It is that time of year again when the NFL coaching carousel begins to hit all cylinders? And there are two names at the top of the wish list of every NFL owner who will soon be looking for the latest cure for their struggling franchise. Those men are Bill Cowher and Nick Saban, the hottest comodities on the NFL market.
While Cowher has proved that he is perfectly happy without the daily grind of professional football, it is Saban who is likely to give serious thought to any number of NFL jobs such as the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals or Chicago Bears.
And while Saban continues to deny any interest in going back to the pro game, his track record indicates that his time at the Capstone is, at a minimum, approaching its halfway point.
In other words, recruits will have to factor in Saban's longevity in his current position when weighing whether to sign up for four years of wearing the crimson jerseys.
While the coaching profession is full of short term stops at college campuses across the nation, Saban is particularly hesitant to let the grass grow under his feet very long. His distinguished resume reads like that of an aging relief pitcher in the major leagues.
There is a two-year year stint at Kent State, one-year at Syracuse, two-years at West Virginia, two-years at Ohio State, one-year at Navy, and then four-years at Michigan State. Hang on, we are not done yet.
There is also the two-year stay with the NFL's then-Houston Oilers, one-year at Toledo, and then the four-years in his beloved NFL with the Cleveland Browns. This professional foray was followed by a relatively stable run at Michigan State of five years, and another five years at LSU.
It was then that the recurring NFL itch had to be scratched and a couple of seasons at Miami were in order for Saban.
Once the situation in Miami deteriorated, Saban, despite his pledges otherwise, bolted and headed for the money at the University of Alabama. He has now completed two seasons at his current job and it is assumed by many that the meter is running on his next move.
Tuscaloosa is a fine town, it is unlikely that there is anything there to keep him from his dream job, an NFL coaching position. The aforementioned jobs are likely to be open this year but Saban may not move so soon.
The most likely destination is Washington, D.C. in one or two years when owner Daniel Snyder replace Jim Zorn. At that point, Snyder will be prepared to offer $8-10 million annually to Saban and the coach will be only be a few hours drive time from his native West Virginia.
Alabama recruits will certainly have to factor Saban's track record when considering the Crimson Tide and whether or not life in the football program post-Saban will resemble the days of Mike Dubose and Mike Shula. It is still a premiere place to play college football and will always get top notch athletes. However, a coach at a school like Alabama is the difference between 8-4 and this year's 12-0.
That leaves a whole lot to think about for an 18-year-old prior to signing day.