Saban vs. Miles: The New Hayes-Schembechler Rivalry

Dale WeaverCorrespondent INovember 9, 2008

One of the most, if not the biggest rivalries in the history of college football, was between the two legendary Big 10 programs in Ohio State and Michigan.

The rivalry is still considered by most college football fans as one of the most popular but more so out of its history, and not so much for the match-up currently. Buckeye and Wolverine fan would argue that point but the fact is, it’s not the same as back in the old days.

Ohio St. legendary coach Woody Hayes and Michigan legendary coach Bo Schembechler became icons for these programs as they led their teams into many heated years of battle.

The winner each year was most likely to compete for the national title and make the trip to Pasadena. The Rose Bowl was considered to be the grand daddy of bowls. Pure majesty in PAC-10 vs. Big Ten champions.

That luster of pageantry is now clouded by the BCS Bowl System but the shift to a new and upcoming rivalry that is brewing in the SEC is between Alabama head coach, Nick Saban, and LSU head coach, Les Miles.

Saban has ties with Ohio St and Miles with Michigan. Although the two don’t share the same similarities in the Hayes-Schembechler relationship, the Alabama/LSU game is fast becoming a clone of the past.

What are the ingredients that the Tide and Tiger rivalry share with Buckeye and Wolverine match-up?

1. One heap of drama; The Coach Factor. You must have a tie-in or a sub-plot as to why the two coaches should dislike each other. Somehow the two have to have a connection to each others program. Hayes was at one time Schembechler coach and mentor. Saban was LSU’s first love, the one who resurrected the program. Now he’s at Alabama. You get the picture.

2. One large poll; The Hurdle Factor. Your rival must prove to be the wall in which you must jump to enter into the promise land. The Michigan or Ohio St. victor historically played for the Big 10 Championship and a possible national champion. The Tide and Tiger victor is looking to be the same for the SEC West Championship in the future. We won’t go into the whole BCS issue.

3. A ton of loyalty; The Fan Factor. Each programs school must have a healthy hatred for one another. I’ve heard many stories about Ohio St. and Michigan fans. Once I heard that an Ohio St. fan who was visiting Michigan needed gas in his car but wouldn’t stop until he crossed the state border. Alabama and Louisiana don’t border each other but if they did, I’m sure it would be similar.

There is much football to be played until an Alabama/LSU rivalry is to be compared to the historic Ohio St/Michigan legacy, but there’s one thing for sure, the Miles-Saban saga is just getting warmed up.