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Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Could Nick Saban Come to Regret Not Leaving Alabama for Texas

This past Saturday the Ole Miss Rebels handed the Alabama Crimson Tide their first loss of the 2014 season. The Rebels rallied from a 14-3 halftime deficit to beat Alabama 23-17 in an instant classic. The Crimson Tide now set at 4-1 on the season.

The loss sent talk radio into a state of panic on Monday and also began to raise questions about Nick Saban and the Alabama dynasty. The hot topic ever since the Iron Bowl last year, in which Auburn upset Alabama, has been is the Alabama run of dominance over or is it still alive?

This was fueled with the Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma 45-31 and now with this loss to Ole Miss the question becomes a relevant one to think about. Let’s face it, at some point and time this dominant run by Alabama has to come to an end.

It happens to every great dynasty and just recently happened to the Florida Gators following their two national titles in 2006 and 2008. We never know exactly when these dynasties are in their last stages because they seem to just magically disappear before we even realize it.

This one with Alabama seems to be a dynasty ending in the making. Saban has still kept his top recruiting classes, but has missed on some big time names such as Jameis Winston. The first sign when a coach begins to fall off is when they begin to miss on big time recruits.

It happened at Texas with Mack Brown when he passed up Johnny Manziel, Robert Griffin 3, and Jameis Winston. All three would go on to win the Heisman Trophy and eventually end Brown’s 16 year run at Texas following the 2013 season.

I bring this Alabama dynasty ending up because of what took place this past offseason. There were multiple rumors that Saban was being eyed by the Texas Longhorns once Brown stepped away as head coach. Sure Saban can say he wasn’t interested, but in reality there was a lot of conversation in terms of Saban going to Texas.

Texas was rumored to offer Saban a ten year contract worth 100 million dollars. Alabama countered with a contract extension which he accepted. Texas would go on to hire Charlie Strong and the rest as they say is history.

I raise the question of whether or not Nick Saban could come to regret not taking the head coaching job at Texas this past offseason. When all the rumors were swirling around this past offseason about Saban to Texas there were also reports that Saban had became tired of the pressure at Alabama. He reportedly felt the expectations were too much and that the stress was getting to him on a daily basis.

I wonder if he now sets back and regrets not taking the Texas job if nothing else just to have a fresh start. He could have went to Texas and tried to win a national title for the Longhorns after a span of four down years for Texas.

If Saban would have went to Texas and won a national title he would have become the first head coach in college football history to win a national title at three different schools.

He may not come out and say this, but I believe deep down he regrets his decision of staying at Alabama. He is in the SEC West division, which I have gone on record as saying is the greatest division in the history of college football.

His program has slipped the past two seasons and the rest of the SEC is catching up with him and the task is becoming much tougher on a week to week basis. He could have gone to Texas where the conference isn’t nearly as strong as the SEC West. He would have had a rejuvenated fan base, a goal of becoming the first coach to win a national title at three different schools and even a richer pool of talent to choose from.

Saban is now stuck in the tough SEC West with a team that isn’t as talented as they have been in the past several seasons. He now has what appears to be a dynasty in the making at Auburn, plus Ole Miss and Mississippi State who are top five teams now. If Saban was in the Big 12 he would just have to navigate through Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma and the rest of the Big 12 would seem like cupcakes compared to the SEC West this season.

It is something I find interesting and wonder if it has crossed his mind this season. I personally believe it has, but he would of course never admit to these allegations or anything related to this topic. He is trying to reestablish order in Alabama after a heartbreaking loss to Ole Miss.

Alabama still has games against Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn. All those teams, except Tennessee, are top 25 caliber teams and could beat Alabama if they bring their top level game. The Tide already have one loss and if they lose another game their SEC title hopes may be dashed, not to mention their national title hopes.

Alabama and Nick Saban have not defeated a ranked team since last November when they beat number ten LSU. It has been almost a full calendar year since Saban has defeated a ranked team, which is not setting well in Alabama.

So maybe, just maybe, he wishes he would have taken the Texas job this past offseason to start fresh and not have these high expectations placed on him every week. He is obviously a victim of his own success and sometimes it’s good just to move on and have a fresh start. He would have got that and much more at Texas, but behind the scene obstacles appeared to prevent that and Saban surely wishes they wouldn’t have transpired.

Saban and Alabama are still contenders this season, but it will be the toughest challenge in his time at Alabama. He is playing against elite competition in the SEC West and his vintage defense doesn’t work as well against spread teams in the past couple years. It is still early, but somewhere in Saban’s mind the sound of Texas sounds pretty good right about now.


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