Tennessee fans should root for an Alabama victory?
As strange as the opening sentence to this piece may sound, there could be some merit to it should it bring about one particular result. And that result is for Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban to leave his current job and go back to the NFL.
There have been recent rumors that Saban might consider returning to the professional football ranks should his team produce its third national title in five years when Alabama takes on Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game on January 7.
Saban's own wife even contributed to the rumor mill when she recently told ESPN 973 The Zone that Tide assistant coach Kirby Smart "could be a great fit here and would be able to fit right in."
After all, what other mountains would be left for the coach to climb in the college ranks after having claimed a total of four SEC titles and four national championships(should Alabama beat Notre Dame) during his tenures at LSU and in Tuscaloosa?
But at the same time, there is still that one summit left to reach on the horizon. Saban's first NFL stint with the Miami Dolphins(2005-2006) certainly did not go the way he or that organization would have liked.
Granted, Saban does seem to prefer the college game over the NFL, particularly in the area of recruiting. And the University of Alabama provides the coach with a powerful platform from which to reach potential players.
Should Nick Saban return to the NFL?
Never mind that Saban is undefeated on the field against Tennessee since taking the job in Alabama. It's in recruiting where Vols fans, as well as fans from every other SEC school, should most hope Saban decides to leave.
He has proven to be a relentless and formidable opponent on the recruiting trail. Seemingly, every major high school prospect in the region, if not the nation, has Alabama as one of his top choices year in and year out. While not all of this is due to Saban's persuasive abilities, much of it is.
Since taking over in Tuscaloosa, Saban has piled up top prospects every February on National Signing Day. Tennessee and other schools had been able to hold their own with Alabama when previous coaches were leading the Tide, whether NCAA sanctions were in place or not.
Alabama is always going to be force in college football. But Saban has taken the Crimson Tide to an entirely new level with not only his coaching ability but also his ability to garner the most talent. As long as he is around, Butch Jones and every other coach in the SEC has difficult obstacle to overcome on the field and on the recruiting trail.
That said, it seems less likely with each new report that Saban will indeed leave.
Nick Saban leaving to coach for a second stint in the NFL might or might not give Tennessee an upper hand in recruiting. But his leaving would at least give the Vols and others a chance to catch up.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. Please visit RacingWithRich.com for NASCAR news and views.