Alabama Crimson Tide Football

Nick Saban Is Right, Bob Stoops' Comments on the SEC Stem from Animosity

Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Alabama head coach Nick SabanMarvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterMay 10, 2013

Nothing like a little war of words between big-name head coaches to spice things up in the offseason.

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops drew heavy criticism this week with his comments calling the SEC's perceived power as "propaganda" and that the bottom tier of the conference creates a top-heavy effect.

Silly? Of course, as I've stated in a column on Stoops' comments and in Q&A.

But getting thoughts from the SEC's coaches on the matter is much more intriguing.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban fired back after first being told of Stoops' comments at a Crimson Caravan event in Fort Payne, Ala. on Thursday night, according to AL.com.

I think there’s probably a lot of animosity out there because of the success that we have in our league, but I think that kind of goes with the territory. I understand that. But we certainly respect the great program that they have at Oklahoma and the other good programs that they have in the Big 12.

Did Saban take the high road?

For the most part, but he's absolutely accurate in saying that animosity is at the foundation of Stoops' comments. The streak of seven straight BCS Championships has created a perception that the SEC is by far and away the best conference in college football.

Whether you think that's accurate, propaganda or something in between, it matters. 

Big time.

It has played a part in two-loss LSU making the title game after the 2007 season, one-loss Florida getting its shot after 2008 and one-loss Alabama teams playing for the crystal football in back-to-back seasons.

Saban sees the discussion as more of a distraction than anything else.

I’ve got more important things to do than sit around and read what Bob Stoops has to say about anything. But I like Bob Stoops, and I respect him as a coach, but I’m really trying to manage our business.

But it's not a debate that's going to go away any time soon.

In fact, it's going to get more heated in years to come.

Take last season, for example, and implement the new postseason format. No. 2 Alabama would obviously be invited to a hypothetical four-team playoff, but what about 11-2 Georgia? Or then-No. 3 Florida at 11-1?

The likelihood of the SEC getting multiple teams in the playoff and creating another SEC vs. SEC title game is going to increase under the new system following the 2014 season, which means the growing animosity towards the SEC could swell sooner rather than later.

Saban isn't the only SEC head coach to chime in. 

Florida head coach Will Muschamp shared his thoughts with the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post on Wednesday.

“I’d be saying the same thing if I were in the Big 12,” he joked. “I said it for three years.”

That could and probably should work both ways considering Stoops served as Florida's defensive coordinator from 1996 to 1998.

But his time in the SEC is in the past, and the current run that the SEC is on has put a target squarely on the SEC's back.

Saban seems fine with that, but Stoops has been leading the charge to remove it this offseason. He's displaying his jealousy in the process.

 

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