For Auburn, Citrus is auditioning for new coach Bryan Harsin

Unless new Auburn football coach Bryan Harsin keeps defense coordinator Kevin Steele on his staff, Friday’s Citrus Bowl is the last time we see the $ 2.5 million man.

With the sacking of Gus Malzahn, Steele took on the interim head coach title and will lead the 6-4 Tigers to Friday’s kickoff of Citrus Bowl against Associated Press no. 14 Northwest (6-2).

Steele and the offensive coordinator of Alabama, Steve Sarkisian, are the highest paid assistants in college football and each earn $ 2.5 million.

If Steele is not retained, the Tigers will owe him about $ 5 million, based on the contract extension he signed last year. That, on top of that, is the $ 21.4 million that Gus Malzahn owes.

Steele’s son, Gordon, was an analyst at Nick Saban’s staff before moving to work in South Alabama, and perhaps Steele ended up in Tuscaloosa. Harsin will struggle to find someone of Steele’s caliber.

Let’s start a good conspiracy. Saban and the 62-year-old Steele have close ties and Saban loses some analysts, Butch Jones and AJ Milwee, to the state of Arkansas.

Losing Steele, who is not known for his site talents, is one thing. Defense coach Rodney Garner, one of the best recruiters in the country, the recruiter for all things Georgia, loses, it’s a whole other story.

Harsin won last week’s press conference and says he’s going to spend some time recruiting the West Coast, which makes sense because he’s a guy on the West Coast. However, Auburn fans will appreciate that he spends most of his time recruiting Georgia, Florida and Alabama, rather than spinning his wheels in Idaho or California. He will have to win the Deep South trifecta to keep up with the Sabans, Smarts, Mullens and Orgerons to make Auburn compete for titles. Keeping Garner on staff should be paramount.

Any coaches who bring Harsin to Auburn will love their new income group. Let’s use Boise’s defense coordinator, Jeff Schmedding, as an example. He was Harsin’s best paid assistant and earned $ 350,000 in 2020.

Maybe he joins the 42-year-old Harsin, or maybe not. Boise’s base salary pool for his ten assistant coaches ($ 2,325 million) doesn’t even bring us Steele money.

Our choice of 1-2 January, minus the playoffs.

New Year’s Day


Auburn against the North West

Brain follows a practical approach to bowling. He says he has met his team, whether through Zoom, FaceTime or in person, and he will watch the match. Just maybe not personally. But he will closely watch how his players perform. Let’s call it an audition going to the spring ball.

You can not help but feel for Steele and many of the staff who probably will not be after the February signing day. A tough year has only gotten harder and the opponent, Northwest (6-2), comes with a Big Ten runner-up and a fairly defensive unit that would like to send the Wildcats’ 73-year-old coordinator, 73 years. -old Mike Hankwitz, out with a resounding performance. Hankwitz retires from Northwestern after 13 seasons.

We know that the 3 1/2-point suspect Auburn has several players to choose from, such as wide Anthony Schwartz and defensive back Christian Tutt. There may be others, so we should not have many fireworks from quarterback Bo Nix and Co. do not expect.

The Tigers will hang up their upset hopes of carrying Tank Bigsby back and a running game that could give Northwest trouble. Ohio State Trey Sermon ran more than 330 yards. Expect Steele’s defense, whether it’s his last time on the Plains, to play well.

Northwest 27, Auburn 24

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Georgia 30, Cincinnati 23

Saturday 2 January

Taxpayer Gator Bowl

North Carolina State 31, Kentucky 27

Outback Bowl

Ole Mej 26, Indiana 24

Playstation Fiesta Bowl

Iowa State 26, Oregon 21

Capital One cotton box

Texas A&M 36, North Carolina 31

Charles Hollis has been covering college football since 1983. Reach him at budcoin @ msn, com