Nick Saban vs. Steve Spurrier Is the Only Way to Settle SEC Title

Brian Pedersen@realBJPFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 23:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide leads his team on the field to face the Chattanooga Mocs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If there is any justice in the world, the stars will align this weekend and give us what we all really want: a Nick Saban-Steve Spurrier SEC championship game.

The top coach in the game today, Saban, going against Spurrier, who revolutionized the SEC 20 years ago, for all the marbles? What's not to like?

Sorry Auburn and Missouri fans, we know you'd think otherwise. But this is what we want to see, especially if Alabama is involved. A Saban-Gary Pinkel clash just doesn't have the same sizzle.

Conference championship games don't always feature a conference's two best teams, often because those squads are in the same division. This is the case in the ACC, where Clemson won't get a second chance to take on Florida State, as well as in the Big Ten, where Wisconsin is arguably as good as (if not better) than Michigan State, but won't be playing Ohio State for the conference title.

Many would say the same is going to happen in the SEC, where Alabama and Auburn will meet in Saturday's Iron Bowl to decide the West Division winner. It's a fair argument to believe those are the league's top two teams, though East-leading Missouri might disagree.

All this SEC uncertainty should make for a great final weekend of the regular season. Certainly a better week than what the conference produced last week, when it was "Bring Your FCS Cousin To The Stadium Day," though that didn't exactly work out as planned for Florida.

COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 26:  Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks looks on against  the Missouri Tigers during the second half on October 26, 2013 at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Ima
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

An Alabama-South Carolina final is possible, assuming the Crimson Tide handle Auburn and the Gamecocks benefit from a Mizzou loss and win a tiebreaker for the East crown. If that were to happen, not only would it make for a great game, but also one of the few times these storied coaches have ever faced each other.

It's hard to believe, but Saban and Spurrier have only met four times, and not since 2010. The Head Ball Coach has a 3-1 edge in the series, but their teams have never met for the SEC championship, despite both having made multiple appearances in the game.

Nick Saban vs. Steve Spurrier
2010South Carolina 35, Alabama 21
2009Alabama 20, South Carolina 6
2001Florida 44, LSU 15
2000Florida 41, LSU 6
(Saban has coached at Alabama and LSU; Spurrier at Florida and South Carolina)

Each of the previous meetings have fallen too early in the year to have a major impact on either team's conference title hopes, and therefore robbed us of any real intrigue beyond what you get from any run-of-the-mill SEC game.

Just imagine the collective frothing at the mouths of the SEC (and national) media if the two coaches with a combined 382 college victories—not to mention a pair of ill-fated ventures into the NFL—were on opposite sidelines in the Georgia Dome. You'd have the most successful coach in the game right now (Saban) against the man who revolutionized the SEC during his dominant tenure at Florida in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Visors and tirades would be thrown. Egos would clash. And two great coaching minds would pull out all the stops to one-up each other in a game that could turn the BCS on its head if South Carolina were to take it down.

We haven't even begun to talk about the press conferences leading up to, and following, the game. Saban is a master of grousing and grumbling through these junkets while Spurrier's time on the podium would be the stuff of YouTube legend.

The game would probably be a pretty good one, too, with both Alabama and South Carolina featuring effective, if not flashy, offenses that lend themselves more to the traditional SEC way of football. None of that spread or read-option crap that Saban isn't too fond of facing. It would also pit two punishing defenses chocked full of guys who will soon play on Sundays.

Come on, who doesn't want to see Jadeveon Clowney try to drop T.J. Yeldon for a loss, or Alabama execute its zone blitz to perfection and send South Carolina's Connor Shaw scrambling for his life?