College Football: 10 Reasons Why Alabama's Nick Saban Owns LSU's Les Miles
Few coaches in recent history have stirred up as much hatred among a rival team's fan base as Nick Saban has among LSU Tiger fans.
When Saban bolted Baton Rouge for the NFL, he angered many in the Bengal Nation, certainly.
But it was when he was hired by the hated Alabama Crimson Tide that feeling toward Saban went beyond anger and turned to outright loathing.
Water under the bridge to the average 'Bama fan.
Then, Saban brought home a national championship trophy to Tuscaloosa this past January, and he proved that, love him or hate him, he was one of the premier coaches in college football.
Not only did Saban prove that fact to the world, but he also bolstered the claim that he stands head and shoulders above the man who replaced him at LSU, one Leslie Edwin Miles.
The purpose of this slide show is to demonstrate exactly why Nick Saban owns Les Miles.
LSU + Saban = Hate; Bama + Miles =Indifference
Forgive the math symbolism here, but let's face it. LSU hates Nick Saban and Alabama. When Saban went to Tuscaloosa, the Tiger faithful vented a great deal of frustration against their former coach.
Meanwhile, Alabama fans think of Les Miles as a nutty, somewhat eccentric uncle who has a busted watch he keeps looking at.
You think our coach is evil; we think your coach is cute.
LSU fans, Alabama and Saban have much bigger fish to fry, as we say down in Alabama.
We hate orange, you see, in all it's incarnations: Auburn orange and Tennessee orange and Florida orange.
LSU yellow and purple?
Those are lovely colors...on flowers.
'Bama fans simply can't stir up enough emotions to hate on the Tigers and their coach because we don't consider LSU to be a hated rival or Miles to be a threat to our supremacy.
Sorry, Tiger fans and coach Miles. You're way, way down the list when it comes to being hated with equal ferocity as you hate coach Saban.
And that's gotta be frustrating for you to have all that hate unrequited and unreturned.
Maybe if you changed your colors to orange and purple?
Saban Leads in The Recruiting Wars By Miles and Miles
Let's look at some numbers, shall we?
Even though the 2011 recruiting classes are months away from being finalized, let's add them to the mix and look at the past four years of recruiting by coaches Saban and Miles.
In 2008, Alabama had the No. 1 recruiting class. LSU? 11th.
In 2009, 'Bama repeated as having the best class.
Last year, the Tide fell to fifth, but LSU was still behind them.
This year, Rivals ranks coach Saban's class as second best in the nation so far.
In order to get the results, a coach must have the best raw material. Saban has proven to be a great recruiter in that regard.
Hard to play catch up when your hand is not as loaded, isn't it, coach Miles?
Wait, What? Nick Saban Is Satan?
As one news channel says, "We report; you decide."
Ok, decide this: Which coach would you want coaching your kid based on these statements?
What has Les Miles said about Nick Saban? In 2008, reports surfaced from a one-time LSU recruit now at Alabama that Miles once called Saban "a devil." Luther Davis had committed to LSU but changed his mind after Saban was hired at Alabama. Davis said Miles got "pretty upset" when he talked to Davis about making an official visit to Alabama.
"It went from him trying to talk to me to calling me a traitor and saying I'm only doing this because the devil is coming back to college football and trying to create a big buzz, when it wasn't at all about that," Davis said.
Miles denied the report, but one must wonder what possible motive the young man would have to make up such a story.
I realize that 'Saban' is a close linguistic relative of 'satan', but still.
Now let's look at what Nick Saban said about Les Miles and the LSU program. "Les Miles has done a fantastic job since he's been there," Saban said. "There was nothing personal about my leaving the LSU job, and I have special memories of it, and I'm happy to see that program continued."
Quality Of Assistant Coaches? Advantage, Saban
A good CEO knows how to surround himself with quality staff members.
As the CEO of the Alabama Crimson Tide, coach Nick Saban had done just that.
Let's start with the current Broyles Award winner for best assistant coach in the nation, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. Can Les Miles say that any of his assistants has ever won a Broyles? Nope.
Go on down a short list of Saban's staff. Pendry, McElwain, Cignetti. Those are names that, every year, get serious consideration from other programs for head coaching or coordinator positions.
Les Miles has John Chavis, sure; but I dare you to name another assistant coach on the Tiger staff. Ok, Gary Crowton, maybe. But who else?
Oh, and Jimbo Fisher, the head coach currently at Florida State? Yes, he did coach under Les Miles at LSU. He did because he stayed after Saban left for Miami.
Face it, Tigers. Saban's assistants are better that yours.
In fact, Nick Saban has a bumper sticker that reads, "My coaching staff can kick your coaching staff's butt."
Saban Did More With Less
Oh, sure; you'll hear LSU-ers crow loud and long about how Les Miles has a better record at LSU than Nick Saban did when he was there.
Here's a surprise.
They're right. The Hat owns a slightly better winning percentage over the same time frame (.750 for Saban and .782 for Miles).
But look at the big picture.
Saban came to LSU on the heels of Gerry DiNardo, Curley Hallman, and Mike Archer. Their combined records in the period BS (Before Saban) was a paltry 76-70.
