Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin and Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz are on a collision course, pushing their Southeast conference squad into the most important game of their coaching careers. The former mentor and student have yet to engage in the mind battle as head coach. Missouri and Auburn’s early Saturday clash will change that, with both sets of the Tigers opening the tournament. The stakes are clearly winning at all costs and off to a good start in the most poignant conference in America. The consequences of losing will put beat the trainer in the deep damnA little closer is the sports department, who happily recruited them less than three years ago.
Drinkwitz and Harsin are both on their second stops as head coaches, departing one of the Group of Five’s best programs for a chance to apply their skills to the prestigious SEC. 39-year-old Drinkwitz was hired in December 2019, leaving then-Appalachian State Sun belt champions to Mizzou. After a 5-5 pandemic season and 6-7 record last year, Missouri is 2-1, following a convincing win over Louisiana Tech to open the season, followed by a takedown. at the hands of the State of Kansasfollowed by a 17-point win over Abilene Christian at FCS level.
With Georgia and playing in The Swamp with Florida shortly after his trip to Auburn, Mizzou needs to avoid a freefall as he heads into weeks 2-4 with games against Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky still going through. That’s the minimum expected to make a bowling game. Auburn is proving to be the easiest to win of those six games. While Drinkwitz’s job security doesn’t become an everyday topic at Columbia, possibly because of how well the Tigers have recruited under his leadership, are those blue-chip prospects enough to stop the sharks from coming back if his staff can’t turn them into legitimate SEC-sized athletes?
While the temperature of Drinkwitz’s seat is a bit hazy and could completely cool down with a success next month, when there Harsin’s seat didn’t burn on The Plains in the past few months? This season has been full of controversy at AU, with big questions about Harsin’s dressing room culture. And it all came to life only 12 months after former head coach Gus Malzahn got the best job in America, fired the FBS football coach, was paid $21.45 million by Auburn to leave, similarly. like 15 million dollars. Scott Frost recently received from Nebraska no longer in a leadership position. Will Muschamp make nearly $13 million in 2020 from South Carolina to train somewhere else.
After beating FCS-level Mercer and skating against San Jose State, the Harsin’s Tigers were taken down by Penn State. Auburn has an even tougher schedule than Mizzou that has to be completed in 2022. Due to higher expectations for a show that last appeared in a national title game in 2013, the desire to return to the top of the mountain is increasing. as soon as possible when you share status with Nick Saban become paramount every year. Harsin’s need to win on Saturday puts Drinkwitz at the top even as they both desperately want it. Take a look back at the last time the teams played in 2017. Kerryon Johnson made five touchdowns and Auburn beat Mizzou. Almost five years to this day, they will return to normal in a huge sign of how far the mighty have fallen. It took even longer for Missouri to fall from its stronghold, as the Auburn-Mizzou SEC Championship game took place nine years ago. The argument that Missouri brought it back to Atlanta a year later only proves my point about the need for SEC groups to remain relevant or decentralized down the conference hierarchy.
Both Drinkwitz and Harsin inked six-year deals to join the SEC, but have had history well beyond their current posts. Harsin’s first head coaching opportunity came at Arkansas State, and Drinkwitz was on his staff. As Boise State came calling to get Harsin out of Jonesboro, he brought Drinkwitz with him to the Mountain West. In 2016, Drinkwitz forged his own path and became the offensive coordinator at NC State. Before heading to Arkansas State, Drinkwitz got his start in college football under Gene Chizik at Auburn. The now-Mizzou coach hasn’t been back to where he got his collegiate start since 2013, when the Red Wolves traveled to play the Tigers.
On Tuesday, Drinkwitz said he’s indebted to Harsin for believing in him when not many did. He then pondered whether he’d still be in college football, much less with one of the coveted 64 Power Five Conference head coaching jobs, if not for Auburn’s current coach. In this ruthless gridiron business, combined with the win-now demands from AU boosters, Drinkwitz taking down his former mentor should put Harsin one foot out the door. They will be offering the former Bang Boise coach a large sum of money to opt out of their program and back up another truck to bring in another coach to try and fix the issues. . That’s the circle of life in the SEC. You will get rich even if you do a bad job. Saturday’s win only extended the steep slide for one of them. Only then will they have a chance to dig deep for themselves. I’m going with Drinkwitz to have a nice return home to Auburn. Keeping Harsin at the helm only prolongs the inevitable.