What Gus Malzahn didn't say here was that he absolutely, categorically, without a doubt was returning in 2018 at Auburn.

Why would he?

On the eve of the SEC Championship Game, there are millions to be made for the Auburn coach. Millions on the table, apparently. There was a report this week that Malzahn's representatives had put together a "package" for the school officials to consider.

Why wouldn't they?

Malzahn has never been hotter. The Tigers are a game away from their second SEC title in five years. Malzahn has now proven himself -- along with Clemson's Dabo Swinney -- to be one of the most significant challengers to Nick Saban.

"I'm focused on this game," Malzahn told reporters Friday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. "This is for the SEC championship, and I'm the head coach of Auburn."

Notice what was missing there -- a definitive statement that he will be the coach at Auburn. Let's just say Gus is coached well. His agent is Jimmy Sexton. To call Sexton powerful is to call Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tall.

Sexton is a benevolent dictator when it comes to the silly season. When Dan Mullen took the Florida job, that made it five Sexton clients in the SEC East alone.

In the SEC West, he has Saban and Malzahn. Nothing happens in the SEC -- and nationally in the coaching carousel -- until Jimmy says so.

You might have noticed it was Sexton who got Jimbo Fisher 10 years guaranteed for the most total money ever for a college coach at Texas A&M, $75 million.