AUBURN, Ala.—Bryan Harsin is a failure, but he was also set up to fail. Everyone watching these past few weeks could see how far behind Auburn is. Lane Kiffin inherited a disastrous situation at Ole Miss, and the Rebels are 12-2 in their last 12 games, ranked No. 9 nationally. Bryan Harsin inherited a team with a winning record, and he is 9-12 through 21 games. Sam Pittman at Arkansas and Brian Kelly at LSU are more of the same, and just more of a reason to fire Harsin after a difficult two years. .
In recent weeks, the debate has centered around who is to blame for this disastrous season. Harsin has his supporters, those who claim that the boosters, Board of Trustees or Jimmy Rane himself has conspired once again to destroy Auburn football.
He also has more than his fair share of detractors, some of which will claim that Harsin has been put in a position to succeed and just failed, that Auburn is not a mess and that the national media is overreacting.
National media members have tried to throw their hat in the ring, mostly citing the Gus Malzahn era and blaming Auburn for firing him without adding any context to Malzahn’s eight seasons on the Plains.
The truth is that this situation is not so cut-and-dry or black-and-white. It is not all on Bryan Harsin, and it is not completely on the boosters or Board of Trustees. It is both.
What happened in February cannot be ignored, and should not be forgotten. After the inquiry, which saw Auburn President Jay Gogue blame social media for creating a fire storm that was “beyond anyone’s control,” Harsin was a lame duck head coach in many people’s eyes.
His recruiting issues can be attributed to a variety of issues, including reports from Christian Clemente at 247Sports that offensive line coach Will Friend had not been on the recruiting trail during the season.
Harsin went to ESPN during that time, and do people forget that he said he could not get exact salary figures from the Board in order to hire his assistant coach?. This was not a coach burning it down on his way out the door. He said that and then followed the statement with doubling down on his commitment to the program.
Again, Harsin is still a failure regardless. Reality set in after Arkansas, another double-digit loss, and another rambling press conference with a lot of non-answers. The staff was out of their depth and through eight games had not figured out how to play winning football.
He is one of the worst hires in the history of Auburn football, and definitely the worst since 1950.
Next year is gonna be bad, and no amount of good recruiting, good fits and alignment will fix that. This team will be behind the rest of the conference in talent and no matter who they hire, the Birmingham Bowl might be the goal.
And maybe it should be. Auburn should be back to a Top-15 program in the country, but it will take time and patience from everyone. Otherwise, this program will be back to where it started again, and again.