Right now, they’re all just playing for second place.

Hmmm

SEC dominance can be broken up into three periods involving three coaches.

Bear Bryant. Steve Spurrier.

Nick Saban.

During the Saban era Alabama has flourished with talent and championships. The Crimson Tide have won three consecutive SEC titles and five of the past 10. Saban’s Alabama teams have won four national championships and came seconds short of a fifth in last season’s thrilling 35-31 loss to Clemson.

During the past decade, the SEC has stated its claim as the best conference in college football. But has Alabama become too good for even the rest of the conference?

The Crimson Tide’s reign hasn’t showed signs of slowing down any time soon. Therefore, a fear exists that Alabama has widened the gap between itself and the rest of the SEC.

if I didn’t know any better

There is parity in the league, yes, but only behind Saban and his Crimson Tide. No, teams do not prepare, develop or build the same way Alabama does. That’s why the SEC is a one-team league, and the gap is so big right now that it almost seems foolish to contemplate picking someone besides Alabama to win the conference so long as Saban is coaching in Tuscaloosa.

“The consistency of that program over the years did not come overnight,” said Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, who is 1-4 against Saban’s Tide during his time with the Aggies. “I think people understand that. But you can’t argue that that is the mark, and that’s where everybody wants to be.

“You can win a lot of games in the West, and that one can take its toll on you. I think it took its toll on us the last couple of years, matter of fact.”

Alabama takes its toll on everyone. In the past three seasons, the Tide have owned the league, winning 25 of 27 games against SEC opponents. The only SEC West opponent who has managed to beat Alabama since Auburn’s magical kick-six win in 2013 is Ole Miss (twice); the SEC East, meanwhile, is 0-9 against the Crimson Tide.

Of Alabama’s 25 wins over SEC opponents in three seasons, 20 have been by double figures, including the last eight — which Alabama won by a combined 219 points (27.4-point margin of victory). During that stretch, five different SEC teams have won 10 games, but West has largely failed to challenge the Tide. The East, for its part, has been widely condemned as one of the nation’s worst divisions.

… I’d say a common theme has emerged.

… This year? It feels like Alabama and everyone else—just as it did last year. Since losing the Kick-Six game to Auburn in November 2013, Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide have so thoroughly dominated the SEC that they’ve sucked all the competitive oxygen from a league that used to produce multiple national title contenders on an annual basis. And unless some teams have improved dramatically in the offseason, it doesn’t feel like anyone is ready to close the gap.

Tide coach Nick Saban launched his appearance Wednesday with a crack that probably turned the stomachs of his fellow coaches. “I’m kind of proud of the fact that this is my 16th SEC Media Day, the 11th at Alabama,” Saban said. “I’m sure that there’s nobody in this room that thought that would ever happen when it started out 11 years ago.” Couple this with recent comments from the 65-year-old Saban that he has no intention of retiring anytime soon, and that means misery for the rest of the league.

Since 2014, Alabama has gone 25–2 in SEC play, won three SEC titles and reached the College Football Playoff three times. The average margin in those SEC games is an 18.2-point Alabama win. Take out Ole Miss, which beat Alabama in ’14 and ’15 and which pushed the Tide in a five-point Alabama win last year, and the number jumps to 20.8. With the Rebels’ recruiting hamstrung in recent years by an NCAA case, the one team that had figured out how to compete with the Tide could be headed downhill. So it’ll be up to the teams that have averaged a three-touchdown whipping from Alabama to find a way to hang with the Tide.

While Alabama’s dominance is great for everyone in Tuscaloosa, it’s terrible for the health of the SEC.

Nick Saban is like the weather — everybody talks about him, but nobody does anything about it.  Or at least nobody’s done anything about it yet.

The problem isn’t drawing up a road map for success.  It’s pretty obvious that to compete with Alabama on its own terms means a program has to possess three things:  (1) excellent coaching; (2) quality roster depth; and (3) quarterback play good enough to present a legitimate threat to Alabama’s defensive scheme.  As the cliché goes, though, the devil’s in the details.  If those items were easy to achieve, Nick Saban wouldn’t be the $7+ million a year colossus he is today.  (At present, the only program out there I would acknowledge that meets all three criteria on a consistent basis is Ohio State, although I can see an argument being made for FSU.  Give Clemson a little more time and I may concede that, too.)

I will say that, judging from recruiting, you can see Kirby Smart buys the same road map.  It’s not his vision that should be questioned, merely his ability to execute his vision.  That’s something we should get a better handle on this season, I think.

One thing I’m a little curious about is whether Smart had to explain his philosophy to return Georgia football to SEC prominence — which means beating Alabama at least occasionally — to get the job offer.  It would have been impressive to see him paint that picture. (Then again, he may have had Butts-Mehre at “I’m interviewing for the South Carolina job”.)

Let’s hope he shows us in the next couple of seasons that he knows what he’s doing.

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165 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

165 responses to “Right now, they’re all just playing for second place.

  1. Gaskilldawg

    He did have McGarity when his agent started the rumor that Smart was looking at South Carolina. The reality is that Smart was not interested in Carolina; it was a ruse.

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      Exactly; I commented on this below. Kirby was never going to take the SCU job. Instead, he would be coaching in Blacksburg today if we wouldn’t have fired CMR.

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      • dawgtired

        Agree. I don’t think KS would have been effective at USC anyway. Fewer connections. Less support etc. Less talent. I believe UGA is KS’ best opportunity to succeed…

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  2. 92 grad

    SOS or corch didn’t destroy the conference but Saban did. I like to take on the mental exercise that nick presents, where his long, steady, and thoroughly dominant career has caused every sec program to fire and hire. It’s interesting and frustrating.

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  3. Bigshot

    Name me one great coaching move Saban has made. Great coaching has little to do with Bama’s success. Bama wins because they have the best players. Saban is the best recruiter in the country and he is not limited by an administration.

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    • Saban is the best recruiter in the country…

      Last time I checked, that’s part of college coaching.

      Most people would say he’s a very good defensive coach.

      He also hires quality assistant coaches.

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      • I’ll never understand people who question Saban’s coaching acumen. Recruiting at an elite level is a trait of a fantastic coach, not a crutch for one. Recruit the best, coach them up, win games. Anyone who watches Alabama play and comes away with the thought that they’re good athletes and not expertly coached clearly didn’t pay attention.

