Category Archives: Nick Saban Rules

To everything…

… churn, churn, churn.

I wonder how many of those 43 are represented by Jimmy Sexton.  He owes Saban a commission.

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football

“I like my chances with this coach.”

I posted those David Wonderlich tweets earlier about how an SEC athletic director won’t get challenged by hiring a Saban acolyte.  Here’s confirmation of that, straight from the horse’s mouth:

After all, in this current age of the SEC, where Alabama rules and Tennessee is cycling through a depression, Fulmer is eager to find the panacea for his ailing football program.

These days, there is no better place to look for that cure-all than in Tuscaloosa — once enemy territory for Fulmer in a bygone era when Alabama and Tennessee were transposed on opposite sides of the spectrum.

“I don’t know all of what Alabama has done,” Fulmer said. “But whatever they have done has been very successful.”

He doesn’t know what it is, but he wants it.  Saban envy, as inspired leadership.  He’s getting a pass for it, too.

61 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Nick Saban Rules

Nick Saban’s legacy

There is no denying the impact that Saban’s run has had on the SEC — the rise in coaching salaries, the explosion in support staffs, the ever-increasing emphasis on recruiting and, of course, the incredible amount of turnover in the head coaching ranks as peer programs take futile steps to keep up with ‘Bama.

As significant as his place in conference history is, I think I’m ready to argue that his impact on college football nationally may turn out to be even greater.  As Andy Staples explains, Saban’s program was the spark that lit the fire for playoff expansion beyond the BCS.

The day after Alabama was placed into the BCS title game against LSU instead of Oklahoma State, I was in New York to interview all of the commissioners, athletic directors and coaches who gather this week every year for the National Football Foundation’s Hall of Fame dinner. Leagues use this opportunity to gather their ADs to shape policy, and the Big 12 held such a meeting on that Monday.

As I chatted with people in the lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria, someone from the Big 12 approached. The league is having a reception upstairs. You really should go up there. When I arrived, I saw the league’s entire power structure. Everyone I spoke to told me off the record that what happened to Oklahoma State could not stand, and they were going to do something about it. In an informal poll of the ADs that day, the majority had supported a four-team playoff. The ACC and SEC had already come out in support of such a system, so the math was easy. College football was about to change, and from that moment came the playoff that we’ve spent the last four seasons arguing about.

Staples goes on to ask if we saw a similar moment when Alabama was added to the CFP field.  I think there’s little doubt of that.

You’ll hear plenty of bullshit reasons why they’ve crossed a line.  Staples points to a second straight year of a non-conference winner making the field.  Dan Wolken’s indignant about it, at least when it comes to Alabama.

But there’s a big problem with putting Alabama in the Playoff, and it has nothing to do with one league getting two teams in, something that was bound to happen at some point in this system. In essence, Alabama slid into the playoff this weekend by doing nothing. It was rewarded for losing to Auburn last week in a game that decided the SEC West title. And that’s simply not the way this process should work.

Don’t reference Ohio State last season, which got in as the Big Ten representative despite losing the head-to-head matchup and division title to Penn State. It’s not comparable.

Last year, Ohio State was already in the top four going into the championship games at No. 2. Though the Buckeyes didn’t have to risk anything in the Big Ten title game, the committee had already deemed them worthy of making the playoff after recording wins over three other top-10 teams. The only question with Ohio State last year was whether the Buckeyes would get passed.

That’s far different from Alabama, which was outside the top four last week after its loss to Auburn in a game that decided the SEC West title. The Tide went from outside the playoff at 11-1 to in it by doing nothing. Based on that precedent, Wisconsin and Auburn would have been better off not showing up at all Saturday.

Not that I think it matters in the vast scheme of things, but in rebuttal, let me just mention that’s the way the grand poobahs running the sport set this deal up.  The selection committee, we are repeatedly told, operates week to week with a clean sheet of paper as it goes about its machinations ranking teams.  If we accept that at face value, then Wolken’s distinction is irrelevant.  As for the not showing up bit, hey, who set up all those conference championship games in the first place?  It wasn’t space aliens or Jesus.

But again, this is mere quibbling.  Because everyone knows what the real issue is.

The only certainty leading into Sunday was that the College Football Playoff selection committee would do something it hadn’t done before. Either it was going to place a two-loss team in the playoff, or it was going to place two teams from the same league in the playoff. One of those would bother college football’s power structure a lot more than the other. All along, more people were worried about one league providing half the playoff field than a team with two losses making the playoff. That the league providing two teams this year is the SEC and the team that squeezed in ahead of the Big Ten champion is Alabama will only add to the angst.

Ah, angst.  If you think things are angst-y now, just wait to see what Defcon level we’re at if the semi-finals end with Alabama taking on Georgia for the national title.  Jim Delany is muttering to himself, “this aggression will not stand, man”.  It won’t take long for him to discuss the future with the likes of Larry Scott.

The question is whether the people in charge of the other leagues will do something about it like they did in December 2011. The last time Alabama got a chance to play for a national title without winning its division, college football’s power brokers responded by creating the playoff. Will they respond the same way this time?

Does a fat baby fart?  Hells yeah, they’ll respond the same way, right down to telling us it’s what the fans want.  And that’ll work, until  doesn’t, just like now.  All because Nick Saban’s built a juggernaut at Alabama.  Amazing impact.

45 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Nick Saban Rules

Nick Saban is not happy he has to make time for this shit.

A dour man now faces a situation in which he has to go on a charm offensive, and, judging from this first volley, it’s gonna take a lot of effort on his part.

“I think this team deserves an opportunity to get in the playoff by what they’ve been able to accomplish and what they’ve been able to do,” Saban said after the game. “Certainly not maybe in this game, but I think the team we played tonight is a very good football team, probably one of the best teams in the country.

“They won 11 games, and not many teams are able to do that. I really don’t know what all the scenarios might be where we’d have an opportunity to do it, but I’d certainly like to see this team get an opportunity to do it.”

I mean, really, is this what Nick Saban returned to college football for?

If it doesn’t work — and you’d have to think that if Auburn wins its rematch with Georgia in the SECCG, Alabama’s chances are pretty much toast — which of these alternatives seems the most likely course of action for Nick to take?

  • (a) add a full-time PR staff to the support army Saban already has at his disposal to work the media and selection committee non-stop; or
  • (b) begin lobbying hard for the playoffs to expand to eight teams

I’m leaning towards (c) both.  Saban is nothing if not thorough.

27 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Nick Saban Rules

Raise your hand…

… if you had Kirby in and Saban out in the SECCG preseason pool.

37 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

Ripped jeans, the shit Saban does have time for.

The reading glasses really add to the whole “you kids, get offa my lawn” vibe here.

I give him credit for laughing, at least.  Though the Coke bottle seems a little stoic.

23 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules

“We’ll do everything we can to help him in the future.”

Why do I have the feeling the Alabama support staff is about to welcome its newest member?

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules