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football

Sick about Saban

Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick. How could you do this to us? How could you do this to the team you already had a commitment to?
I think I can speak for a lot of LSU fans in saying that we wanted to see the coach who brought the Tigers their second national championship do well. I’m not a huge fan of the NFL, and I don’t really cheer for any team in particular, but I wanted to see Nick Saban turn things around at Miami and lead a successful career as a NFL head coach. While I, like many, was disappointed to see Saban leave LSU, I could certainly understand his departure: after summitting the highest point in college football, he was ready for the next challenge.
Except Saban didn’t really give the next challenge the time–and thus, the effort–to do the same in the NFL that he did in the NCAA. It takes an extremely rare coach to turn a football team in a complete one-eighty in two years or less. Nick Saban, for all his prowess as a football coach, is not amoung that rare number. For Saban, the 2006 season in Miami was actually worse than 2005, and there must have been something in the Dolphins’ organization that told him 2007 wasn’t going to get any better. I could certainly be wrong, but Saban has never struck me as the kind of guy who would shy away from a challenge, unless he knew the challenge wasn’t worth it.
Then, of course, there’s the money. Nick Saban has become the highest-paid coach in college football, and he hasn’t won a game in Tuscaloosa yet. For all appearances, it appears that Pat Forde is right, and Saban is just as shallow as, well, pretty much anyone else. Not surprising, but certainly disappointing. Those who keep their word and stick around to the end of their contract become increasingly rare with each passing season.
But, Nick. Alabama? Alabama? LSU fans would be glad to welcome you back to the ranks of college football, even to the ranks of the SEC. But Alabama? Of all the teams you could have chosen to come back to, you have to pick the one with the most obnoxious fans in the Southeastern Conference. Fans who, though some of them aren’t old enough to remember Bear Bryant, pine for the glory days of Alabama football, and hope to see the ghost of the Bear return again to lead them to another championship. (And it doesn’t help that the same sports punditry which lauds USC and Notre Dame today for what those schools accomplished in yesteryear, do the same for Alabama and the days of Bear Bryant, as if there are no other schools in the south playing football and winning national championships.)
Then again, perhaps the Crimson Tide will get what they deserve. They want to win, and Saban has shown, at the college level at least, that he can deliver in that department. (After all, under Saban the Tigers were undefeated at Bryant-Denny Stadium, so we know it’s possible for him to win in Tuscaloosa.) But as Ivan Maisel points out, Saban is no Bryant, and now, having shown his true color–green–Alabama fans should in no way place any amount of trust in Saban sticking around for the long term. He may bring them a championship, but it’s unlikely he’ll deliver what they most lust for: a dynasty.