"They didn't even play anybody!"
"Their schedule was so soft!"
"They won't play anyone outside the SEC!"
You might hear these quotes frequently said about Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators, but Nick Saban is making sure his Alabama teams are safe from that conversation.
Since Nick Saban has been at Alabama, he has given his players the opportunity to prove themselves early in the season with huge premiere matchups.
In 2008, an unproven Alabama team made themselves known as they demolished the No. 9 ranked Clemson Tigers, 34-10. In 2009, the Crimson Tide opened up with a tremendous victory over the No. 7 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies, 34-24.
In 2010, Nick Saban's Crimson Tide will take on another tough opponent in Week Two against No. 14 Penn State. Unlike the past two seasons, Alabama will be the favorite. Once again, Nick Saban has given his players the opportunity to prove themselves and this time, their No. 1 ranking.
As long as Nick Saban is the head coach at Alabama, his teams will be tested early and throughout each season.
Recently, rumors have been swirling about an opening season matchup with the Michigan Wolverines in 2012 in Dallas, Texas. There have been other rumors with Alabama playing against Texas Tech, UCLA, and Miami in 2012.
Whomever the Crimson Tide takes on out-of-conference in 2012, the opponent will be outstanding and will provide another great opportunity for Alabama to prove themselves.
Nick Saban realizes the importance of a tough schedule. It is great for the players, the fans, the University, and for recruiting. Saban also realizes that with big wins against tough opponents comes respect from the media and opposing coaches leading to higher rankings in the BCS and in turn, greater chances to win the BCS National Championship.
Saban's willingness to take on premiere out-of-conference competition has been an essential part of his team's success at Alabama and will continue to be in future seasons. He has risked near-term success and, with favorable results, has created future prosperity for his program.
Urban Meyer and other SEC coaches are not as willing to take on the level of risk that Nick Saban is.
Beating up on mid-level opponents in the MAC or Sun Belt won't create long-term prosperity but only short-term success. Nick Saban's teams have had huge out-of-conference victories during his time at Alabama that have in part launched them into the No. 1 ranking this season.
While Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators take on mid-tier teams like Troy and South Florida in their non-conference schedules, Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide will be fighting teams like Virginia Tech and Penn State.
Wouldn't it be great for the SEC and Florida to take on a top team like Ohio State or Oklahoma?
It would, but don't count of Urban Meyer taking that big of a risk!