Let's just get something out of the way: I don't like Nick Saban. I appreciate what he did for our program, but it was a relationship in which both parties were using each other. We got a national title out of the deal, he spent every season looking for another gig, and eventually someone left more money on the dresser than we did. Hey, that's how it goes.
I didn't like him when he was hired, I think I told my friends he was a Yankee who couldn't even beat Dinardo, and I wasn't all that impressed with what he did at Michigan St. I didn't like him while he was here, because he's just the kind of coach I dislike: the dictator genius. I don't like Bellichek, his mentor, nor do I like any coach that makes every single thing about him. Every win was because of Saban's genius and every loss was not his fault because some kid didn't execute his brilliance correctly or somehow fate intervened. Whatever. He played footsies with anyone who would call his agent every offseason and then he left. I was happy he left because I thought the Saban Obsession had left town and we could focus on the actual program instead.
Called that one wrong. The Saban Obsession has only gotten worse since he left.,
But let's clear another thing up: I don't hate Nick Saban. I don't blame him for leaving and I don't blame him for coming back to the SEC. I'd prefer it if he were in the NFL, but since he's the coach at Alabama, I hope he loses not because he used to be our coach, but because he's the head coach of Alabama. I didn't send good vibes to Mike Dubose either. I don't think he's a bad coach and I do think he'll continue to have success at Bama.
What I absolutely detest, and it needs to stop right now, is the Saban Obsession. Now, I know Bama fans think the majority of LSU fans hate Saban, but that's not true. I'd say the most vocal contingent, at least online, are those that love Saban. But Saban never loved us back and it kills them. Instead of recognizing that he is just a standard issue egomaniacal football coach, these fans have now created what I like to call the Saban Myth.
Les Miles is not being compared to the actual legacy of Nick Saban, he's been compared to the Myth. Saban's teams never blew a lead, never committed a bad penalty, never had a blitz that didn't work, and never ran a play that failed to make a first down. Saban won every game except for those that weren't his fault, his players loved him like a father, and they always gave 110% on every play. Nick Saban is partly responsible for this myth as he's a capable manipulator of his public image and he's done everything he can to create the image of the Perfect Coach. But shame on LSU fans for still buying the Myth.
He left. It wasn't personal, it wasn't malicious. It was business. Since he failed in the NFL, he came back to the big college job that had an opening, which happened to be Alabama. It's not a vendetta. Saban doesn't stay up at nights pining for LSU.Comparing Miles to Saban needs to stop. It's just not healthy, and it's a comparison Miles can never win because he's not being compared to a man anymore, he's being compared to the Myth. LSU fans don't hate Saban, that could at least be understood. The truth is a little more complicated, as many fans are still acting like the jilted lover. Well, your ex has a new spouse and if you haven't noticed, we have a pretty good coach ourselves here who has accomplished a lot of great things. It's time to appreciate the great program we actually have and not this imaginary one built up in our minds that would have occurred had the NFL never come calling.
The best way to move on is this. Find any person who refers to this game as the Saban Bowl, and punch them in the face. Trust me, they deserve it. The head coach of Alabama is the enemy, but only because he is the head coach of Alabama. He's never coming back, so stop pretending he will and stop building his legend. Stop living in 2003, a lot of cool things have happened since then.
Les Miles is a damn strong football coach. In the name of all that is holy, stop holding our national championship winning coach at arm's length. We don't need Saban back because, really, he was never really here. Just the Myth.