Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules

“It has Hollywood mini-series written all over it.”

Well, shit, don’t tell me the world hasn’t been waiting for this.

Is there more to the Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher feud? Will NIL be what drives Nick Saban from college football?

These are just a couple of the questions that Paul Finebaum intends to answer in an upcoming, yet-to-be titled book on the subject.

The ESPN analyst is stepping away from the mic (figuratively, of course) and dusting off the writing utensils to collaborate with’s John Talty in an account of the rivalry between Alabama’s head football coach and two of his coaching proteges, Texas A&M’s Fisher and Georgia’s Kirby Smart, in the context of college football supremacy and with new rules that allow amateur athletes to be paid by businesses for use of their name, image and likeness.

I know I’ll be on the edge of my seat as publication day approaches.

Among the topics to be explored is the dynamic between Fisher and Saban but also Saban and Smart.

Finebaum said what transpired between Saban and Smart leading up to the championship game was “genuine,” but he thinks “the relationship with Saban is completely different, though.” He contends Saban views Smart completely different than Fisher.

“I think they are both complicated relationships,” Finebaum said. “To me, the scope of all of this is Shakespearian. You have Saban and his two prime courtiers. One is, at least publicly, playing the game of worship and deference in spite of winning a championship against him. The other has simply broken the cord and has gone scorched Earth. To me, it is a fascinating dichotomy between Saban and these two individuals. I think it screams for more.

Yeah, they’ll be teaching from it in eleventh grade English classes for years to come.  And before you ask how much of Finebaum’s audience can read, don’t bother.  They’re gonna wait for the movie.

Hollywood has taken notice, one industry insider tells The industry is eating up sports content right now…

“I don’t have any doubt the entertainment industry will have an interest in this,” Finebaum said. “Because no one knows about this yet, we haven’t been down that road yet. I’ve heard through some friends of mine in the industry, that Hollywood would look at this very seriously.

“I think it is a made-for-Hollywood story. It’s an incredibly compelling story, involving the greatest college football coach of all time at a critical moment in his career and the two disciples that are challenging him for supremacy.”

Hollywood?  Who’s gonna play PAWWWLLL!!! in the movie?


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, PAWWWLLL!!!


I figured eventually someone in the national punditry would rank Kirby Smart ahead of Nick Saban.  I just didn’t think it would be this soon and that it would come from Matt Hayes.

1. Kirby Smart ($7 million per season; expected extension this month): His team is the defending national champion, and he has proven he can recruit and develop better than any other coach in the game.

Think about this: In the age of quarterback means everything, Smart won a national title — and is a favorite to win it again this season — with a game manager at the most important position in football.

He was a blown coverage in the secondary from winning the 2017 national championship, and Georgia is a recruiting machine — with or without NIL. He’s locked in at No. 1 until he’s knocked off the mountain.

Which brings us to …

2. Nick Saban, Alabama ($9.1 million): He is the mountain. The gold standard for college football coaches, and other than Bill Belichick, all football coaches.

But it’s hard to ignore what his No. 1 student has accomplished at Georgia — and how it has been to the detriment of Saban and Alabama. All of those elite Georgia defenders are the same players Smart was recruiting and developing at Alabama as the Tide’s defensive coordinator.

There’s a reason Alabama’s defense has declined (from its own elite standard) over the past 5 seasons. It’s not the DC or the scheme; it’s the players.

It’s close, but in the SEC, it’s not about what you’ve done. It’s about what you just did. Right now, Smart has the edge.

I guess that means Nick will be back on top of himself if ‘Bama wins the natty this season.  Or something like that.


Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Nick Saban Rules

Happy Father’s Day, Nick, from your favorite son

I would have posted this yesterday, had I seen it then.

Some people never worry about poking the bear.


Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Nick Saban Rules

How quickly they forget.

This is an impressive defense of Nick Saban.

Recruiting better than any school in the country has been a hallmark of Saban’s tenure since his first full signing class in 2008. It has filled his roster not only with star-studded starting lineups, but also with depth none could match, which pays off in high-stakes, late-season games when a few key starters are often sidelined with injury.

