First Auburn, which got itself into a pickle by losing Tommy Tuberville.
This mess started a couple of weeks back when Auburn officials contacted Arkansas' Bobby Petrino and Texas Tech's Mike Leach to gauge their interest in the job if the school decided to fire Tuberville. This was the second time Auburn had pulled such shenanigans on Tuberville, who likely never forgot that incident in 2003 when Auburn officials flew to Louisville to talk with Petrino.
When Tuberville found out about the recent contacts with Petrino and Leach, he quickly offered up his resignation.
Auburn and its gang of boosters, still smarting from a 36-0 loss to Alabama, boldly moved ahead. Every name in the book was tossed around: Will Muschamp, Jumbo Fisher, Steve Spurrier, Jim Grobe, Mother Teresa. But in the end, the big names didn't want to get involved, leading to Chizik, who wasn't even on radar at midweek.
Auburn Undercover had the story first, saying that athletic director Jay Jacobs interviewed Chizik on Thursday in Texas. When word got back to Iowa, it was met with disbelief. Who on earth would want a coach with a 5-19 record?
Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette wrote that "this story seems about as legit as emails from Nigerian lottery winners." He added: "I can’t see Auburn, which needs a major splash to compete with Nick Saban at rival Alabama, to go after a guy with a 10-game losing streak at Iowa State."
Even after Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard acknowledged that Chizik had been interviewed, the thinking in Iowa was that Pollard was trying to get a cheap pop for his coach in order to make himself look good for what had turned into a disastrous hire in Chizik.
The Auburn camp was equally stunned. A column by Phillip Marshall on Auburn Undercover struck an angry tone regarding the possible hiring of Chizik:
"My telephone rang early this morning. It was a friend who is an Auburn graduate and an avid football fan. He’ s the kind of fan who finds something positive in almost every situation, who believes in bad times that better days are coming.
"And he was angry.
" 'If they do this,' he said, 'I'm through with Auburn football.' "
That column has since disappeared from the site. (We are awaiting a response from Auburn Undercover as to why the column was taken down.)
But desperate Auburn went ahead with the head-scratching hiring of Chizik, bringing an angry response from Tiger fans. Over 81% responding to a poll on the Birmingham News said getting Chizik was a mistake.
Meanwhile, Iowa State players headed to cyberspace to express their feelings. Receiver Darius Darks posted two videos on his Facebook profile in which he and a teammate voiced their displeasure at being "lied" to by Chizik, according to the Iowa State Daily:
"A lot of people asking me what I'm going to do with coach Chizik leaving," Darks said in the first video. "I understand business is business, but this man lied. At a team meeting, he was sitting there saying 'I told your mother, Jerrod Black, and I sat on your auntie's couch, Darius Darks, and I told her I would take care of you while you was up here at Iowa State.' Where's that n---- at now? Auburn University."
In the second video, Darks introduces Jeremiah Schwartz, a freshman running back from Orlando.
"Let me explain something really quick," Schwartz said. "Rule one: Don’t f--- with a Florida n----. Rule two: Don’t lie to your team. Rule three: Respect rule two."
Darks added: "I'm up here and I'm kicking it with some homies. I make some new friends, and got used to everything, and this n---- leaves. I’m still trying to go to the league. I understand a man gotta make moves for what a man gotta do. All you Cyclone fanatics that are going to be watching this, and everybody else that is going to be cracking up on this, the answer to what I’m doing ..."
Darks put on a Michigan State jersey.
The videos were later removed.
Paul Clark of Cyclone Report also went off on Chizik:
"Chizik's game day performance speaks for itself and his Saturday state of confusion was boderline comical, if you subscribe to the idea that it's better to laugh than to cry. He might someday have the mental capacity to manage a game as head coach, but it's not there yet. The next opposing coach that Chizik outsmarts will be the first."
So where does Iowa State turn? Pollard, who passed on Brian Kelly and Jim Harbaugh to hire Chizik, can't mess up this time.
The slam dunk choice among Cyclone fans is Buffalo's Gill, who was bypassed by Auburn. He has deep ties to the Big 12 and has engineered the miraculous turnaround at Buffalo.