The University of Alabama has a problem: Nick Saban’s vanity. Ultimately, this will derail the football program. Historically, the Crimson Tide has been a solid team, especially beginning with Bear Bryant. Yet, they are starting to slide downhill. It’s not entirely a slippery slope and not entirely Saban’s fault. The NCAA has contributed to part of the problem. The NCAA is the bartender who will continue to serve you even though they know you’re drunk, then offer you cocaine FOR FREE to keep you moving.
There was a very good story in The Atlantic Monthly several years ago which focused on two things: The NCAA, an American institution, relies on its storied reputation to mediate college football justice. The reality, however, is that they are impotent. If the Southeastern Conference wanted to secede then the SEC could have their own show. The day Notre Dame joins the SEC then you will absolutely know that I am right. It’s coming. Wait for it.
A good friend of mine dated a woman who was in the Alabama program on the non-football side of the operation. Her take is that Nick Saban is an absolute jerk. She hated meeting him. I agreed to keep her anonymous, but I have been given permission to use her words about Saban. We all know Saban is a superior college football coach but was a failure in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins. These things are given. Also, this woman tells me that Saban earned over eight million dollars in 2018. She knows because she saw it.
That is just wrong on several levels. Tickets, according to my friend, went from $475 to $115 because of Saban’s inability to manage the team.
“Saban is a control freak and places himself in charge of unpredictable teenagers. He speaks in feckless monotone. Mournfully crosses his arms and rarely smiles. His world has two outcomes: National Championship or failure.”
This is a direct quote from the girl. In my opinion, she is both intelligent and prescient. I trust her judgement. You know what the Scripture says: His judgement cometh and that right soon. If you will recall last season’s National Championship, Saban and the Crimson Tide got their asses handed to them by Clemson. It was a whipping for Alabama I haven’t seen in a while. As a player, journalist, writer and at times editor, I see everything. It’s my J-O-B. I took Clemson but I didn’t foresee the outcome. I figured Clemson would beat the number but not dish out a beating. This is the beginning of Saban’s retirement.
Now we come back to the NCAA’s reckless bartending, cocaine providing tendencies. Back in the good old days, if a player transferred then he’d have to sit for a season, more or less. Today, however, they can move at will and play. Immediately. This presents a problem to any football program. If I’m the second-string quarterback at Alabama, ala Jalen Hurts, then I would sure as hell go straight to a school that needed me. The thought process: XYZ school needs a QB, if I’m good enough to be second string at the Tide then I can damn sure play at Oklahoma. It’s understandable but it upsets the betting window. At this point, NCAA football becomes more akin to NFL where players get traded every day. Everyday. As a bettor I don’t like it but I understand it.
From this point, it should be obvious that the NCAA upsets the purity of the game and does not ensure it. That was their initial directive. They have failed. Miserably. I am a small man but if I could get ahold of the director of NCAA and Saban, I would punch both of them in the mouth. Further, I would seclude them in an MMA cage and have them fight to the death. Depending on the oddsmakers in Vegas, I would probably take Saban. It’s all about the odds.
Lastly, Alabama could not cover -55.5 against New Mexico State University. How does that happen? I have said before and will repeatedly say: Alabama is on a downward spiral. I believe the inability to command or coach makes one a liability to the team.