From 2000 to 2004, Nick Saban not only restored LSU's fortunes, but he also made the program a national powerhouse.
Miles came in and picked up where Saban had already plowed the field, planted the crops, and watered them in good. In short, Miles has reaped what Saban sowed. Miles did not have to rebuild the program from scratch to win his championship.
Any success Miles enjoys he owes at least in part to one Nick Saban.
How Many SEC Titles, Les? How Many?
Congratulations, LSU and Les Miles, on your SEC Championship.
Now, coach Miles, take us through the other time you even made it to Atlanta to represent the west in that game.
It didn't go very well, did it?
Meanwhile, Nick Saban won two SEC titles at Baton Rouge and one so far at Tuscaloosa.
Besides, Saban also went to the title game in 2008 and barely lost to eventual national champ Florida in a game that became an instant classic.
Let's total up, shall we? That's four times since 2001 that Nick Saban has led a team to Atlanta. He's won three of the four.
Miles? Two times. Won one.
We're pretty sure Miles won't make it back to Atlanta this season, and we're pretty sure Alabama will.
Seems Saban wins this category, as well, Les.
NFL Draft Picks-Who's Better at Getting Them To The Next Level?
In the 2010 NFL draft, professional teams chose forty-nine SEC players. That's the highest number of players ever chosen from the SEC, or from any other conference, in the history of the NFL draft.
Seven of those players came from the University of Alabama.
And it is true that four LSU players were taken in the first round of the 2007 draft; the problem with an LSU fan crowing about this is that they were Saban's recruits! Under Saban's tenure, the team had a first-round pick in Michael Clayton in '04, Marcus Spears in '05 went in the first round, then the Colts took Joseph Addai in '06. In 2007, JaMarcus Russell, LaRon Landry, Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis all went in the first round that year.
Face it; Saban can simply evaluate raw talent, see the gem inside the rock, and see potential where another coach cannot.He can also develop that talent.
This year's upcoming draft will no doubt feature two of 'Bama's crop of players in the first round; it will have one of the first wide receivers chosen (Julio Jones) and the first running back chosen (Mark Ingram).
Don't think for a minute Les Miles can match that. LSU won't see any first round picks in the 2010 draft. 'Bama will have several on defense as well.
Saban's on a Two Year Winning Streak Against The Hat
LSU has gone 17-8 and 8-8 in the SEC over the past two seasons. During that time, the Bengal Tigers have lost two in a row to Saban’s team.
Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide was undefeated in regular season league play in 2008 and 2009.
In 2008, Saban led his team into Death Valley and emerged with a 27-21 overtime win. Last season, the Tide managed a nine point victory, 24-15.
And consider this. The Tigers have largely become a one dimensional team. Their defense is one of the best in the land (Chavis is responsible here), ranking 10th overall on points allowed. On the other hand, the Bayou Bengals rank 73rd in points scored.Their virtually nonexistent passing attack is ranked 113th overall. And even their rushing attack, considered to be the team's bread and butter, comes in at 34th nationally.
In contrast, Alabama is fairly balanced; it gives up only the second fewest points per game average (12.5 ppg) while scoring an average of 34 points per game (ranked 24th). The passing attack (36th) and rushing game (30th) balance each other well.
So a multi-dimensional offense combined with a stingy defense will beat a team with practically no offense and certainly with no diversity on offense.
Yes, they'll beat them every time.
One Is a Legend; The Other Is a Joke
Partly because of his incredible record of success having coached two different schools to BCS titles. Partly because he now presides over one of the most prestigious college football programs in America--certainly in the south.
Partly because of the aura surrounding him, the mythology that is starting to be repeated about him, and partly because of his acceptance, his embrace of the giant shadow of a Bear of a man whose own legend is standing over him, Nick Saban is well on his way to becoming a legend in his own right.
Les Miles? He's on his way to becoming a punchline.
Poor clock management, poor decision making late in games, not knowing that he has a quarterback problem half way through this season--all of these contribute to the tales that jokesters now pass on about the goofy LSU coach.
His press conferences are the stuff stand up comedy routines are made of. Only one example would be when Miles told a radio audience, "Last time they were there, they lost. I don't know if that has anything to do with anything."
It does Les. It has to do with you being an idiot.
Meanwhile, we should all smile a the increasing number of beautiful children in Alabama who now proudly wear the name 'Saban'.
See, Les? They name babies after legends, not after punchlines.
Two Is Better Than One. Especially If There's a Shot at More Than Two
In the ultra competitive SEC west, which team, program, and coach do you honestly think can reach the BCS championship faster--Les Miles or Nick Saban.
If you're asking which one is the nicer guy or which one has more friends in the coaching ranks or which one is the one you want to hang out with, then the answer to all of these is Les Miles.
But it's all about the crystal football.
And Nick Saban has the drive, tools, program, staff, and recruits to make it happen on a year-to-year basis.
Saban has two of those glass trophies locked away. Miles won his one with many of Saban's recruits.
The fact that Saban has two of them and the potential to get more is the ultimate reason Nick Saban owns Les Miles.