Auburn Football: Replicating 2013 Success Won't Be Easy for Gus Malzahn

Replicating Auburn's 2013 Success Won't Be Easy for Gus Malzahn

3/23/14 in NCAAF   |   BlakeLovell   |   86 respect

Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn during the second half of the 2014 BCS National Championship game against the Florida State Seminoles at the Rose Bowl.  Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY SportsGus Malzahn had about as good a first season in a new position that you could possibly ask for. Well, except for coming up just short of winning the 2014 national championship.

But, we'll let Gus off the hook for that one.

Ya know, since he took a team that went 3-9 in 2012 (including a horrid 0-8 in SEC play) and proceeded to turn it into conference and almost national champions.

Mission accomplished for Malzahn in his first year as head coach for the Auburn Tigers.

Then again, I'm not quite sure I'd make that claim. Malzahn's ability to complete change the landscape of Auburn football this past season made one thing perfectly clear:

It's national championships or bust for the Tigers.

Because if you want to build a team that wins year in and year out, that has to be the goal. Especially if you happened to be located in the state of Alabama and have Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide breathing down your neck.

In his first season, Malzahn slayed the beast in glorious fashion, as a simple missed field goal turned into a conference title for the Tigers, as well as a shot at a national title.

Beating defending national champion Alabama in your first year? Tiger fans will gladly accept that.

And sure, beating Alabama and playing for the biggest prize in college football in year one of a new regime also brings about high expectations. But high expectations have always been present on the Plains. Malzahn has experienced that first-hand when he was the offensive coordinator for the Cam Newton-led national championship team back in 2010. 

Sustained success is not any for any coach in any sport. That's even more so the case in arguably the best conference in all of college football.

With so many great teams and coaches doing battle in the same league, it's hard for a team to roll through everyone year after year. The Tigers proved that themselves by knocking off the closest thing to a dynasty that there's been in a while in college football. 

And they just so happened to do it against their most hated rival.

Now the question becomes whether or not Malzahn can build the same type of legacy at Auburn that Saban has built at Alabama.

The Tigers have a solid nucleus returning for the 2014 season, with quarterback Nick Marshall looking to take aim at the Heisman trophy. Other pieces are in place that will give Auburn a chance at another conference title.

But, as we all know, replicating success year after year is much easier said than done.

If Mazlahn can find a way to do what he did in 2013 though, a new program may be taking over the state of Alabama.

Will Auburn stay at the top of the SEC in 2014, or do you see it dropping off? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk,  follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!
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