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        • dawgtired

          …and I think that last one on your list is underrated. Surrounding yourself with quality people is a good idea in any business.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Otto

            The ranking of the Bama defenses shows he can coach. You don’t just out talent a league who dominated the BCS era and lead in scoring defense.

            I do think the team has suffered as the team has evolved to statistically improve on offense but in doing so has forced the defense to defend more possessions. The early Bama Saban clock control offenses were a thing of beauty.

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        • Erskine

          100 % agree. Saban takes 5 star recruits and can coach them up and get max effort. The prima donna recruits are quickly drummed out. He also has built an attitude centered around a team environment.
          In regard to hiring assistants, year in and year out his staff is raided and they do not skip a beat..
          To me that is the definition of supreme coaching.

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    • Generally I agree with you. He’s a great recruiter and program builder. You put him in a league with parity or you put him where his resources aren’t overwhelming and he’s not special. Until 2008 his career winning percentage was less than Ray Goff’s.

      SOS can win big at USCe. Urban Meyer can win big at Utah. Tom Herman can win big at Houston. I don’t know that you can say the same about Nick.

      But since you asked, the onside kick vs. Clemson two years ago was a pretty good call.

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      • Russ

        I tend to agree with you, Derek. He’s a good game day coach, but not the greatest. His skill is in program building/maintaining which is the best of anyone in my opinion. And yes, that’s all rolled up under the coaching umbrella.

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      • SOS can win big at USCe. Urban Meyer can win big at Utah. Tom Herman can win big at Houston. I don’t know that you can say the same about Nick.

        He won a national title at LSU, for crissakes. That program had been moribund before he got there.

        And that Ray Goff comparison is amusing. If Goff had been hired to turn around three different programs, I might pay more attention.

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        • You’re welcome to put LSU in the same class as Houston, Utah and USCe.

          Yes LSU had floundered for a while but they’ve always had access to great talent. LSU in 2000 is more comparable to UF in 1990, UGA in 2001, Auburn in 1981, and Miami when Butch Jones took the job. These are programs that had won big, had resources, had a fan base and just needed the right guy. That ain’t Houston, Utah or USCe.

          And then there’s the home loss to UAB and the home loss to ULL. Has Urban, SOS or Herman ever lost one of those much less two?

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          • Yes LSU had floundered for a while but they’ve always had access to great talent. LSU in 2000 is more comparable to UF in 1990, UGA in 2001, Auburn in 1981, and Miami when Butch Jones took the job.

            It took Spurrier longer to win a title at UF than it did Saban at LSU.

            Georgia never got over the hump.

            Dye never won a national title.

            Davis succeeded Dennis Erickson, who left Miami with a 63-9 record, one national title and three top six finishes in four years, so I’m not getting your analogy there.

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        • Btw: the only comparison to Ray is the metric of winning %. Urban and SOS have never had mediocre winning percentages and they coached at the likes of Duke, Bowling Green and Utah. Michigan State and LSU are slightly better jobs I’d say than Duke and Bowling green.

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          • You have to look at the opposition to make a fair comparison.

            Saban was 9-2 in his one season at Toledo, FWTW.

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            • One of those losses was to a 5-6 Navy team. I’m sensing a pattern here….

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              • Definitely a huge sample size you’re working from there.

                Dude, if you want to claim Saban’s record isn’t all that great, knock yourself out.

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                • Dude. It’s pretty clear what I’m saying and I’ve been consistent for more than 10 years. The guy out recruits everybody. He builds a program relentlessly and ruthlessly. His team never rests on their laurels. They stay hungry. I’m willing to give him all of those accolades. The best college coach at those things I listed ever.

                  However, you take 200 kids, randomly give SOS 100 and Saban 100 and they’re gonna play in a month and SOS will beat that fucker like a drum every time. Does that mean he sucks? No. It just means that this media driven drivel, like most media driven drivel, that Saban is this great tactician is pure and utter bullshit. X’s and O’s and game planning is not where he’s winning these titles.

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                  • I’m not sure why I’m supposed to care how Saban dominates.

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                    • Russ

                      I agree that Saban dominates. But I agree with Derek that it wouldn’t happen elsewhere. Yes, Saban won a natty at LSU with some luck that Richt didn’t get in 2002 (mainly, a timely loss by someone ahead of them late in the season). Richt also beat him like a drum in Athens.

                      Saban at Alabama is the perfect storm. He’s nearly unbeatable there. At any other school, he’d be one of a larger handful of great coaches, not the top of the heap.

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                    • I agree that Saban dominates.

                      To quote a Talmudic scholar, all the rest is commentary.

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                    • You don’t have to care. I think the comparisons and contrasts between a guy like urban and saban are intriguing as a football fan. It helps to have some understanding of Saban’s methodology while looking at his progeny coach my school. I’m always looking to see what’s being copied and what’s being left in Tuscaloosa.

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                  • Southernlawyer11

                    I tend to agree with Derek. And I don’t think it’s a knock on his “coaching ability.” I look at his recruiting and depth like an insurance policy. If the Alabama football machine is a V8 engine, he has made it so strong that it can run for an entire game on only 6 cylinders while 2 foul up.

                    The depth of talent Saban has means he doesn’t have to have Aaron Murray-Mike Bobo level synergy to reach the pinnacle. You put any recent UGA team in that title game against Clemson last year and have the quarterback struggle like Hurts did and we’re talking Columbia 2012 or Knoxville 07′. He has so much depth that he can have a coordinator and quarterback criss-crossing wires an entire game and still have a chance to win it.

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      • Otto

        I disagree the more parity, the more he will dominate as he will find the smallest opening in the rule book and exploit them to the greatest extent.

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        • Explain the NFL head coaching record then.

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          • Otto

            Saban’s NFL record? He didn’t have control of the roster nor enough experience with the politics of NFL roster management. Bama he has control of everything and winning without the NCAA breathing down your back is the politics.

            Saban has continued to recruit at possibly an even higher level after the Saban rule was put in place. He is the one who seemingly discover and certainly exploited the support staff loop hole, as well as using prior players during practice. Saban does things that makes Freeze say “Hate I didn’t think of it first” but they’re legal.

            http://www.espn.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/123636/nick-saban-alabama-make-most-of-rule-allowing-former-players-to-practice

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            • Said shorter: parity strips away the advantages. In the NFL you can’t get away from parity.

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              • Bill Belichick nods and smiles knowingly.

