There are rumors that have surfaced relating to Oregon head football coach Mario Cristobal and the head coaching vacancy with the Auburn Tigers.
Auburn fired Gus Malzahn Sunday morning after a 6-4 record in his eighth season as Tigers head coach. Cristobal is one of the rumored targets as a former Nick Saban assistant coach.
On Monday, Cristobal addressed those rumors.
Before the global pandemic hit, Cristobal and the Ducks were in talks about a contract extension. The three-year Oregon head coach has rebuilt this program and brought it back to national relevance after a 10+ win season, a Pac-12 championship, a Rose Bowl victory, and signing the top recruiting class in the Pac-12 conference in back-to-back seasons.
The contract talks have apparently re-begun recently but now this Auburn vacancy adds a new element to the situation.
There are pros and cons for both scenarios or staying with the Oregon Football program and becoming the next head coach at Auburn. One of the obvious reasons for any coach in college football is the chance to win a National Championship.
Does Cristobal have a better opportunity at Oregon or Auburn to win a National Championship? First, you have to look at the conferences. The SEC is the best and arguably toughest conference that consistently has teams in the College Football Playoff. In the last decade alone, a team from the SEC has won a title five times.
The Pac-12 conference has barely reached the CFP semifinal let alone the national championship during that time. Oregon has appeared in two national championship games, but both were losses against Auburn in 2011 and against Ohio State in 2015.
However, the SEC has better quality opponents. You have to face Nick Saban and Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, LSU each season…
Year after year, the CFP committee debates whether a one-loss SEC team should make the playoff over an undefeated Pac-12 team. Strength of schedule matters and unfortunately on the west coast, that is rarely a bright spot.
Former Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington joined the latest Talkin’ Ducks with host Jordan Kent to discuss more:
“I think Oregon, because of all the work we have done and the growth of the program to the point where it is right now, I think Oregon is just as good a position as Auburn to win a national championship. Now obviously the prestige of the SEC is massive and carries that weight, but I also think it’s a more difficult place to play.
“Playing in Alabama’s conference every year, the rise of Florida, the continual - whether it’s Georgia or South Carolina… - you always have these teams that come up and down. For the better part of the last decade, it’s been Oregon and USC… But you don’t have that week in and week out grind against top-10 and top-15 teams that you have in the SEC.
“So actually I think you have Oregon might be a better opportunity to win a National Championship than Auburn right now.”
Now is the time to put your money in the Cristobal basket and #ExtendCristobal with a new contract to give him and the Ducks a chance at a National Championship if the Oregon Athletic department wishes to do so.
Cristobal has already proven he can win on the big stage and with a top-ranked recruiting class coming in who have all said that winning a national championship is why they’re coming to Oregon, the pieces are beginning to line up.