Alabama is 21-point favorites against Ole Miss in Oxford later tonight. The Crimson Tide once again look like the best team in college football. Nick Saban, the best college football coach ever, is still on the sidelines running the show.
Knowing all this, a brave writer named Ben Miller has penned a column for the Daily Mississippian titled “Nick Saban overrated as a head coach.” And you know, to be fair, I just called the curmudgeonly championship enthusiast the best ever so he’s quite highly rated.
Among the madness, there is but one sentence that few have been brave enough to say: Nick Saban is an overrated head coach. Stay with me. I am perfectly willing to admit that Alabama would not have gotten to where they are currently without Saban’s tremendous recruiting talents that resulted in him having a dominant football team early in his career. What I am not willing to say, however, is anything that would make it sound like Saban is even close to being the greatest college football coach to ever live.
Fast forward to today. The unprecedented success that Alabama saw almost immediately upon Saban’s arrival created a machine that the rest of the nation has yet to figure out how to stop. Saban had an incredible streak of recruiting that turned a mediocre team into a team that, for many years now, has required very minimal coaching.
Following the arrival of his first No. 1 overall recruiting class, Saban won his first of five national championships at Alabama. The machine was running. Now, he didn’t even need to recruit. Everybody wanted to play for the national champions. Saban’s early recruiting created a system in which the best players in the nation showed up on the Alabama campus, won games and titles, got drafted into the NFL and left a spot for the next round of the nation’s top recruits to take over.
With this in mind, five national titles really does not seem like enough in an 11-year period. Every season in recent memory, the Tide has had a national championship-or-bust mentality. If Saban were as good at being a head coach as he is at recruiting, Alabama would have won the national title on a yearly basis. But he isn’t.
If you’re thinking you’ve heard this kind of talk before, it’s because you have. It’s straight out of the Skip Bayless playbook. The playbook that allows a Jim Harbaugh is a better coach than Nick Saban take.
Calling Alabama and Saban underacheivers for not winning 11 consecutive national titles is some of the most amazing trolling I’ve seen in sports in a long time. Imagine putting that down on paper and smiling smugly. Must be an intense endorphin rush.
In about 10 hours we’ll know the outcome of the latest Ole Miss-Alabama game. This column is going to look genius or be ripped to shreds depending on what goes down. Should be entertaining either way.