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                • Otto

                  I started to add Belichick as an example of the best person for the job prospering because of measures introduced to increase parity. In racing it also obvious IRL and Penske with the prior chassis design, and Hendrick in NASCAR with the Car of Tomorrow.

                  Efforts to increase Parity often results in one organization coming out ahead but a wider fight for best of the rest.

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                • Not sure if your crediting him for winning in spite of parity or your suggesting that it doesn’t exist.

                  It does. That he’s been able to consistently overcome that is what separates him.

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                  • Otto

                    I am saying that the rules used to create parity benefits those who can analyze the vast amounts of rules introduced and can exploit/execute the most minimal changes to the greatest extent while not creating errors which are now harder to come back from as the parity has narrowed the window for success.

                    Saban does that in the college game. He analyzed the rules to legally create an advantage in ways that other successful coaches did not think of. Saban teams also do not make mistakes.

                    Belichick in the NFL, Hendrick in NASCAR, and Penske in the IRL all maximize their team putting them in position to win far more often than not and have benefited from parity.

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                    • It doesn’t take a lot of analysis to tell a commit to fuck off on signing day because a higher rated player committed that morning.

                      It doesn’t take a lot of analysis to see that your 3rd string redshirt junior tackle is taking up space so let’s send him to the doctor for his “medical redshirt” examination so we can add space.

                      It doesn’t take much analysis to know that the kids you are recruiting are kids and will have too much confidence in themselves to believe those horror stories will ever happen to them.

                      He’s built that place on fucking over kids time and time again and done it so successful that the outside world doesn’t know and bama fans don’t care.

                      He’s a soulless automaton and exhibit A is Jonathan Taylor.

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                    • Otto

                      Yes automation, he review tape, every trick play Peterson ever pulled was studied for the Washington game, he recruits coaches not just player, he reviews rules, he recruits body types, it is tireless commitment to maximize the small area. process, process, process.

                      Yes soulless automation is what thrives in parity look at my other examples. If your cool is lost the other side exploits.

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                    • Are you far enough up in there to know what he had for breakfast?

                      Should have studied us harder else we wouldn’t have blocked a kick and had a successful fake. Missed details.

                      Also maybe zero coverage every time inside the 5 isn’t a great strategy vs. a team we’ll versed in “rub plays.” But yeah great look on the final play since that was the exact look they expected because that’s what they always do. Details.

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                    • Otto

                      Did the other team execute the play to win the game?

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              • 69Dawg

                I guess you can lump SOS into the parity hurts category then because his superior on field coaching in the NFL got his ass burned.

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                • As for SOS I think it was “game week” that got him more than “game day.” SOS was unwilling or unable to work the 20 hour days those guys put in to be ready on Sunday. It’s just a different animal at that level.

                  If parity were SOS’s issue, he’d never have won the SEC east at USC. He’ll be the high water mark for the gamecocks probably forever.

                  Liked by 1 person

      • 3rdandGrantham

        Dude, comparing Nick Saban to Ray Goff is like comparing Charleze Theron to Rosie Odonnell. He took over an utter disaster of a MSU program on severe NCAA probation during all but his final year there, then took over another disaster at LSU that I believe only won 3 games the previous year under Dinardo.

        You can talk resources all you want, but what he did at LSU and then Bama is nothing short of amazing. The fact that he was able to persuade others to get those resources in place alone is unreal — whereas most others either don’t take the initiative or just let TPTB push back at them.

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        • 3rdandGrantham

          Check that….LSU under Dinardo won 4 and 2 games respectively in his final 3 years there, including going winless in the SEC his final year. LSU was an even bigger dumpster fire than I even thought.

          BTW, anyone else remember that ’99 LSU game in Athens, where it took a Will Witherspoon batted down pass at the end to seal the win? If not for that, that would have been a monster upset. I also remember Sanks having a solid game, but man was he out of shape — most of us knew by then he was pretty much a bust.

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        • Again the comparison is to winning % and nothing else. If you want to know on the basis of winning percentage the rate at which Saban coached teams were winning between his first year as a HC and the end of 2008, the answer is: about as well as Ray Goff did at Georgia. It’s not a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of fact. Does it tell you much else other than winning percentage? Not a fucking thing.

          Can I say that Nick Saban and Les Miles won the same number of natties at LSU? Is that ok? Is that a “comparison?”

          I hope not because I think les Miles is one of the worst football coaches ever verified by the fact that he’s unemployed, BUT those two guys have exactly the same number of natties while serving as LSU’s coach.

          Can I say Chizik and Vince Dooley have the same number of natties? Is that ok?

          Is it ok to say that Hillary Clinton got 50% more votes for president than Ronald Reagan? Is that ok?

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          • 3rdandGrantham

            Dude, there is no point whatsoever in comparing Goff’s and Saban’s winning percentage at any point. Sure, you can espouse them if you want others to think you have a <95 IQ, but it’s an utterly useless exercise. Its like me bragging to my friends that I made more money than Jeff Bezos on a given day in which Amazon’s stock declines.

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            • I think there’s a point. Between Toledo, msu, Miami and even the great success at LSU, until he got bama going his overal record was mediocre. What that tells me is that he did not start out winning similar to winning 10 games and an acc title at Duke. He wasn’t winning 10 games at Utah or Houston right out of the gate.

              His skill set is different than Meyer, SOS’s and perhaps even Herman’s. His story is just starting.

              To me there are guys that just win anywhere you put them, Bear’s sec title at UK would put him in that category, and a guy like Saban.

              It’s just a different animal and I wish we could discuss his career without having to buy into this bullshit that he’s the second coming of Paul Brown or Bill Walsh. He aint.

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              • If he were the 2nd coming of Bill Walsh, he would still be in Miami right now.

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                • Ding ding ding!!!!

                  We have a winner!

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                  • Otto

                    Bill Walsh was a good but not great College coach which does not detract from his overall legacy. Saban nor Spurrier’s NFL careers detract from their College legacy.

                    It is the same as denying the legacy of a race car driver who won in one form of motorsport but not another.

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                    • Whose denying anyone’s legacy?

                      I’ll take your racing analogy. It’s 1985: who was the natural race car driver and who just had the fastest car out there: Bill Elliot or Dale Earnhardt?

                      Does that mean Bill can’t drive or that Dale had retards running the shop? No. It just means they got where they got for different reasons.

                      I’m not trying to deny Saban’s legacy which will no doubt survive anything I’ve got to say. I would like to express that he’s a fucking asshole to everyone including his recruits and that he isn’t some X’s and O’s savant. He’s a recruiter, a program builder and someone who insists upon constant focus on winning. He’s done pretty well with that formula. Just don’t ask me to praise his game plan vs. say Johnny football the second year around. What was it 14-0 with 10 to play in the first?

                      How about blowing a 24-0 lead to auburn and newton. Giving auburn a natty is enough to damn him permanently as far as I’m concerned and he nearly did it again 2013.

                      He’s got a badass team. He ain’t no game day genius.

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                    • Otto

                      Bill only had a short period of greatness which resulted in templates be added to tech inspection and never returned to be a champion Earnhardt won many more championships evolving with the sport with multiple chassis. Elliot and Earnhardt is not even comparing Dooley to Bryant.

                      He ain’t no gameday genius? Gameday genius is executing a winning game plan at a much higher rate than the competition of the same era.

                      Denying legacy, he is no Walsh. exactly. ding ding

                      Bryant, Walsh, Belichik all win or won at a very high rate for their era but lost to rivals.

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                • 3rdandGrantham

                  You guys aren’t even comparing apples to oranges. More like apples to rocket ships.

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                  • My point is that if Saban had Walsh or Belicheck’s success at Miami, he never returns to college.

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                    • But Miami is hotter than New England plus there’s the humidity so it’s like different and stuff. I think that the animal mascot changes things too. It’s like a colonists vs. water bound mammals comparison.

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                  • I don’t think Saban is a great in-game coach. The decision to try the FG in 2013 on the Plains was proof of that. He’s a great preparer and he knows Xs and Os. He also showed that his tactics didn’t work in the NFL (just like SOS). It doesn’t mean he isn’t a great college coach (he is). He’s done an incredible job of preparing his team given the 20-hour requirement. Give the devil his due. It doesn’t mean that the expectations for Smart should be any different in 2017 than they were for the previous guy in 2007.

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                • If Miami doctors cleared Drew Brees, Saban might still be there.

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    • saildawg

      I dont think anyone in the history of college football has done a better job at coaching defensive backs than Nick Saban. His whole defense is based around that, and he has coached some of the best defensive teams ever. The guy can flat out coach.

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      • Just out of curiosity I’m wondering who coached the DB’s that allowed this stat line?

        M. Evans
        7 catches, 279 yards
        39.9 yards per catch

        Details….details…

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  4. 3rdandGrantham

    Speaking of Kirby taking the SCU job, from what I understand, it was the VT job that he was much more likely to take, not SCU. A well placed VT booster I’m friends with up here said before CMR was even fired that Smart was their leading candidate, and that they thought that SCU was their only competition for him. It’s also known that Smart wanted no part of SCU, as he knew he would struggle to win there both short and long term, whereas VT would be a far easier row to hoe.

    Of course, when Jimmy Sexton pumped the brakes on the negotiations they knew something was up, rightfully assumed UGA would soon be in play, and thus they quickly moved on to Fuente at Memphis. In fact, my VT buddy told me a few weeks before CMR’s firing that he was about to be fired, which is ironic as most of us had no clue of this other than pure speculation coming off the UF game.

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  5. Got Cowdog

    Well, hell. Let’s just let Bama, OSU, Clemson, and FSU play a 4 team tourney and call it a season.(Sarcasm) If ya ain’t first you’re last, right?

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  6. You hit the nail on the head, Senator. I may switch your #2 and #3, but I can see your point. First, you have to have a staff that can match wits and recruit. We definitely have the latter. The jury is still out on the former. I’m not a fan of either coordinator especially on offense, and some of the staff still need to prove they can get the most out of the talent they have. I would suggest QB play is the 2nd most important must-have. What’s the common thread in the 2 wins and the near miss we have versus Saban? We had QBs who could drop dimes on DBs in single coverage. Finally, there’s no doubt you have to have depth. 2012 proved that. Our first 22 matched up with Saban’s first 22. The difference was we didn’t have the bodies in the front 7 to hold up. I still think that night was Todd Gurley’s finest hour. Bama knew he was getting the ball, and they couldn’t stop him.

    I still question whether Saban could have done this anywhere other than Alabama with its “all in” mentality from the president to the alumni/fans. Finally, I would love to see mid-90s Steve Spurrier match wits with today’s Nick Saban. I think the guy with the visor and the loud mouth would take him.

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    • Southernlawyer11

      He probably could have done it even better at Auburn. Auburn would be investing in cutting edge anti-aging science if he was their coach. And they would never ever mi$$ on a recruit.

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  7. UGA85

    The first line says it all. Bryant, Spurrier, Saban. It’s the head coach that can change everything. Florida was nothing before Spurrier. Clemson was hopeless before Dabo. If Kirby is the man, we are fine. If not, we join the Saban retirement watch.

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    • Otto

      Urban can beat Saban with equal resources. A dual threat QB is your best bet on beating Saban. Malzahn, Urban, and Dabo have won using a similar offense. Mullen was the architect behind one of those offenses.

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  8. heyberto

    Speaking of Saban’s eventual retirement… when that does happen, the braintrust over there is going to want to keep that machine going. Where will they look? Well… IF Kirby is successful here (a big IF from where we’re sitting today folks).. or successful enough to prove he can get done what Saban did with the right resources.. what would he do if Bama comes calling? Does the Georgia Way force him to jump ship?

    Restated.. IF we’re finally humming along and winning at a level higher than what Richt achieved, does he leave because he has more opportunity to succeed and BM let’s him go? Wouldn’t that be the most Georgia thing ever? Not too hard to envision that being the case is it?

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    • For the life of me, I can’t imagine why any established coach would want to succeed Saban at Alabama, unless it was to answer mama’s call. That smells more like Dabo than Kirby to me.

      That being said, there’s no better situation for Jimmy Sexton to exploit than Kirby Smart having contract leverage, so I would not exactly be shocked to hear Smart’s name in the mix for an opening in Tuscaloosa. McGarity and the boosters would deserve it, too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • heyberto

        I feel the same, but I think the key is if he thinks BM is holding him back from achieving what he wants. Hell, I think he’d leave for Ohio State if that’s the case.. so I’m not saying it’s Alabama that lures him per se.. it’s the potential lack of support from the AD and resources to succeed elsewhere. If he gets those things and thinks the Georgia ship has sailed in that department.. I think he’d be gone.

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        • If things take off at Georgia, Smart will have B-M over a barrel. He’s already getting better support than any UGA football coach ever has. Why would that cease if he started winning titles?

          It was one thing to let Richt walk with a successful won-loss record. To allow Smart to leave after winning conference titles (at least) would send a message about the athletic department that would be death for hiring a replacement.

          They’d give Smart whatever he wanted.

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          • Atticus

            I said the exact same thing. Win 10 games this year, load up another class and he can call ALL the shots. Even over Morehead……

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      • Southernlawyer11

        Only way Kirby would leave is if it’s a combination of Alabama being desperate and Smart on that grey line of whether he’s winning enough. In other words, the scenario would be (1) Alabama gets quietly shot down by its top few choices while (2) Kirby has one cheek on the hot seat having coached UGA to an SECCG and new years 6 appearance but has slipped back to 9-3 Richtian type performances for several years.

        Kirby won’t leave a surging Georgia for Alabama, there would simply be no reason to walk into that kind of buzz saw. It would have to be a scenario where Kirby has done just well enough to be their 3rd choice and he himself needing an exit strategy before things got too hot.

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    • Even if he wins at a rate similar to Richt’s first 5 years (52-13), he’s going to be a candidate when Little Nicky hangs it up.

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      • Otto

        Agreed Dabo and Smart will be the front runners, assuming Smart can mount any sort of challenge to Bama.

        I think Saban stays another 5-7.

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    • 3rdandGrantham

      No, CKS would not leave. Our administration is inept and is far too late to react, but they certainly have gotten their act together from a support standpoint recently.

      Like

      • Why do you think that? Because he’s a Georgia man? If Kirby could leverage his alma mater for a raise at his former employer, he would jump if the terms were right and he thought he could win bigger at Bama than at UGA. That’s the nature of the business now.

        Like

        • heyberto

          Exactly. If the Georgia Way holds him back, and he thinks he can do better there… he’s gone.

          Like

          • Otto

            Curry jumped to Bama and Bama has only increased the margin of money as well as resources they offer to a coach.

            Anyone who thinks that Smart would not entertain a Bama offer is naive. He might be loyal and stay, each job has perks and pitfalls. Bama is much quicker to fire than UGA. Win 1 national title at UGA and you will be a legend, win multiple titles…. I can only dream.

            Liked by 1 person

        • 3rdandGrantham

          Because inherently Bama has no advantage over UGA; in fact UGA actually has more advantages than Bama, and we could certainly match whatever they threw at him. Smart also wants to establish his own legacy, not follow in the impossible shadow of two CFB giants.

          Administratively, UGA has been a mess for decades but finally seems to have gotten it’s act together as of late. Morehead deserves the lions share of credit for this, unlike Adams previously where fundraising alone was of paramount importance.

          Like

          • I agree. The question is whether those wedded to the negatives of the Georgia Way will keep the program from taking advantage of those built-in advantages.

            I agree with you about the president. Whether that transfers into results will be known over the next few years.

            Like

            • 3rdandGrantham

              From what I’ve heard or generally understand, my chips are all in on UGA winning big very soon. Good times are just ahead.

              Like

            • Otto

              The advantage Bama has is the University has been committed to winning on the football field for a century as way of promoting the standing of the University and as such the entire state is behind the program, outside of Auburn of course. If you haven’t spent significant time in the state during the fall it will never really set in.

              UGA has the Georgia Way in scholarships, funding, disciplinary rules, and the state’s population is nowhere near as dedicated to the school.

              Like

        • Atticus

          Fact: He will never win bigger at Bama. You don’t follow somone like Saban, with that fan base, and succeed. It won’t happen. He would be foolish to take that job and by the time Saban does leav, Smart will have either won big in Athens and can write his ticket, or he will have failed and will never get that job as a result. Same with Dabo he should stay at Clemson forever.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Otto

            Yet people still take jobs following in the wake of a legend.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Atticus

              Agreed and very few aren’t canned a few years later.

              Like

              • Otto

                Agreed I wouldn’t do it but I don’t have the mentality / personality type to be in sales, a recruiter for the military and certainly don’t to be a college coach.

                Smart has been patient about waiting for a HC job that he wanted. It is obvious he likes to win, and wants the resources to do so. I wouldn’t wager a dime on him staying or leaving if offered the Bama job (but that gets back to the 1st paragraph)

                Like

          • I agree with you, Atticus. The only issue I take with that is not to underestimate the ego of these guys. Sure, if Smart is successful and Dabo continues his run, it would be foolish to go.

            Like

          • Southernlawyer11

            Agreed. I see Alabama struggling to hire who they believe they should [easily] be able to land, which they would say is anybody. Assuming any other blue blooded program would match Alabama dollar-for-dollar, my advice as an agent would be “why intentionally set yourself up for failure ?” It’s almost mathematically impossible to “top” what Saban has done there. I think you have a better chance of getting a surging big name at a struggling LSU, UF or UGA than Alabama under the knight on a white horse theory.

            Like

    • Stoopnagle

      Dabo is a Bama man and already has a title.

      Like

      • heyberto

        I think it depends on what success Kirby has here. If he flops, they won’t bother with Kirby.. but for now, it appears Kirby is following in the mold of Saban and Bama will be eager to plug the next head coach in immediately and not skip a beat. That’s a tall order, and I don’t know that Dabo would be that guy.. but it’s looking like Kirby could be.

        Like

  9. I've Stopped Caring

    College football success is predicated by how far you’re willing to go, how much your willing to invest or risk. Sure, there are and will be pockets of success for great coaches with an innovation or scheme, but that has and will prove fleeting.

    Over the history of the sport those that are willing to invest the most, risk the most, (money, University reputation/integrity), are going to have the most success. Alabama, has and will continue to be the most willing because they value it the most. Until their attention is directed elsewhere, that will be the case. When NS retires, or dies, there will be period, maybe a long one where they seek to get it right again, but they will eventually. It’s that important to them. More so than it is to us and most others.

    Let’s face it, though. If a meteor was headed toward the earth, sure to destroy it, nobody is going to look to the University of Alabama to do anything about it.

    Like

    • The Dawg abides

      Man, that second paragraph sums up the difference between Bama and everybody else perfectly.

      Like

      • Otto

        Oklahoma is up there too, and both a century ago used football as way to be recognized nationally when their state was viewed as backwoods and uneducated.

        Like

  10. Got Cowdog

    I read Ken Stabler’s book awhile back. The passage was about the Raiders and the Vikings. according to Snake, the Raiders played football “Like a man jumping through a window with a machine gun” while The Vikings played “Like a man laying carpet.” The jist of it was that the Raiders had some really good, exciting players, while the Vike’s were steady solid across the board. EE’s fantasy playoff made me think of that. So yeah, EE, SOS would probably beat Saban two out of five.

    Like

  11. Macallanlover

    I can buy Bryant and Saban as dominant, but was Florida actually dominant in his run? He was certainly transformative, and very successful at a school which had never won anything in football. But Florida was nothing like Bryant in the 70s and Saban in the last 6-7 years. He may have been dominant in the East, and certainly over UGA in those days, but no one was conceding SEC titles to FU, or saying it was them and the other 11.

    I am a Spurrier fan but I think his spurt was because he brought an offensive revolution to a Big 10 type league and had a temporary advantage. The league quickly began adapting but he wasn’t feared, imo, the conference was not running and cowering from Florida teams. They were respected like never before though.

    I would say he is responsible for creating the gap when the SEC moved past all other conferences as the absolute best. He added an offensive component to a league that was too defensively, and conservatively minded. The Big 14 is just now catching on to that idea 25 years after the Spurrier model showed the way. I feel there were many similarities between the Big 10 and the SEC from the 50s through through the 80s but that all changed in the early 90s.

    Like

    • 3rdandGrantham

      Also, SOS wasn’t anywhere near the recruiter that Saban is. Heck, SOS detested recruiting, and the fact that Goff won numerous recruiting battles over him pretty much tells you all you need to know there. With that said, SOS still is among the greats…just not quite in the same league as Bryant or Saban.

      Like

      • Macallanlover

        I would say Spurrier was the best game day coach I have ever seen in CFB, his instincts and vision on the sidelines were a cut above both Saban and Bryant. He may have been out prepared by many, both organizationally, and the week leading up to the game, but when the bell rung he was able to close the gap and surpass most everyone. I shudder to think of a program Saban as a hands-on Director of Football and Spurrier as the HC along the sideline on Saturdays….now that would be a dynasty at so many schools in the country, perhaps even Kansas.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Atticus

          Agreed. Saban isn’t a genius on gameday. Very prepared but I don’t see genius in game. Same with Meyer.

          Like

          • JCDAWG83

            Both beat teams with preparation and fundamentals and not making mistakes. Bama and OSU both make their opponent play 60 minutes of mistake free football to have a chance to win and that’s hard for a college team to do. Saban and Meyer aren’t going to beat you with clever play calling or trickery, they are going to beat you because every time you make a mistake they make you pay for it and they don’t return the favor.

            Like

      • SOS wasn’t the recruiter that Saban is, but he didn’t need to be. He had good assistants to do the recruiting. He had some damn good rosters while at UF. Think about Fred Taylor, all those receivers, and all those defensive players that were there when Stoops was in Gainesville.

        Like

  12. Huntindawg

    Easy fix: acknowledge that P5 football is a pro sport and have a draft. Parity achieved.

    Like

  13. JCDAWG83

    I’m sorry but I don’t see Clemson as an up and coming dominant power. Dabo did not make Clemson a champion, Watson did. Watson was one of those once a generation players that could put the team on his back and will it to win. I may be wrong but I think you will see Clemson go back to it’s place behind FSU in the ACC. Clemson was a missed last second chip shot field goal against NC State last season away from having a Mark Richt at Georgia like disappointing season where they won 10 games but nothing that mattered in the end.

    I really see a lot of similarities in Dabo and Richt. Both are likeable, nice men who are really good recruiters and generally well liked by the fans. Historically, Dabo has won games and had good seasons but always managed to lose a game or two that took the real prize out of Clemson’s hands, same as Richt. Like Richt, I think Dabo is a “good” coach but neither should be mentioned in the same conversation with Bear, Spurrier and Saban.

    Like

    • Have you seen what Clemson has lined up at quarterback to succeed Watson?

      I’m not saying it’s a slam dunk, just that I’m waiting to see how the next few years play out there.

      Like

      • Atticus

        Agreed, they are still loaded on defense too.

        Like

      • JCDAWG83

        I have, but I don’t think they have another Watson in the wings. Clemson will have good records because they play a very weak schedule every season and recruit well. Their stats on both sides of the ball are somewhat inflated due to the relative lack of quality of their opponents and their willingness to pile on in cupcake games.

        Like

        • PTC DAWG

          They play 2 power 5 OOC games this year…more than most are wiling to do. I still can’t wrap my head around BC and Syracuse in the ACC….Much like Missouri in our league…

          Like

          • JCDAWG83

            One is the chickens, their annual “rivalry” game. It’s pretty safe to say the Clemson/chicken rivalry is about as one sided as the Georgia/tech rivalry. Look at their schedule, Auburn and FSU are the only two legit games they play this season and two legit games is about par for the course for Clemson schedules year in and year out. Wofford, SC State, Citadel, etc are their usual type of OOC opponent.

            Like

            • Macallanlover

              Sorry, but did you say Clemson’s only legit games are against Auburn and FSU? Those are the toughest but they will be challenged in more than 1-2 of : @Louisville, @Va Tech, @NC State, GT, and @SC. Pretty good schedule, and it is much more heated rivalry than us and GT. Clemson holding the upper hand these days but it wasn’t that long ago that Spurrier was laying it to Clemson.

              Like

              • Yep and those rednecks in the upstate were getting close to wanting Dabo’s @$$ on the unemployment line.

                Like

              • JCDAWG83

                Louisville is a one player team, Va Tech is a shadow of what they were a decade ago, NC St is a perennial underperformer, tech is tech and SC was happy as pigs in mud with 6 wins last season. The fact SC, a team that has won the East exactly once, was laying it to Clemson a few years ago shows that Dabo isn’t “elite” in my mind. He’s a great recruiter and a cheerleader and a good guy with a great story. His success has come from the coordinators he’s hired. If someone comes along and hires Venable or Morris away things could get dicey quickly.

                Like

                • SMU hired Morris two years ago to be its head coach.

                  You might want to consider revising your remarks. 😉

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Macallanlover

                  That one player is the reigning Heisman QB, Va Tech at home with Fuentes ain’t a walk over, and NC State missed a 30 yard FG at the gun in Death Valley to barely lose that game last year, and are at home this year. SC is closer to Clemson’s level than GT is to UGA, and it is a stronger rivalry. I am not saying Clem loses all those games, but to say they only play two tough games is just way out there man. It is a good schedule that will test them and their new QB. It isn’t like they are Alabama dominant all of a sudden.

                  Like

      • Otto

        They’ll be good and may even get to play Bama again but the Smart money is on Bama. Bama’s D will be great as always, OC looks stable and the QB isn’t a true Fr. Last year was as close to a rebuilding year as Saban has had since 2010.

        Like

        • UGA85

          But you see what’s happened, don’t you? We are talking about Clemson and Bama in the same breath. Clemson has been Bama, basically, for the last two years, and was very good before that. Dabo has been the story in college football for some time now, at a school that previously was an after thought.

          Like

          • Otto

            FSU, and Ohio St. were looking the same. We’ll see what happens after the excellent dual threat QB.

            Like

            • UGA85

              That’s right. FSU, Ohio State, Bama, and Clemson. You get it now. Clemson is now among the nation’s elite. Clemson. Who would have thought?

              Like

              • Otto

                Bama is still the Elephant in the room…

                OSU and FSU were going to end Bama’s dominance and are not being hyped in that way now.

                Yes Clemson is currently hyped as a playoff contender.

                I am not shocked, they finally made the right hire at HC and further if you look at their scheduling they have made it a point to play the SEC so they could recruit the SEC. It is actually a very logical progression. Clemson’s reign at the top of the SEC ended with the UGA series in the early 90s.
                They have to recruit Georgia and further at an SEC level. Getting the right coach is always a gamble no matter how proven (Schnelleberger at Oklahoma?) I enjoy beating them as any UGA fan should but good for them.

                If Clemson is in this discussion of dethroning Bama will largely depend on the next QB. I do expect them to remain in the playoff picture. IF you get my point of seperating the 2 levels.

                Like

                • UGA85

                  I see your point and remember the past history with UGA. But the fact is that Clemson now ranks among the nation’s elite teams year in and year out. That is quite an accomplishment.

                  Like

                  • JCDAWG83

                    I’m not sure two years constitutes year in and year out. If they win the ACC again this season and make the playoff, they will be more worthy of that kind of sentiment.

                    Ohio State got in the playoff this season because of ESPN and sportswriter lobbying. They didn’t even win their division of the B1G.

                    Like

                    • They’ve won 11 games four of the last six seasons (won at least 10 games in all six seasons), three conference championships, played in BCS bowl games / national playoff games four of the last six years, been to the national title game two years running, won it this past year, have been ranked in the top 15 each year for the last five years, ranked top 10 three of those years, and finished in the top two the last two seasons. Sounds pretty much like “year in, year” out to me….but you can keep moving those goalposts if you want.

                      Like

                    • UGA85

                      Have you looked at Clemson’s record for, say, the past five years? And if FSU beats them this year does that erase their championship? I’m not sure what it takes to impress you if you are not impressed with what Dabo has done at Clemson.

                      Like

                    • UGA85

                      You might actually want to look at Clemson’s recent history before deciding if they are “worthy” of your respect. You may be surprised.

                      Like

    • Atticus

      The difference between Dabo and Richt is Dabo hires great caches and he pays attention to the roster numbers of which Richt was pathetic. AND….I might add yes he recruited Deshaun. That counts. Bobo and Richt did not. And even when the recruited Murray and Stafford they had bad DCs and no depth because of the absurd way he managed the roster numbers. Recruiting QBs counts (Tebow, Watson, Cam, Vince Young, Matt Leinhart, Jameis…) outside of Saban, no coach has really won much without a great QB.

      Like

      • Otto

        Agreed Dabo manages the roster better but isn’t know for over signing. He is also more willing to fire a coach in an area that he sees as needing to improve. Richt was slow to pull that trigger.

        Like

    • Macallanlover

      Watson was an excellent QB, but generational? In the last 10 years I would put Tebow and Cam ahead of Watson and that is less than 1/2 of a generation, and not even leaving one conference. I think the WR Clemson had, and Venable’s defense was more responsible for their win over Bama. Many would argue that Justin Fields is already the best QB to come out of Georgia HS football, and he hasn’t played his Senior season yet. No slam at Watson but the generational tag is the most over used term in football these days.

      Like

      • JCDAWG83

        Generational at Clemson, the same way Tebow and Cam were generational at their schools. I’d say the injury to Scarboro had more to do with Clemson’s win over Bama than anything else but I don’t want to get into too much of the “what if” and “if only” that Georgia fans are famous for. Venable’s defense gave up plenty of points, Watson was able to match those points and put up a few more. We’ll see about Fields, the past is littered with “greatest quarterbacks” who didn’t quite live up to expectations.

        Like

        • Macallanlover

          FWIW, I agree about Scarboro’s injury being the biggest key to that win (although Saban firing Junior was pretty big as well). And I don’t mean to take away from Watson’s performance but he is not generational to me, but I was looking at a larger impact than just one school.

          Like

      • Atticus

        He played in 2 National Championships, I would say that is pretty generational even though I wouldn’t necessarily use that term. Exchange Tebow and Deshaun and I think Deshaun was better. Look at Tebow without Mullen and Percy. He wasn’t close to Deshaun.

        Like

    • UGA85

      Recruiting and developing a great quarterback is one of the most important aspects of coaching, IMO. And Clemson was improving every year before Watson set foot on campus. I don’t understand why people sell Dabo short; I don’t think Meyer and Saban would agree with your assessment.

      Like

    • I don’t remember Deshaun Watson lining up on defense against Oklahoma in 2015 (final score 37-17) which was a top 10 offense that averaged 44 points a game and nearly 7 yards per play or Ohio State last year (final score 30-0) which was a top 25 offense which averaged 40 points a game and right at 6 yards per play. Dabo’s defense seemed to handle business against those teams just fine. Admittedly – 2016 Ohio State’s offense wasn’t as elite as 2015 Oklahoma, but they still got shut down.