And to think I’m old enough to remember Metchie and Williams.


Filed under Blowing Smoke, Nick Saban Rules

Is the end really near?

Ordinarily, if I saw something like this on a college football message board, I’d brush it off as a rival fan’s fever dream.

A person close with Nick Saban speculated to The Athletic recently about the possibility of Saban retiring after his next national title, an observation that was met with an eye roll. After seeing Saban uncharacteristically call out multiple schools by name last week, though, that scenario is suddenly easier to imagine. The 70-year-old has never really shown signs of slowing down, or shown interest in doing much of anything besides coaching football. Could this era of player empowerment and roster turnover be enough to wear on him, though?

But it’s from a piece at The Athletic co-written by Bruce Feldman ($$), who’s pretty well connected in the coaching ranks.  Has the way certain programs appear to be taking advantage of the lax NIL regulatory environment brought Saban to the brink of being at the point of no return?  Or, to put it another way, does Nick Saban feel like he has to deal with this shit?


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Leave Nick alone!

Junior, if you don’t mind me saying so, your suck up is showing just a little bit here.


Filed under Coach Prime, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Nick Saban Rules

First among equals

Regardless of how much of a truth bomb you think Nick Saban was throwing yesterday, you have to admit some of what he said was nothing but blowing smoke.  Andy Staples ($$) neatly skewered perhaps the most eye-rolling comment of Saban’s day with this:

But now in recruiting, we have players in our state that grew up wanting to come to Alabama, that they won’t commit to us unless we say we’re going to give them what somebody else is going to give them. And my theory on that is everything that we’ve done in college athletics has always been equal. Your scholarship is equal. They get equal Alston money. They get equal cost of attendance. They get equal academic support. They get equal medical attention. Everything has always been equal.

Nothing has ever been equal in college football. Troy has never been able to compete with Alabama, even though they are both in the same NCAA subdivision. Louisiana-Monroe did that one time, but essentially these programs are in different universes. Yet Saban claims that the rules promoted equality. What they actually did was create the most lopsided playing field in any major American sport…

Meanwhile, Saban built Alabama into the program most likely to compete for championships by taking advantage of every opportunity for inequality.

Of course he did.  That’s been the secret sauce for his unprecedented success.  It’s what he sells to keep the talent pipeline to Tuscaloosa flowing.

Much of Saban’s recruiting pitch — as well as the pitches of coaches at other national title-caliber programs — is that everything at Alabama is inherently better than everything those recruits will find at other schools. The nutrition. The academic support. The strength and conditioning program. The entire pitch is about how other schools aren’t equal to Alabama. So the sentiment that the goal is equality is completely disingenuous. The goal is to ensure the other programs don’t find an edge so Alabama can keep being better.  [Emphasis added.]

Damn straight, Skippy.  And if Nick believes that’s being threatened, either somebody takes steps to rein that in, or Saban will try to find a next level way at Alabama to neutralize the threat.

Parity doesn’t mean what you and I think it means.  Don’t say we haven’t been warned.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Of all the hot takes from yesterday…

… this may be the one I least expected.

Let’s keep Kirbs out of this one, aight?  I’m sure that would be his preference.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football

Beyond en fuego

Holy Mother of Crap, you’ve got to watch this just concluded Jimbo Fisher press conference to believe it.  He didn’t just burn bridges between him and Saban, he nuked the entire planet from orbit.

This quote…

Just damn.

SEC Media Days gone be spicy.




Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Saban throws down the gauntlet.

Remember the other day, when he was making some mouth noises about how he wished college football could get back to the blessed days of parity?  I guess we now know what he was talking about.

I’m sure some will take that as Saban’s new warning for what he’s about to do, but unless he’s discovered oil under Tuscaloosa, ain’t no way the crazies there can keep up, financially speaking, with the crazies in College Station.  For the moment, I’m just gonna chalk it up to generic crankiness with Jimbo.

And it wasn’t just Jimbo Saban took a shot at, either!

Boy, that next Aflac commercial’s gonna be lit.

If you’re looking for it, here’s the clip:


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting