The biggest in-state rivalry game in Alabama takes place on 26 November 2022, and the Auburn Head Coaching position may hang in the balance of the outcome.
In the weeks and days leading up to the 2022 Iron Bowl, many Auburn fans are building with anticipation about who will be taking over as the head coach for the Auburn Tigers, after Brian Harsin was fired.
CBS Sports reported that Bryan Harsin was fired on 31 October 2022 after their “loss to Arkansas, putting an end to an awkward and unsuccessful tenure on The Plains.” At that time, Harsin had lost 10 of his last 13 games as Auburn’s head coach.
That same day, The Auburn Plainsman reported that “running back coach Carnell “Cadillac” Williams was named the interim head coach of Auburn football hours after the dismissal of Bryan Harsin.”
Two Names Were on the Short-List for Auburn’s Next Head Coach
Around the time that Bryan Harsin was fired, there were only two names on the short-list for Auburn’s head coach. They were Deion Sanders and Lane Kiffin.
Sports Illustrated reported on 2 November 2022, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin made comments during an SEC coaches teleconference call, indicating he was “not interested in becoming Auburn’s next head coach” and even mentioned Deion Sanders.
“I think he’d [Deion Sanders] do great,” Kiffin said. “I think that’s a great name, and I think they should hire him. Great recruiter, great name. … Now you have the portal. You can change a roster faster than you ever could before, and you can lose a roster faster than ever before. The ability to hire Deion and have that name right away, you can get portal players to come play for him.” -Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss head Coach (Source: Sports Illustrated, Jackson)
Then Deion even said on ESPN’s College Gameday that he would even “entertain” potential Power 5 head coaching jobs presented to him. (Source: Sports Illustrated, Jackson)
“I’d be a fool and a liar to tell you I’m not going to entertain those things, because I am,” Sanders said. “But I have made no plans to move or go anywhere.” -Deion Sanders, Jackson State (Source: Sports Illustrated, Jackson)
In the days leading up to the Egg Bowl, where Ole Miss plays against in-state rivalry Mississippi State, there was much speculation that Lane Kiffin would make a big announcement after the game, but before the Iron Bowl.
Sports Illustrated reported that Lane Kiffin gave some quick answers about the Auburn coaching job in the postgame interview after Ole Miss lost to Mississippi State.
When asked if he plans to be the head coach next year (2023) at Ole Miss.
He replied, “I do.”
When asked if he signed contract extensions with Ole Miss, he replied:
“I don’t know. I’ve signed three. I don’t know,” Kiffin said. “I am more focused on the game than a contract.” -Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss head Coach (Source: Sports Illustrated, Dawe)
So he apparently shut down all rumors that he would consider leaving to be Auburn’s head coach.
Deion Sanders finished the Jackson State season with an 11–0 perfect record, but have been no further reports of him leaving Jackson State for Auburn at the time of publication.
Despite the short-list, Tommy Tuberville believes we should be considering the obvious choice for the job: Carnell “Cadillac” Williams.
Tommy Tuberville Makes Comments About “Cadillac” Williams
AL.com reported that now U.S. Senator and former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville spoke to the sports radio show “In the Booth” that his former Auburn player Carnell “Cadillac” Williams is doing a great job of keeping players focused as interim head coach of Auburn.
“Well they should. And it’s a tall order. I tell you what, he’s done a great job of just keeping the guys focused,” Tuberville said. “When you lose a coach and half the coaching staff, you’ve just got to keep your guys focused. And Carnell’s motivated.”
“If they win this game, there’s going to be a lot of sentiment toward hiring Carnell.” -Tommy Tuberville, former Auburn Head Coach (Source: AL.com, Howell)
The Iron Bowl Statistic & “Dynasty is Ending” Comments
The Alabama Crimson Tide leads the all-time Iron Bowl matchup with 48 wins, 37 losses, and 1 tie.
AL.com reported that Carnell “Cadillac” Williams will be the “first Black head coach” in the Iron Bowl.
Given the position that Auburn is in, and that Alabama has little to no chance of making the College Football Playoffs, Auburn has a point to prove with nothing to lose.
Meanwhile “the dynasty is ending” talk began this season after Alabama lost two games by 4 points. The first loss was to Tennessee 52 to 49 on October 15, and then to LSU on November 5, 32 to 31.
If Auburn were to win against Alabama on 26 November 2022, it would only solidify the “dynasty is ending” talk that started when former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy made comments on ESPN’s “Always College Football” podcast, saying:
“This is the first time that I have ever actually been concerned about the future of the program. The first time. “I have seen them lose when people have said, ‘The dynasty is over.’ I have seen people back in 2014 say this team will never regain its prowess or its strength. I have seen coach after coach after coach depart for what they might consider to be greener pastures. I’ve seen everything that this program has endured in the last several years, and I have never been concerned about whether or not they’ve been better tomorrow than they were today.” -Greg McElroy, former Alabama quarterback (Source: AL.com, Rodak)
Alabama coach Nick Saban responded to Greg McElroy’s comments.
“We’ve lost two games by a total of four points, both on the last play of the game.” -Nick Saban, Alabama Head Coach (Source: AL.com, Rodak)
We will have to see what happens when Alabama and Auburn face off in the 2022 Iron Bowl.
The Iron Bowl 2022 Game Time & Weather Forecast
The Iron Bowl 2022 will be played at 2:30 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
WVTM 13 News reported that at kickoff for the Iron Bowl on 26 November 2022, there may be a mild shower possible, with the temperature around 64 degrees Fahrenheit. By the fourth quarter, there may be rain showers moving in, with a temperature around 62 degrees Fahrenheit.
Will the Outcome of the Iron Bowl 2022 Determine the Head Coach?
Auburn fans are divided on if the outcome of the 2022 Iron Bowl has any impact on who becomes the next head coach.
Some believe that if Auburn were to win against Alabama, Carnell “Cadillac” Williams would have a shot at being installed at the head coaching position.
Other Auburn fans I spoke with don’t even think that is even an option.
Tommy Tuberville thinks he deserves a shot, but he’s obviously biased, being his former coach.
We will have to wait and see on this one.
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Dawe, Lance. “Lane Kiffin leaves fans anxious after comments over Auburn job following Egg Bowl loss.” Sports Illustrated. 25 November 2022.
Jackson, Wilton. “Lane Kiffin Says Deion Sanders Would ‘Do Great’ As Auburn Coach.” Sports Illustrated. 2 November 2022.
Mendoza, Harmony. “Impact Weather Overnight, wet weather in Alabama and warmer days coming.” WVTM 13 News. 26 November 2022.
Rodak, Mike. “Nick Saban responds to Greg McElroy’s concerns about direction of Alabama program.” AL.com. 9 November 2022.
Sallee, Barrett. “Auburn fires Bryan Harsin: Tigers end awkward, unsuccessful tenure of second-year coach.” CBS Sports. 31 October 2022.
Waters, Jacob. “Williams named interim head coach.” The Auburn Plainsman. 31 October 2022.
Iron Bowl graphic: Sylacauga News