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Is Leaving the Alabama Crimson Tide Worth It for Nick Saban?

Nov 16, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban runs off the field following the Tide's 20-7 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor
Dilan AmesCorrespondent IJanuary 16, 2017

Since coming to Tuscaloosa, Nick Saban has made quite a name for himself. He already had an impressive resumé before taking over the Alabama Crimson Tide program, but he has since cemented his legacy as one of college football's greatest coaches.

He's brought Alabama from the depths of the SEC to a premier status, adding three national championships along the way. Despite his tremendous success with the program, there have been reports of him being under "special pressure" (per the Associated Press) at the school. Given all the comparisons between Bear Bryant and himself, I can understand why he may feel that pressure.

According to ESPN.com, Saban's agent mentioned that the soon-to-be-vacant head coaching job at the University of Texas is the only one Saban would leave Bama for. Now that the season is just about over, Saban's options will be made clear soon.

Although his wife, Terry Saban, said they will stay in Tuscaloosa (per Sharon Terlep, Wall Street Journal), it was confirmed that she was recently house hunting in Austin, Texas. Now, Mrs. Saban works as a real-estate agent so it could be completely incidental, but it could mean something. For now, we remain in the dark.

Regardless of all the clues (if that's what you want to call them), one must wonder: If Mack Brown is fired, how attractive will Texas look to Saban? 

 

The pros

Although his comments aren't indicative of him wanting to leave, money talks—and Texas has a lot of it. Alabama's endowment is about $630 million, whereas Texas' is close to $6 billion (h/t AthlonSports.com), so they could pay him handsomely as well as give him a fresh start with minimal pressure.

If this "special pressure" is really getting to Saban that much, then why not go to a place that will pay you more and where anything more than five or six wins will be acceptable?

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 30:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide is surrounded after their 28 to 34 loss to the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Morally, money is not the best reason to take a job, but with Texas it's more than the money. In terms of competition, Texas' annual schedules are not nearly as difficult as Alabama's because of the difference in conferences. 

What's probably also taking away from Alabama's draw is the fact that they're losing a ton of players to the NFL, including prized quarterback A.J. McCarron. They will also lose stud linebacker C.J. Mosley, along with top-rated safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Saban may think that, at this point, Alabama is on the decline, and might look to get out before his legacy gets scuffed by a down year.

 

The cons

While there's been no word on when or if he'll retire, at this point it would take a lot to pull him away from Alabama. Texas (or any other school/team for that matter) may not want to try that hard if there's a possibility he won't take the job in the end. 

As nice as it would be to have a fresh start with a ton more money, Saban is 62. Change may not be exactly what he's looking for, or wants at all. Saban has even said he's "just too damn old" to start building somewhere else.

Realistically, he probably won't coach much longer, so why not stay at Alabama, one of the top recruiting programs in the country, no matter who they lose on the roster? They've done well with the next-man-up mentality since Saban came to the school. Why would it be any different now?

Despite all the rumors swirling, Saban and his family seem perfectly happy in Tuscaloosa. Until the University of Texas holds a news conference to announce his official hiring, you have to believe he's fine just where he is. 

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