      Dabo’s been building that thing up before Watson and it’s gonna be just fine after Watson. Dude’s a good coach that hires good coaches and recruits at that blue-chip level needed to win titles. Y’all can knock yourselves out arguing he isn’t a good coach just because he has a funny name and a personality.

      Like

      • UGA85

        Thank you. Minimizing what Dabo has done at Clemson betrays a lack of objectivity, IMO. Clemson, in the era of Meyer and Saban, is a perennial contender, and Dabo has beaten them both in a national playoff. He has shown that fatalistically fawning over Saban is an excuse for losers, not a formula for championships.

        Like

      • I have a feeling the IPTAY crew is out and about now helping their recruits feel the love.

        Like

  14. dawgfan

    Saban has reached the pinnacle and he knows there are no mountains left to climb at Alabama. At 65 his age is going to start working against him in recruiting as next year’s recruits will have a 70 year old coach by the time their eligibility is up and opposing coaches will point that out. The same thing happened to Spurrier at SC. Odds are that his best is behind him and he will check out before too many more years to a sweet TV analyst gig. In the present though, there have been none better since the Bear who was in decline when he finally hung it up. Saban wants no part of that.

    Like

    • 3rdandGrantham

      That’s certainly true, but Saban is in far, far better health than The Bear, who drank (a lot), smoked, never exercised and had a poor diet. Saban is the opposite of all of that. I’m willing to bet that Saban will still be sharp as a tack well into his 70’s, whereas the Bear was in poor shape by his early 60’s and died before even turning 70 I believe. No comparison between those two.

      Like

      • 3rdandGrantham

        Btw, for those like Saban who are health conscience, 65 these days is a walk in the park, whereas back then 65 meant the winter of your years for your average American. Heck, look at 83 year old Gary Player — that dude looks 60 at most and runs around like a 25 year old. Meanwhile, I work with a 39 year old who looks 49, with early stages of heart disease and is looking at knee replacement surgery soon. Your overall lifestyle is a huge determinant in how long you live, along with your mental and physical health wellbeing in your later years.

        Like

        • dawgfan

          I agree that Saban is probably in much better physical shape than the Bear was at 65. Age is real though and its hard to run from its effects, especially the mental ones. Being the head man at Bama and trying to meet demands there is tough on anyone. Did Dooley see his heart attack coming? It’s personal and everyone is different, but most
          successful folks are ready to hang it up by 65 and 70 at the latest and do something else.

          Like

          • 3rdandGrantham

            Age indeed is real…but 65 today for someone like Saban in excellent health is a far cry from the bear in his 60’s 35+ years ago in poor health. People are living longer and longer, particularly those who take care of themselves.

            Go to youtube and watch videos of the bear back when he was around Saban’s age — night and day difference. The Bear looked old, ragged, and barely could move, wheras Saban looks mid 50’s with tons of energy. Baring something unforseen, the Nick will live a very long time.

            Like

            • dawgfan

              It doesn’t matter if Saban is a decathlete, if he is like most people, including other driven and successful people, he will not keep going at his current pace much longer. Life in the booth will start looking good before too long. He better hurry before Urban gets there first.

              Like

    • JCDAWG83

      I think Saban wants to break Bear’s NC record, I imagine he’s pretty focused on that mountain.

      Like

      • PTC DAWG

        Agreed, and other than the pile of cash they throw at Saban’s successor, I pity that fellow, whoever/whomever (I never get that right) it is.

        Like

        • 3rdandGrantham

          I don’t — whoever that is will be handed generational wealth with the mere stroke of a pen. These days you can coach 4-5 years, put up with all the stress, then retire and live like a king for the next 50 years in retirement. The same goes for your kids if they don’t blow it.

          Like

  15. I know it’s all cyclical to an extent, but I can’t remember another time in my life where things seemed pretty hopeless for everybody outside of one school in this league. Don’t get me wrong, I would be totally happy winning the SEC East, but then reality smacks you in the face when you realize a 20 point loss to Bama in Atlanta is looming.

    Even during the Spurrier years, Tennessee was very good and Alabama had a nice run. I’ve said it before – but ruining the SEC by driving every AD and fanbase insane and into making stupid short-term decisions is going to be Saban’s lasting legacy.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Nate Dawg

    I was just thinking last night…I love me some CFB…but I just ain’t looking forward to another dominating year by bammer and 9-3, 8-4 showing by the Dawgs. I don’t want to admit this but I feel like some juice has been taken away for me…

    Like

  17. ApalachDawg

    Folks, he is a great recruiter because of the resources behind him and the cash that is being splashed to these players. When I say resources, I don’t mean the Bama admin, I mean the Bama R.E.C. He has the best, deepest talent in college football. Clemson beat Bama with a good team, off the charts QB play and Bama’s stud RB got hurt.

    Like

    • UGA85

      And Clemson nearly beat Bama the year before, except for a recovered onside kick. And Clemson trashed Urban Meyer. And Clemson has beaten FSU consistently and has become a perennial title contender year in and year out for the first time in their history. We could have done a lot worse than Dabo at UGA.

      Like

  18. Athens Dog

    Who it this Dude guy?

    Like

  19. PTC DAWG

    Honestly, it might be better to go 11-1 and not win the East….at least for the next year or two. HIGH odds I know, but stranger things have happened.

    Like

  20. Stoopnagle

    I’d like to hear Kirby’s vision for not blowing a double-digit fourth quarter lead to Tech at home. I’ll hang up and listen.

    Like

  21. Southernlawyer11

    HYPO: Assume Saban retires at the same time the Ed Orgeron era at LSU peters out and he is canned. Both teams go after Jim Harbaugh who (for arguments sake) is receptive to leaving his alma mater for the SEC. Which job would you take if you were Harbaugh ? Which should you take ?

    Like

  22. DawgPhan

    Someone woke up today and decided that they were going to pick up the Saban isnt a good coach flag and carry it as far as they could.

    I appreciate at the internet has a place for everyone.

    Like

    • Jared S.

      It’s kinda ridiculous, ain’t it? Hey, while we’re at it why don’t we talk about how Phil Jackson was never a great coach, he just coached great players.

      Like

  23. Dawg in Championship Exile

    Sen. didn’t it get leaked that USC and KS have a tentative agreement?

    Like

  24. Hogbody Spradlin

    So, friends, can Nick Saban take his’n and beat your’n, then take your’n and beat his’n? Can he make bricks without straw? Can he walk on water? Or part it? Can he make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Liked by 1 person

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