Nick Saban to Texas? Not this year.
According to USA Today, the coach and school agreed to a long-term contract extension Friday night. The specifics of the contract are not available yet, but it will raise Saban's pay to between "$7 and $7.5 million per year."
Nick Saban and The University of Alabama have concluded a long-term agreement to keep him as head coach of the Tide. More details to follow.— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) December 14, 2013
With rumors swirling that Longhorns coach Mack Brown would be stepping down any day, Saban may as well have been a head coach-in-waiting for all the times his name was connected to the Texas job.
Brown was reportedly "enraged" when reports surfaced earlier this week about his supposed resignation. From ESPN:
Brown had previously confided in those close to him that he was resigning, the source said. However, Brown was "enraged" when the news leaked to the media, and he decided to change course, according to the source.
It wouldn't be surprising if Brown wanted to retire his way, but whatever the case was, it's apparently not happening now.
Even if Brown had retired, though, and even if Saban were available, the simple truth was that Saban likely wasn't going to Texas.
In related news, Saban's agent, Jimmy Sexton, just Scrooge McDuck'd into another pool of gold coins.
It's impossible to dive inside the mind of a college football coach and determine what drives him. All anyone knows is that Alabama has all the money and resources possible to keep Saban happy for as long as he wants to be in Tuscaloosa.
Texas could have started a bidding war of sorts with Alabama if it wanted, but it's hard to imagine a scenario by which the Longhorns came away with the prized coach.
Saban off the market he was never actually on. Moving on.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) December 14, 2013
However, there is something to be said about the all-or-nothing mentality that would have come with bidding for Saban's coaching services.
It's possible that Texas could have been on the verge of firing Brown, too. University president Bill Powers' job status was an agenda item for the university's board of regents earlier this week. Brown's status was supposedly a hot-button issue.
But what good is firing Brown if there's no big name lined up to replace him? It would behoove Texas to extend an offer to Saban, to extend an offer to Baylor coach Art Briles—even if it means being told "no." When it comes to a valuable investment like a head coach, shooting for anything less than the best is flat wrong.
So beyond those names, Texas would be going down a list of candidates, potentially making an under-the-radar hire. Not that there's anything wrong with it—Pete Carroll was not USC's first choice when he was hired over 13 years ago—but that's likely not what Texas' preference was.
If the marketplace wasn't ideal, then settling for the wrong coach in the name of change can set a program back even further.
I understand the reasoning behind "Saban or no other new option": You don't just *settle* 4 someone. That said, are the pickings THAT slim?— Matt Zemek (@MattZemek_CFN) December 14, 2013
The topic of replacing Brown isn't over, though. 2014 is going to be a critical year for Brown if he does in fact come back. If Texas doesn't make it to the first-ever four-team College Football Playoff, you can bet this conversation will come up again in a year.
Maybe Texas will eventually get its big-name hire. It just won't be Saban.
It was never going to be Saban.