We played for three SEC championships. We won two,” Malzahn said in his main room press conference. “And when I look at the team that we have this year, there’s some of the same characteristics that those championship teams had, and that’s what’s exciting for me.”