5 Teams College Football Fans Would Love to See Nick Saban Coach
Few college football coaches get more national respect—and have as many fans rooting against them—than Alabama’s Nick Saban.
There’s a reason season-long rumors of Saban going to Texas, which were denied repeatedly, drew national attention.
Saban morphed the last two programs he inherited—LSU and Alabama—from sleeping giants to powerhouses, winning four BCS national championships along the way.
In many ways, Saban provides the hope for traditional powers across the nation that their programs are one transcendent hire away from reaching the elusive status of being “back.”
Wins and 5-star recruits alike flock to Saban.
“The Process,” in turn, churns out championships and NFL prospects.
Ever since Saban, then the Miami Dolphins coach, defiantly told reporters he would not be the next head coach at Alabama three weeks before accepting the position, fans have refused to take the coach at his word that Tuscaloosa would be his final stop.
Seemingly every time a high-profile job pops up, Saban’s name gets tossed around.
Yet every season he remains in place it seems more likely that Saban truly will retire as the head football coach of Alabama.
At this point it would be a significant surprise if Saban did uproot and take the helm of another program.
Naturally, that doesn’t stop fans from dreaming up scenarios of him leading other teams.
Here is the list of the five jobs college football fans would most like to see Saban take before he retires.
5. West Virginia
Legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant famously said upon coming to Alabama, “Momma called. And when Momma calls, you just have to come running.”
No, Nick Saban didn’t play for West Virginia.
He did, however, grow up in Monongah, W. Va. and his wife, Terry, also came from the Mountain State.
Saban even briefly coached at West Virginia as a defensive backs coach from 1978-79.
It’s easy to think of Saban as a stone-hearted man whose only thought in life is winning football games.
College football fans eat up when he shows emotion.
Case-in-point: When Saban leapt into quarterback AJ McCarron’s embrace following a hard-fought win over LSU, the nation loved the rare outburst of feeling.
Returning to his home state would surely unearth some of Saban’s emotions.
He could even relish the role of a lovable underdog—at least until Year 3, when he inevitably would win his first national championship with the program.
College football fans dreaded the idea as Nick Saban-to-Texas rumors unfolded, but wouldn’t this actually be the perfect fit?
The game’s most decorated coach leading the nation’s richest, free-spending program just seems…right.
It even seems worth asking: How did this not happen?
Yes, Alabama fans, it is because Saban is very committed to the Crimson Tide.
Still, Saban in burnt orange would have made a lot of sense.
For one, the path to a national championship is easier.
Even those who choose to follow Bob Stoops’ opinion that the Big 12 is on the same plane as the SEC must admit playing a conference championship game is more difficult than not playing one.
Secondly, Texas plays its biggest rivalry game every year on a neutral field.
That must sound much better than playing at Tiger Stadium, Kyle Field and Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Oh, and Texas also would have metaphorically simply signed a check for Saban and asked him to fill in his salary.
Not only would Michigan hiring Nick Saban irritate in-state foe Michigan State, it would bring Ohio State coach Urban Meyer’s nemesis into the Big Ten race.
Forget being “on the way.” If Saban took over the Wolverines, both they and the Big Ten would officially be back.
At that point, it would simply be a race to see which school could become the first Big Ten program since Ohio State in 2002 to bring home a national championship.
Meyer and Saban battled for conference and national supremacy before when Saban took over Alabama and Meyer was at Florida.
They split their two SEC Championship Game appearances with both going on to win the BCS National Championship Game.
Saban to Michigan would mean the two would square off on an annual basis in two of college football’s most iconic venues.
Furthermore, Saban’s presence in Ann Arbor would create must-watch games against Michigan State, where he began his head-coaching career.
Perhaps Saban could even shame Notre Dame into renewing its rivalry with the Wolverines, which goes on hiatus after the 2014 season.
The program most synonymous with the up-tempo, high-scoring offense meets one of the coaches most opposed to that style of play.
What a wonderfully ironic blend it would be to see Nick Saban patrol the Autzen Stadium sideline as the home coach.
Would Saban continue the tradition of running offense at a breakneck, frenetic pace?
Or would he stubbornly cast aside the fad offense in favor of his defense-first, pro-style offensive system he has long preferred?
Would Oregon fans accept anything less than the style of play they have grown accustomed to seeing or would they embrace anything Saban did in hopes of capturing that elusive national title?
Just think of The Paul Finebaum Show if this ever happened.
“Today’s first guest: Dr. Phil…”
That would be appropriate in the event Nick Saban bolted from Alabama across the state to hated rival Auburn.
Phyllis would be in a state of denial.
Harvey Updyke might just poison himself.
Saban’s statue outside Bryant-Denny Stadium would be destroyed.
The state of Alabama would never be the same again.
And the entire country would be able to listen to it unfold one call at a time on Finebaum’s highest-rated show ever.
The sheer magnitude of football insanity already gushing out the pores of Alabama would intensify exponentially.
Just the thought of Saban wearing Auburn’s orange and white at the next Iron Bowl likely elicits animalistic responses from both sides.
Forget the 1989 Iron Bowl, when Auburn hosted the game for the first time in series history, the Saban Bowl would create palpable tension from both fan bases for an entire year.
Recent years and national success created greater reach for one of the sport’s fiercest rivalries.
Such a high-profile coaching move would make the Iron Bowl the sport’s most must-watch event.