Alabama vs. Notre Dame: Nick Saban to the NFL Storyline Just Won't Go Away

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterDecember 18, 2012

With more than a month between the SEC Championship Game and the BCS National Championship Game, there are plenty of stories that pop up that dance around the line between news and fluff.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen found that out the hard way on Monday, when his "Catholics vs. Cousins" shirt made Internet waves.

But one storyline dominating the news cycle is Alabama head coach Nick Saban's return to Miami for the game, which is where his two-year NFL experiment took place before he landed on his feet with the Alabama gig in 2007.

If the Crimson Tide can hoist the crystal football in Sun Life Stadium and take home their third national title in four years and establish a modern-day dynasty, Saban's legacy in Tuscaloosa will be as solid as Bear Bryant's. 

Could that make those pesky rumors of Saban going to the NFL more likely to come to fruition? Maybe.

Saban addressed the NFL talk on the Dan Le Batard Show on 104.3 The Ticket in Miami on Monday (via

I really enjoy what I'm doing here right now. I'm getting old now. I don't think we've got too many moves left in us. You develop a lot of relationships and loyalties to the players you recruit and the players you have on the team and the people you have in the organization. I don't think it's really fair to leave. I regretted when I left LSU because I left a lot of relationships there. Hopefully I'll be able to stay here for a long, long time.

That make sense, and Saban certainly seemed sincere with his answer. But whether he's being 100 percent honest, lying through his teeth or somewhere in-between, the answer to the NFL question isn't going to differ much no matter who the coach is; at least, not until after the BCS National Championship Game.

There is no good way to address coaching situations when you're in a spot like Saban is in. A sincere answer will sound exactly like a lie, and it's irresponsible for a coach to be sincere if he's seriously considering leaving.

Saban knows this from his time in Miami, when he said "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach" two weeks before becoming the Alabama head coach.

Coaches are egotistical by nature. There's always another challenge out there.

If Saban can lead the Crimson Tide to three titles in four years in the modern era, it would arguably be as big of an achievement as Bear Bryant's legendary run in Tuscaloosa during the 1970s. In other words, he will solidify his status as the greatest college football coach of this generation.

The one disappointment hanging over his head would be the lack of success at the NFL level. Would that be enough to lure him away from Tuscaloosa?

I doubt it, but I also wouldn't dismiss the idea entirely.

But unless Saban outright said "I'm going to the NFL" on Le Batard's show, nothing he could have possibly said on the radio or before the end of the NFL season will put the speculation to rest.

That's not his fault. It's just the nature of the beast.