I wanted to throw in my two cents on Nick Saban, or maybe a buck fifty. And since I have posting privileges, I don’t have to get involved in the comment war. I can start a new one.
First, I think it’s important to sort out my feelings for Saban. I was against the hire when it happened. I believe I said something along the lines of, “why are we hiring a guy who couldn’t beat Dinardo?” I didn’t think he was all that successful at Michigan State, but I can’t say that I closely followed his career.
He got to LSU and we started winning, which is always a good way to win over a fan base. Of course I liked winning a national title and I do believe my original feelings towards him were wrong. He is a good coach, far better than I thought he was when he got hired. That said, he had a disturbing tendency to take all of the credit for wins and throw players under the bus for losses. Hey, being a rampant egomaniac doesn’t make a coach special, so it’s not really a knock. Saban constantly flirted with the NFL during his time year. And while we were successful, Saban’s teams had a knack for losing focus and losing games they had no business losing.
When he bolted for the Dolphins, my attitude wasn’t quite “good riddance”, but I can’t say I was surprised or upset. He used us, we used him, and everyone benefited from the relationship. I didn’t feel betrayed, but then again, I never truly went all-in on Saban. So I moved on to a coach I actually am all-in with, Les Miles.
My problem is not with Saban, it is with a certain section of our fanbase that openly pines for Saban. It pisses me off for two reasons: ONE: I don’t believe Saban was as great as his reputation and TWO: it assumes that Miles isn’t a terrific coach. When last year’s team lost to Arkansas, there was a murmuring that Saban wouldn’t have lost that game. Like Saban didn’t lose twice to Arkansas. When this year’s team got ripped by Florida, those who pine for Saban flooded the message boards for our weak title defense. Like Saban didn’t defend our title by struggling with Oregon State, losing to Auburn, and then getting crushed by Georgia. Saban teams were blown out, too, ya know?
This isn’t to say Saban isn’t a good coach. He is. He is a terrific coach. But he’s not our coach, and in a way, he never really was. LSU was his audition for the NFL. Thanks for the title, Nick, but don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. You always had a foot out the door. So I’m not here to rip on Saban, as a head coach using one job to springboard to another is just the way the business works. I don’t hate him for it, I’m not even mad.
What does get me mad is how we still have a part of our fanbase that wants him back. That nothing Miles ever does will measure up. Not his national title, not his recruiting efforts, not his success against top ten teams, or in the SEC. Those are the people I do hate. And that has nothing to do with Saban. Miles is the coach at LSU, Saban is not. Hopefully, Saban’s return to Baton Rouge will allow us to finally close the chapter on his tenure here. I’m just sick of hearing about him.