Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Well, Isn't That Special?

Hey, mea culpa. I made the mistake of thinking Nick Saban wasn't a liar when he said, "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach." Bad on me, but I promise, it won't happen again.

So, what to make of it? Eh, not all that much. Once you get beyond the nadir of ridiculousness from delusional UAT fans and the in-state media in Alabama (please forgive the redundancy), you've got a decent college coach taking a job with a team that isn't all that good. The Turds have had one winning season out of the last five, and a quick glance at the depth chart, which drops off a good chunk of the defense to graduation, will tell you that they aren't liable to be much better in 2007 than they were in 2006.

Even given Saban's one magical season at LSU--when he still lost at home, and badly, to a weak Florida team--his overall record is a fairly pedestrian 91-42-1. Saban's LSU record of 48-16 is nearly identical to Terry Bowden's 47-17-1 at Auburn, and, of course, Saban comes in with a 2-3 mark against the Tigers. There's no doubt that he's a better coach than Mike Shula, but then again, my sister's dog is probably a better coach than Mike Shula. When you add in the fact that even lousy coaches like Shula, Bill Curry, and Mike DuBose all had at least one big year in Tuscaloosa, you have to expect that Saban will have one or two of his own somewhere down the line.

And if today is any indication, Saban will also have an in-state honeymoon to die for. While the national press is tearing Saban to shreds over the last duplicitous six weeks of denials (to say nothing of the gutless speakerphone call to his former assistants), the legions of desperate UAT fans and in-state media crowd (again, forgive the redundancy) are quite literally falling over themselves to lay hosannahs at the feet of the latest Savior. I'm not exaggerating at all when I tell you that these yahoos are treating Saban's arrival in Tuscaloosa as the Second Coming.

And you know, they're right about that. Just not in the way they think.

Nick Saban is the second coming--of Ray Perkins.

Both were NFL failures who got bailed out of losing jobs by an unexpected offer from UAT, but more importantly, both are arrogant, thin-skinned jerks whom nobody can stand to work with for very long. Both lied early and often about pursuing other jobs (Perkins blasted ESPN as "unprofessional" for reporting he was leaving UAT for Tampa, only a week before he did just that). Like Perkins, Saban will probably recruit well (if all those spoiled trust fund babies on the UAT board are willing to pony up $32 million to bribe in a coach, just think what they're paying for recruits by now), he'll probably have at least a couple of solid years.

He'll also alienate everybody around him, eventually including the Alabama press yahoos who're doing a fine Monica Lewinsky impression today. Last but certainly not least, he'll become increasingly frustrated with a disfunctional athletic program that neither he nor anyone else can actually control, and he'll probably be gone much sooner than anybody expects today.

But hey, he'll be the toast of the town for about another 11 months. Enjoy it, Nicky. The honeymoon ends on November 24, in a stadium where you've never won a football game. We call it Jordan-Hare. You already know it as Hell.


jmoffett said...

I went to LSU and would love to throw a whiskey bottle at Tubby (kidding), but I really enjoy your posts. I wasn't sure how I felt about Saban taking the job this morning since it will be the talk of the Sugar Bowl tonight. But the more I thought about it, the more I had to wonder: "Does Saban have Jedi mind powers that cause people to throw money at him for no real reason?" Leave Bama's desperation and delusion aside and think about a few things.

Saban takes over Michigan State in 1995 after the school had gone 5-6, 6-6 and 5-6 from 1992-94. Under Saban they went 6-5, 6-6, 7-5, 6-6 and 10-2. Seeing that MSU record reminds me of why so many folks laughed at LSU for hiring him to replace Dinardo. He came in making more money at LSU but the big issue seemed to be the "little brother" thing in Michigan.

So at LSU he takes over a program that had six straight losing seasons before hiring Dinardo in 1995, and Dinardo went 7-4, 10-2, 9-3, 4-7 and 3-8. Saban then goes 8-4, 10-3, 8-5, 13-1, and 9-3. At some point right around when he went 13-1 LSU bumped him to around $2 million. He parlayed this record into $5m/year on a five year deal with the Dolphins. He goes 15-17 with Miami and then leaves for a guaranteed $32m and an eight year contract.

I hate to say it (am throwing up right now), but how much is Pete Carroll worth under these metrics? Saban lost at least three games a year at LSU except for one year when he lost only one. He lost at least five every year at Michigan State except for the one year he lost only 2 games.

Carroll's record in the NFL was 33-31 (better than Saban) and he is 65-11 in six years at USC, and six of those 11 losses were in his first year. Hell, Miles has gone 11-2 and (pending tonight) 11-2 in back to back years. Miles' four year record at Oklahoma State, where he also took over a team with a losing record during the previous four years was 4-7, 8-5, 9-4, and 7-5. So, his winning percentage there (57%) was the same as Saban's at Michigan State (57%).

So, is Miles worth more than Saban? Is Carroll worth more than Bill Gates? Why is Bama paying Saban, or anybody, that kind of money? Should Saban put his apparent charisma to work for good and negotiate peace in the Middle East? How much would that cost, and who would be responsible for paying him?

Deacon Blues said...

I've finally lost my Boggle. I didn't think Saban would leave the Dolphins but then again, if he lost in the playoffs maybe he wouldn't have a job next year or matbe not till the year after. He may not be someone I would work for but he certainly knows how to sucker people.

Jinnmabe said...

a fine Monica Lewinsky impression

Hah. I salute you sir.

I'm with jmoffett. What drives the coaching carousel is media hype and wild-ass hope. A guy has one pretty good year and gets in good with the media, so they'll talk him up real good and BOOM! he's the next Bud Wilkinson. Yes, I just busted out a 50 year old reference. The point is, everyone thinks their guy's going to come in and save the day.

What I can't figure out is how guys like Bill Callahan keep their jobs. Yeah, they win a little bit, but they're called "offensive geniuses" even though, when they are down a mere 3 points, late in the game, and on their opponents' 40 yard line, facing a defense that has allowed them less than 100 yards rushing, the coach says "hey, let's run on four straight downs, instead of passing the ball." Idiot.

(By the way, not mad at Callahan, couldn't give a flying crap about Nebraska, it just offends me to see him referred to as an "offensive guru".)