I'm not sure how long you have been around, but I'm here to tell you that I've been around a long time. Over the last thirty years I've had the pleasure of covering some wild SEC football seasons, but 2013 takes the proverbial cake. Standing in the end zone at Jordan-Hare Stadium with students going off behind me, I've witnessed two of the most breath-taking plays ever. It's hard to beat "The Prayer At Jordan-Hare" and "The Return To Glory". Throw in the big SEC title game beat down and a season of destiny continues for the Auburn Tigers. But wouldn't you know my friend, that in the state of Alabama, it doesn't take long for the Tide & the Tigers to battle for national headlines, and this week, it's all about Nick Saban.
Will he? Won't He? Was that a Terry Saban tweet? Who reported what? The last week has brought more questions than an episode of "Jeopardy". But could the Alabama Nation be in jeopardy of losing it's coach to the Texas Longhorns? Here's my take and I'm sticking to it.
I don't know Saban well, but I have spent enough time with him to know that he, like the rest of us, has his share of insecurities. One of the biggest regrets of his life is how he handled the Miami Dolphins deal by looking into the camera some seven years ago to say, "OK, I'll say it- I'm not going to be the Alabama coach." Whoops. That was a big swing and a miss. To this day that moment eats at Saban like a hungry mosquito.
How many times have you heard it? Nick Saban saying things like, "I'm too old to start over", and "Miss Terry and I are happy here and committed to this university". I know Saban enough to know that if he has a happy wife he has a happy life- and while Terry let leak to the Wall Street Journal a few thoughts about at times not being appreciated, Nick, in my opinion, is happy in his job as long as Terry is happy in her neighborhood (which she appears to be).
Nick Saban does not like to lose, none of us do. Think about it: In three years, Saban has lost three games: One in overtime, one when AJ McCarron was intercepted at the goal line, and one when Auburn's Chris Davis turned in perhaps the most miraculous finish in college football history. Bottom line? I say Nick Saban reconfirms his commitment to UA very soon- the reason? A man who has won three BCS titles in four years does not go out with a crushing Iron Bowl defeat. That loss two weeks ago was to the Auburn Tigers, and Saban is not the kind of man who will let the Auburn Tigers dictate his future.
If Saban does bolt for Texas? Some Auburn fans may take delight in knowing that Chris Davis, Gus Malzahn and friends helped run him out of town, but it's a bit deeper than that. I say the Auburn win in Iron Bowl 2013 actually brings Saban back, as a Bama win and another BCS title may have resulted in Saban's retirement. But could a move happen? Saban will only leave for UT if he feels as if he has enough energy to rebuild yet another program and his wife agrees to the move (after all, beautiful homes and Little Debbie snack cakes can be purchased in Austin).
I would be stunned if Nick Saban left UA, but if it ever happened, call out the National Guard as memories of Dennis Franchione would come swarming back (can you say Robert Irsay?). Twitter will melt down, and the Alabama empire will be in dire need of a quick fix. And once again, Bama fans will be reminded of the question many have asked before: "Why can't we wait until one of our coaches actually retires before erecting a statue outside the stadium?"