Power Ranking Best Head Coaches Nick Saban Has Chewed Up & Spit Out with Alabama
Nick Saban has put together one of the best careers for a college football coach in history. Saban now has four national titles, four SEC titles and has never coached a losing season in college.
Since arriving at Alabama, Saban has faced a number of legendary coaches that carry the same swagger as Nick on the field. Their career numbers are strong, and their reputations are stronger. One thing in common is that Saban has chewed up their teams and spit them out consistently.
Before Hog-gate, Bobby Petrino was one of the best coaches in the SEC. In four years at Arkansas—including 10-win and 11-win seasons—Petrino never beat Saban. Legendary coach Frank Beamer brought his squad to Atlanta and lost big a few years ago.
Another coach that never had the upper hand on Nick Saban was Urban Meyer—a legend in his own right. Taking a look back at the coaches that have faced Saban, here is the power ranking of the best coaches that Nick Saban has chewed up and spit out.
No. 7 Bobby Petrino: Arkansas Razorbacks (Western Kentucky)
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Bobby Petrino was regarded as one of the top coaches in the SEC before he lost his job at Arkansas. He was a consistent and proven winner at a school that struggled to find consistency in years past.
He had turned Arkansas into a nationally discussed team, and he was on his way to a BCS run if he would have stayed with the Hogs.
The one coach that he struggled to find success against was Nick Saban. Saban beat Petrino four times in four tries when he was with the Razorbacks.
Bobby Petrino’s 0-4 mark is the worst of any highly regarded coach against the Alabama leader, placing him at No. 7 on the power ranking. Petrino is now the head coach of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
No. 6 Brian Kelly: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
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Brian Kelly is one of the best coaches currently guiding a major BCS level team. His Fighting Irish overcame major odds in 2012 to make it into the BCS National Championship Game against Alabama.
The Irish lost the game and finished the year 12-1, but the loss wasn’t of the ordinary variety. Brian Kelly’s squad got demolished 42-14. The 14 points were throwaway points in the second half.
Kelly was unable to overcome the Saban push for a third national title in four years. It was a bad finish to a magical season in South Bend, but the future looks bright for Kelly and Co.—as long as they don’t face Nick Saban’s squad again.
No. 5 Frank Beamer: Virginia Tech Hokies
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In the one meeting between Frank Beamer and Nick Saban that came in 2009, the Crimson Tide came back in explosive fashion during the fourth quarter and blasted past the Hokies.
Virginia Tech took a 17-16 lead into halftime, but 18 fourth-quarter points pushed the Tide over the Hokies 34-24. Virginia Tech got a late score to finish the game.
Frank Beamer is arguably the best head coach to never win a national title at this point in his career. Beamer has won three Big East and four ACC titles as the Hokies head coach. He has only won two BCS games in eight tries however, tarnishing his big-game record.
History will look favorably on Beamer and his record with the Hokies. They are consistently considered to be among the top in the ACC and will be while he leads the program.
Unfortunately his one chance against Nick Saban was a major strikeout.
No. 4 Phillip Fulmer: Tennessee Volunteers (Ret.)
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Phillip Fulmer and Alabama have never mixed well, but when Nick Saban was added to the fold, the game was over.
The rivalry was now a rout and there was nothing that Phillip Fulmer could do about it. The way that Saban dominated Tennessee during the Fulmer years was impressive for the Tide, but it helped usher out the Fulmer era in Knoxville.
Fulmer was 0-2 against Saban, even during the first season when Alabama struggled to finish over .500. The Tide routed Tennessee in both meetings, showing that a shift in the rivalry was again on the horizon.
No. 3 Mark Richt: Georgia Bulldogs
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Mark Richt has to feel cursed at this point. He had his team within four yards of a national title berth and it was as if fate hit the Bulldogs and Nick Saban was again the winner in the battle.
Richt has led Georgia to new heights in his 12 years there, winning two SEC titles and six division titles. He has eight bowl wins in those 12 seasons. The Bulldogs have finished with only one losing record, but they are 1-2 against the Tide under Saban.
The Bulldogs rotate on and off the Crimson Tide schedule for the SEC rotation, so they have only played three times since Saban’s arrival in Tuscaloosa. The most recent was the meeting in Atlanta for the SEC title this past fall.
No. 2 Les Miles: LSU Tigers
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The Mad Hatter has worked magic a number of times in his past with the Bayou Bengals, but he has yet to master the ability to make Nick Saban’s winning ways go away.
LSU is 3-4 against Alabama since Nick Saban’s arrival which includes a loss in the national title game in 2011. Miles has continued the winning tradition that Saban left behind at LSU for the NFL, but he has yet to master the former leader of the Tigers program.
Alabama has been very consistent against its bitter interdivision rival over the years, and Nick Saban being the former coach of LSU adds a unique dynamic to the matchup every year.
This has been a fun rivalry to watch unfold as the coaching showdown that occurs every year is one of the most unique in college football. Two very different approaches that bring rivaled success.
No. 1 Urban Meyer: Florida Gators (Ohio State)
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Urban Meyer is one of the few living legends in college football. It has been amazing the way that he has been able to turn around programs in a matter of seasons and then sustain success at the highest level of the college game.
Meyer headed to Florida in 2005 and was established two years before Nick Saban arrived at Alabama. Despite that, the teams met three times, and twice the games ended as blowout wins in favor of the Crimson Tide.
Nick Saban stepped in at Alabama and put a recruiting umbrella over the Southeast, taking a number of recruits from the traditional recruiting hot bed that is Florida. Meyer lost his recruiting edge to Saban, and it began to show on the field.
The Gators were able to steal a win in the SEC title game over the Tide in 2008. Ever since Alabama has led the charge in the SEC and Urban Meyer has since defected to the Big Ten.