Without question, the hottest seat in the Southeastern Conference heading into the 2019 season belongs to the coach leading the program on The Plains.

The massive contract Auburn handed Gus Malzahn following the 2017 regular season put a target on his back that many did not see coming, although this writer did well before many of the masses put Auburn’s coach on the hot seat. Now, coming off a disastrous 8-5 after entering the season as a top 10 team in the AP Poll, the heat of Malzahn’s seat at Auburn is palpable.

What are the odds Malzahn survives another 7-5 regular season record? “No chance,” says SEC Network host Paul Finebaum.

During his weekly Monday morning appearance on Birmingham-based 94.5 FM WJOX radio program “The Roundtable,” the popular radio host was asked what would happen to Malzahn if the Tigers went 7-5 and lost at home against Alabama and Georgia.

“If Auburn ends up going 7-5, Gus Malzahn will be fired. I don’t think it’s debatable, I just think that’s absolute,” Finebaum answered. “That’s not a gray area for Auburn fans and for Auburn trustees. I think it’s more tricky if it’s somewhere in between and he gets a win over someone important but I don’t think he survives anything short of nine or 10 wins and one of those wins is Alabama or Georgia.

“Were Malzahn to beat Alabama or Georgia, he could maybe go to a lower number but 7-5 — no chance.”

Considering Auburn is currently planning on rolling out a first-year starting quarterback and faces arguably the toughest schedule in the nation next season, Auburn’s margin for error looks to be razor thin in 2019.

Based on Finebaum’s comment, there may not be a more meaningful Week 1 matchup in the nation than Auburn’s neutral site showdown with Oregon in Arlington. If Auburn can’t find a way to win the opener before facing Texas A&M, Florida and LSU all on the road before getting to the November games against Georgia and Alabama on The Plains, Malzahn may seal his fate during the early stages of his team’s brutal schedule.