With college football fans and the national media focused on conference championship games, the College Football Playoff and the coaching carousel, Auburn wasn’t expected to dominate the news cycle Monday.

That all changed when Josh Moon of the Alabama Reporter shared that covering state politics led him to stumble upon information that Auburn had met with a “top-level” coach about replacing Gus Malzahn as head coach. The AU powerbrokers wanted a replacement lined up if they were to come up with the money to get rid of Malzahn.

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Moon initially didn’t name the coach, but FootballScoop revealed it had heard about a meeting with Bob Stoops. With that information, “Stoops to Auburn” became the hottest topic of the day’s sports news cycle.

Bob Stoops denied the report in a statement to USA Today. Moon stuck by his reporting and confirmed the “top-level” coach was Stoops. Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville (1999-2008) said the news reminded him of the “JetGate” episode in 2003, when then-Auburn booster Bobby Lowder, Auburn President William Walker and athletic director David Housel flew to Louisville to gauge Bobby Petrino’s interest in the Auburn job.

Tuberville spoke to Mark Heim and Lee Shirvanian on WNSP’s “The Opening Kickoff.”

“You feel like you’re out on an island,” he said of not knowing your status as Auburn’s head coach. “There’s no boat. There’s no life preserver to get to a safe place. You’re just there. No one is talking to you. You have your assistants, but they’re out on the road. (Malzahn) probably doesn’t have anyone really talking to you.

“When I had my JetGate it was during the week of the Iron Bowl. I couldn’t get people I talked to 24 hours before on the phone or into their office. … You’re closed out.”

In the case of Stoops, Tuberville revealed he had heard of a meeting, but didn’t view the source as reliable and considered the information just a rumor. But he didn’t dismiss Moon and FootballScoop’s reporting.

“There’s problems in Auburn,” Tuberville told the show. “There’s always been problems in Auburn. And, for some reason, they will continue to be problems in Auburn.”

Tuberville believes those problems in the AU athletic department led to Stoops’ emphatic denial.

“I don’t know anyone out there that wants to get into this mess,” Tuberville said. “Do you think Bob Stoops wants to get into this mess? He dropped a better job than this.”

More of Tuberville’s comments can be read here.