There are a number of reasons why the sprinklers may not come on from the automatic program. Assuming the controller will run the zones from the controller manually, you most likely have a programming issue. Below are a few possible causes to the watering cycle not starting:
Check the Programming:
Is there a rain sensor wired into the controller?
If everything here appears to be normal, please use the following article for the next step in troubleshooting: No Zones Running.