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Windham Wrap-up: How Quickly Things Can Change in the SEC West

Windham Wrap-up: How Quickly Things Can Change in the SEC West

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Windham Wrap-up: How Quickly Things Can Change in the SEC West

LSU's announcement on Sunday about Ed Orgeron's future in Baton Rouge once again showed that winning championships is the top priority in a division as tough as the SEC West.

Life comes at you fast in the SEC West.

One second you’re riding high on an undefeated national championship season, and the next you’re out of a job. Ask Gene Chizik, or as of this weekend, Ed Orgeron. 

It was less than two years ago that Orgeron led LSU to a 15-0 season with a Heisman-winning quarterback in Joe Burrow. On Sunday, LSU announced that Orgeron will be out as head coach at the end of the season, but he will continue to coach the Tigers through the rest of the regular season. 

That means less than two years after Orgeron's somewhat infamous on-field and locker room rants about beating the Crimson Tide, this year's trip to Tuscaloosa will be his last, or at least the last as the head coach of the Tigers. 

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LSU went 5-5 last year during the pandemic-shortened season and currently sit at 4-3 in 2021. Even after a win over Florida on Saturday, that type of record still doesn't cut it for LSU fans and administrators. 

Gene Chizik faced a similar situation down on the Plains a decade ago. In 2010, he too rode a Heisman-winning quarterback all the way to an undefeated season and a national championship for Auburn. Two seasons later, with a 3-9 record, he was fired. 

Gus Malzahn took Auburn to the national championship game in his first season in 2013, and the SEC Championship game and New Year's Six Bowl game in 2017. Even though he never had a losing season in Auburn and beat Nick Saban three times, Malzahn was fired at the end of 2020 with a 6-4 record. 

At the end of the day for the top programs in the SEC West, winning isn't good enough unless you're winning at a championship level. It's a pretty tough standard for coaches to live up to, but it's the truth. 

That's why Orgeron and Chizik didn't last long even after bring their schools championships. And it's why Texas A&M gives Jimbo Fisher $7.5 million a year with a $95 million buyout because Fisher did win a national championship at Florida State. Every program wants to reach that championship standard, and in the SEC West, you have to chase Nick Saban to do it. 

Life comes at you fast in the SEC West.

One second you’re riding high on an undefeated national championship season, and the next you’re out of a job. Ask Gene Chizik, or as of this weekend, Ed Orgeron. 

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