Cosmologically speaking, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is a gas giant.
Gas giants, such as Jupiter and Saturn, create huge gravitational fields, sucking stellar objects into their orbits and even bending light itself.
Because their atmospheres are filled with a cocktail of gases, the giants' ever-changing colors are splendid to behold. However, because they're composed of gas, they're more volume than mass—more show than substance.
Of course, the gas giants don't realize this. They're too blinded by their own majesty to know they're little more than puffed-up anomalies.
So it is that Nick Saban came to be quoted in an Alabama newspaper column this week, under the headline, "Lower standards help some schools," commenting on the lack of academic standards at schools that are not named Alabama:
"There's significant amounts of players who don't qualify (at some schools) and they end up being pretty good players at some other schools," Saban told the Birmingham News. "I think there are six guys starting on South Florida's defense who probably could have gone to Florida or Florida State but Florida and Florida State couldn't take them."
This is the statement of a Gas Giant, a thing so big and self-possessed it has no filter. It thinks a thing and then says it.
Saban's point is essentially this:
South Florida recruits idiots who couldn't even get into Florida and Florida State.
The columnist piles on, noting "rival coaches are not quite as enthusiastic about the success of South Florida, and similarly fast-rising schools like Rutgers and West Virginia."
First off, I'm not sure an SEC school outside of Vanderbilt can claim rigorous academic standards. So Saban and his enabling columnist friend can shelve that "Alabama is the Harvard of West-Central Alabama" campaign they're obviously trying to gin up.
Second, South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt is now some kind of peeee-oh'd.
"It's not right," Leavitt told the Tampa Tribune. "We've done what we've done because we've worked hard. Of 110 players, we have two non-qualifiers. One starts, one doesn't."
Third, while it's true that WVU has won more games since the beginning of the 2005 season than (I believe) any time in its history, it's patently false to call the program "fast-rising."
WVU had undefeated seasons in 1988 and 1993, and played for the national title both years.
Now, maybe Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano recruits players that couldn't spell RU if you spotted them the R, but I doubt it.
I think the Gas Giant needs to pay a little more attention to his own planet, where his 3-2 team is stranded in the atmosphere, sucking toxic gases.