Five Reasons Why Saban Will Retire at Alabama
Earlier this week, local columnist/ radio talk show host/ pot stirrer Paul Finebaum published a column declaring that University of Florida head coach Urban Myer would jump at the chance to go to his self professed “dream job” Notre Dame if Charlie Weiss gets the hook this year. The Gator nation quickly rebuffed the statement, and chalked it up to sensationalist journalism meant to evoke discussion in the dragging summer months before football season. Secretly, many Alabama fans probably entertained the thought “Well, if Notre Dame can’t get Myer, would they go after our coach?” Well, they might. However, here are five reasons why Nick Saban would not take the job, and won’t be going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
It’s his reputation. Look, even the most ardent Alabama fan would begrudgingly admit that Nick Saban has some jerkish qualities about him. That’s just the way he is, and it has served him surprisingly well. That being said, I think Saban still cares about the way people perceive him. He still stings from the hit his reputation took during the whole Miami to Alabama fiasco. He knows to make any other sort of move now would completely destroy any shred of integrity he had. For a guy with an ego like Saban’s, I think that would be too much for him to bear. He wants to leave behind a statue of himself to stand outside of Bryant Denny Stadium alongside the other head coaches who have brought national championships to the Crimson Tide, and not a legacy that is irrevocably tarnished.
It’s the SEC. The SEC is hands down the most dominant conference since the dawn of the BCS era. The conference has captured five BCS titles in the 11 years of the BCS’ existence. It has just agreed to the most lucrative television deal in college sports history. The level of competition from week to week is unsurpassed. It seems as if every week you are playing a hated rival with everything at stake. If you want to be challenged to be the best you can be, but don’t want to coach in the SEC, then maybe you don’t really want to be truly challenged.
It’s Auburn. Just the challenge of having a hated instate, Western Division Conference rival just a few hours down the road has to stoke the man’s natural competitive fire. Who was LSU’s instate rival? Tulane? Louisiana- Monroe (okay, scratch that)? I think the yearly challenge of the Iron Bowl is more likely to keep Saban deeply invested. Considering he was overheard saying “Don’t you know how much I f***in’ hate these guys?” to his players during last years Iron Bowl, I think he relishes the driving passion and rush the rivalry provides. Despite the lack of a trophy as cool as the “Golden Boot,” the Iron Bowl surpasses any rivalry he could have had at LSU.
It’s the recruiting. It seems as if Nick Saban loves to recruit as much as anything he does. Lucky for him he’s also damn good at it. At LSU, he could control the state of Louisiana, cherry pick from states like Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama, and with his recruiting prowess he could easily put together a championship team. In Alabama, it’s a bit different. There is still an abundance of talent, though to a lesser degree than the state of Louisiana. Plus, there’s the challenge of recruiting against Auburn. For Saban to build a championship team at Alabama, he has to beat his instate rival for the majority of the best instate players, as well as swipe a few blue chippers from Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. It’s a little bit more of a challenge to build the type of monster program he had brewing at LSU. If he wants to win a National Championship again, he’s gonna have to work for it. Again, I think that challenge alone is a driving factor for him.
It’s Alabama. Groan all you want at the supposed arrogance of that statement. However, the fact remains that Alabama is one of the top 5 most storied programs in the history of college football. It’s one of the most tradition rich schools in the land, boasting of 12 national titles and 21 conference championships. The Crimson Tide as a fan base as rabid for football as you can get. Saban has been given carte blanche authority to run one of the most prestigious football programs in the nation. The head coach at Alabama is the most recognizable (and possibly most powerful) position in the state. He’s a freakin’ rock star here, which suits the man’s considerable ego. Succinctly put, it’s a pretty sweet gig if you can get it. As Nick Saban himself has said, “There’s no better place to coach than Alabama.”
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