You knew it had to come sooner or later. I’m honestly surprised it took as long as it has but nevertheless it is here. I’m speaking of course of another sweepstakes involving Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban.
Saban is in his seventh season at Alabama which constitutes one of his longest tenures as a coach at any point in his career. The problem of course with Saban is that he has long been recognized as the ‘Larry Brown’ of football.
Known as an excellent coach, teacher and recruiter, Saban just doesn’t stay in the same place very long.
Where might he be headed now?
There is no secret the University of Texas is likely to come calling and they’ll be armed with millions and millions of dollars when they do. The Longhorns still have a coach however in Mack Brown but the faithful have grown restless.
Not only has rival Texas A&M gone on to be the attention-grabbing football program in the state, but for a university that reels in more money than any other, losing just doesn’t sit well with anyone and the talk of Saban being brought in to right the ship has already started.
Saban’s agent confirmed that he had a 45-minute conversation with a couple of University of Texas Regents back in January. At that time, his agent confirmed that Texas would be the only place Saban would consider leaving Alabama for but I have to wonder at what cost?
UT knows that Saban coming into Austin would provide instant credibility to a program that is necessarily lacking it but needs a significant boost. With four national titles under his belt (Bama 3, LSU 1) Saban almost guarantees a national title within his first couple of years.
Let’s go back to the price for a minute though.
Texas announced they have hired a new athletic director on Tuesday. Steve Patterson will come over from Arizona State and immediately takes over the nation’s most lucrative athletic department. What does this have to do with Saban?
Remember that Patterson is also the guy who lured Todd Graham away from Pittsburgh despite Graham talking about how much he looked forward to doing great things at Pitt. The lure of the desert and significantly more money was obviously too much for Graham to resist.
Graham’s situation is small potatoes compared to Saban who currently makes $5.6 million per season at Alabama. An amount the Chancellor of Alabama recently said was “the greatest investment the University of Alabama has ever made.”
I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibilities to see the Longhorns throw a number at Saban somewhere in the neighborhood of seven to eight million per year. Would Alabama be willing to match that offer to retain Saban?
Maybe that’s what this is all about anyway. Saban can continue to allow this situation to twist in the wind while the Tide marches on through the season. All the while a bidding war takes place between Tuscaloosa and Austin and Saban reaps the benefits.
Whoever comes with best possible deal will win his services.
Because Alabama is such a proud university they will not like being shown up by anyone. This is partially why I believe the Tide will not allow Saban to just drift away in the middle of the night.
In the end, there will be two winners and one loser. You already know Nick Saban will be one of the winners and the only thing left is to figure out if the other one is Alabama or Texas.