Today Charles Barkley stopped by Roundtable Radio, the midday show on Birmingham’s powerful WJOX station, to discuss the state of Auburn football.
And, not surprisingly, Barkley didn’t pull many punches.
He began the segment with a comment about Auburn basketball, “Never thought you’d hear those words, can’t wait for Auburn basketball.”
Barkley discussed the upcoming Auburn-Alabama game, “I canceled my trip to the Iron Bowl. I’m not going down there to see that massacre.”
Asked by host Lance Taylor if he would take Auburn +31?
“If they’re giving Auburn 31, I’ve got Auburn in that game. Do you know what the money line on that game would be? I’d have to be really drunk to take the money line on that one.”
Notwithstanding his decision not to go to the Iron Bowl, Barkley took issue with Pat Dye’s comments that he didn’t see Auburn having a chance to win upcoming games.
“I’m going to stick with Auburn no matter what, but I would never say we didn’t have a chance.”
Asked for his take on Auburn football, Barkley said, “I’m only disappointed in two things:
1. I thought last year was a giveaway year. They should have used last year and said, let’s find our quarterback for next year.
The Frazier kid, he’s not ready.
2. I was really disappointed in the Arkansas game.
They came out with zero energy against Arkansas. Because Arkansas was ready to pack it in.”
Asked in particular whether Gene Chizik deserved to keep his job, Barkley took the high road: “I’m never an advocate of saying people should get fired. I just don’t think that’s cool…They’ve got to find a quarterback. Do they even have a quarterback on the roster right now?”
Then the conversation turned to Nick Saban’s dominance at Alabama, “I’m a NIck Saban fan. That guy (Saban) is not going anywhere. We (Auburn) have to look at the big picture, where are we going from here, can we compete with him the next few years? That’s the elephant in the room. We’ve got to get a gameplan in place, because Nick Saban is a clear and present danger.”
The hosts played a clip of Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama’s safety, talking about playing against his dad, Tennessee’s defensive coordinator, this week. Sunseri said he was looking forward to seeing his dad again. Barkley deadpanned: “Tell Mr. Sunseri at Alabama don’t worry he’s going to get to spend lots of quality time with his dad in about six games.”
Asked about Auburn’s upcoming Vanderbilt game, Barkley laughed, “Trust me, we’re playing the smart kids this week. If you can’t beat the smart kids, you’re in for a long year.” Later Barkley discussed Vanderbilt being an eight point favorite over Auburn, “I’m actually shocked that we’re an eight point underdog to Vanderbilt. Come on, man, eight points, they’re not a juggernaut. That’s got to be the biggest Vandy line ever.”
“This year is over and if Auburn gets off to a bad start next season, it’s just going to get worse…You’ve got to make a decision and stick with it. Because you can’t go through this every year,” Barkley said.
Given a hypothetical of what should happen to Chizik if Auburn goes 0-8 in the SEC and finishes at 3-9, Barkley said, “I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision because you’re talking about tons of money,” he said.
Pressed on whether he’d be okay with Bobby Petrino being hired at Auburn in event Chizik wasn’t retained, Barkley laughed, “We all got baggage. Listen, man, I try not to play the God game, there’s no saints in this business….What they do in their private time, that’s on them…He’s a very good football coach. He’s going to get a job. I would be totally, totally 100% shocked if he’s not coaching, realistically, in the SEC.”
Barkley also said the three saddest days in his life were, “The day Elvis died, the day Michael Jackson died, and the day Mike Shula got fired.”
In other interesting news Barkley acknowledged he was offered the Monday Night Football job, “Yeah, probably ten years ago, I just didn’t think I want to try that….I got offered that job.” Barkley said he turned down Monday Night Football because he’s a football fan, not an expert. “I played football one day, the worst day of my life.”
Barkley also said he’s leaving TNT at the end of his current contract, “I’m retiring in four years, I’m getting ready to stop working totally. I’ve got four years left on my contract. It’s time for me to ease out of life.”
The entire interview, no surprise, was outstanding and wide-ranging. As the hosts discussed Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron signing boobs in Tuscaloosa, Barkley said, “I’ve signed many breasts.”
Asked the craziest place he’d ever been asked by a fan to sign an autograph, “One time in Flagstaff this girl said would you sign my inner thigh? I said, ‘What?’ She said, ‘No, I’m serious,’ she pulls up her skirt and I said, ‘If you have the stones to do it I’ll do it.’ I look on the other side (of her thigh) and Dan Majerle has already signed it!
That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever signed.”
Barkley also spoke on hunting with Karl Malone, “Karl Malone is a redneck,” Barkley said. “He always wants me to go hunting with him.” Barkley said he asked what Malone was hunting and Malone replied, “Black Bear.” “Black bear! Can we hunt something that can’t kill me. He went to Africa and I had like 25 kills in a week,” Barkley said.