Paul Finebaum explains the 'disconnect' between Gus Malzahn and Auburn fan base
The so-called vote of confidence from Auburn Athletics Director Allen Greene didn’t carry much weight with Paul Finebaum, mostly because the SEC Network host figured Auburn coach Gus Malzahn would be back in 2019 anyway.
“That’s what athletic directors do,” Finebaum said on his weekly appearance on Birmingham-based 94.5 FM WJOX program “The Roundtable”. “They say things because they have to rally the troops and I think he what he wanted to do was change the story because I think nowadays, people are like, ‘Oh wow, Gus Malzahn’s good for another year. I think we all knew that anyway, unless the bottom fell out. And I think the bottom fell out with where this season is going to end up, and it’s going to end up 7-5, if my math is correct.”
Finebaum added that the Texas A&M game, which went down to the wire, “could have been worse,” but beyond that, he said 7-5 is frankly not acceptable at Auburn. But then the new contract, which was announced in December, becomes an issue because it’s for seven years and $49 million.
“But you’ve got a dilemma when you’ve just got through rewarding a coach with a new contract,” Finebaum said. “So what does the school want. I don’t think we yet know what the temperature’s going to be. I think we have to let it play out, and see what the reaction is after the Iron Bowl. I’m sure it’s pretty bad. Does the bowl game really matter? Not really. 7-6 versus 8-5 I guess there is a difference.”
Even after spending most of his career in the Birmingham area, and covering the SEC from Alabama, Finebaum was perplexed that Malzahn didn’t leave for the Arkansas job when it was open last year and many figured the native son would return to his home state. Finebaum said Chad Morris is still popular at Arkansas despite not winning an SEC game yet.
“I think the disconnect also comes from Gus Malzahn. Gus Malzahn’s always about to turn the corner, isn’t he?,” Finebaum said, referring to whatever the next week’s game is coming up. “… That stuff just doesn’t work with the fan base. Not sure why Gus Malzahn stayed.”