Was Nick Saban Classless?

Moose .Correspondent IJanuary 10, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide signals from the sidelines during the Citi BCS National Championship game against the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A lot has been made of the "classless" Nick Saban and his running up the score against Texas in the BCS Championship game the other night. Most of the comments - on both sides of the issue, I might add - totally miss the mark. whether or not Saban showed class, it's his strategy that should have been questioned. 

Just to refresh your memory, Alabama scored to take a ten point lead with around two minutes to go. The freshman quarterback for Texas threw an interception and Alabama took over on around the Texas thirty yard line with 1:49 remaining. Texas had one time out. After a running play or two and a penalty by Texas, Alabama had a first down inside the 5 yard line with less than a minute to go. They ran up the middle and scored to go ahead 37-21. After the kickoff, Texas threw another interception. Alabama took a knee with 26 seconds left.

A look at the message boards following the game provided some great entertainment. Here are some of the highlights from some fans said after the game:

"If they could have stopped the run on defense, then Alabama wouldn't have scored."

"They could have taken a knee and it would have been over."

"Lotta wusses on the boards tonight.  Its your D's job to stop them from scoring.  Its their job to score."

"That was pretty poor sportsmanship."

"I suppose it was classless for Alabama to play the REST of the football game too."

"Would you expect anything less from Nick Saban?"

"Glad to hear the Longhorn fans whining!!"

"Saban absolutely went for the score to make it look like a bigger win than it was.  What a twerp."

"Saban. What a turd."

"I'm so sick of people using the word classless for playing whistle to whistle."

"Maybe if Texas hadn't beaten UTEP 64-7 with Colt in the game."

While most of the above comments referred to sportsmanship, whining, and name calling, here's what I believe should have been the debate. The fact is, at the 49 second mark, Alabama could have ended the game by taking a knee. Texas could have used their time out and it wouldn't have mattered. The game would have been over.

On the other hand, by running a play, Nick Saban risked losing the BCS Championship game! Forget class and everything else. 

If - and I know it's a big if, but stick with me - Alabama had fumbled and Texas had recovered and returned it for a touchdown, Texas would have been trying an on side kick with around 30 seconds to go. If they recover the kick and score another TD, Texas is the BCS Champion and the debate would not have anything to do with Saban's class. 

His stupidity would be the topic of the day, week, month, and years to come.