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What’s next for Saban and Alabama?

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“Sometimes, coaches realize the game has passed them by and this is the kind of loss that does that.”

I’m paraphrasing, but I still had to laugh during halftime of the Mississippi State-LSU Saturday night when ESPN studio analyst Lou Holtz actually mentioned the words retire and (Nick) Saban in the same sentence. Two weeks ago, Alabama could have beaten the Kansas City Chiefs by two touchdowns according to some pundits and now, after two close games against quality teams in the SEC, the recent three-time national champion coach should all the sudden turn in his loafers and look for a new gig?

Talk about overreacting.

I love Lou, I really do, but what was the Notre Dame homer thinking when he looked over at Mark May and said those words? Reece Davis chuckled and for good reason. The Crimson Tide will be fine just as long as they know the road to the BCS National Championship Game is no longer in their hands. Saban spoke rather bluntly to reporters after Saturday’s loss, obviously frustrated that his team didn’t bring its best effort against Johnny Football’s Aggies. He didn’t have an excuse for Alabama being punched in the mouth on its on field, other than placing the blame on execution.

The Crimson Tide play to a standard each and every week but were quickly knocked off rhythm in the first quarter. With a few schematic changes, Alabama rebounded and play much better the rest of the way, but fell victim to a handful of game-changing plays down the stretch and didn’t have the poise that’s indicative of Saban’s teams. The Aggies forced three turnovers, converted 11-of-18 third downs and found holes in the nation’s top defense. First-year A&M coach Kevin Sumlin revealed the blueprint on how to beat an SEC titan utilizing a fast-paced offense with a prolific quarterback and for his troubles, the Aggies are now the SEC’s sixth Top 10 team.

So what’s next for the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide after falling from the ranks of the unbeaten?

Regroup and try again. Two wins, a shot at another SEC title and a BCS bowl lie ahead, though it comes as a tough-to-swallow consolation prize to the defending national champions. This season, through 10 weeks, went off without a hitch despite Saban constantly reminding whoever would listen that Alabama was not invincible. A.J. McCarron proved he was human after last week’s Baton Rouge heroics and threw his first picks of the season while the Aggies pounded the hairline crack (exposed by LSU’s Zach Mettenberger in the passing game) with a relentless pace.

Part of me thinks Saban expected a challenging game, but in no way considers A&M’s win a sign of things to come in Tuscaloosa. The win was the Aggies’ (8-2, 5-2) first signature victory in an impressive first SEC season and catapulted Manziel to the top of everyone’s Heisman lists. But will A&M be able to contend year-after-year in the West with Alabama and LSU at the top of the pecking order? Time will tell.

I wish Lou Holtz wouldn’t have inferred that Saban has lost a step. It’s comical to think he has. What’s really unfortunate is how the Crimson Tide will respond over their next two games against hapless Western Carolina and Auburn. I doubt the Catamounts or Tigers send Dr. Lou a Christmas card next month.





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Comments 28

  1. Nick Saban is overrated…

  2. Alabama will NOT win the SEC Championship!

  3. When Saban got so adamant at he press conference BEFORE Miss St., he knew his team was tired, bruised and battered with no sign of a let down or chance to catch their breath. He urged the fans to get off their butts and get out and let his players hear from you. They’ve been going since the spring and they deserve our praise. Saban is not only an intellect, he has the uncanny ability to be what the players need-WHEN they need it. No one is better at their job.

  4. I hope we get a SEC team in the National Championship game. We need 2 of the 3 undefeated teams to lose in the next couple games.

  5. jeremy
    Commented : 1 year ago

    I wish I could say Auburn was underated! But I cant!

  6. Drad
    Commented : 1 year ago

    Nick still has plenty left in him. I said early this season that I didn’t believe any team would go without a loss. That has happened. But to say Nick has lost anything is short of radical. oOu is just thankful that ND doesn’t have to play Bama now. As an Auburn fan I respect the tide and hope things go their way to bring the crystal back home.
    However, an upset win over Bama would be nice. Just do not, realistically, see that this year.
    And UGA will not get past the Tide in the SEC championship. Please quit barking that silly nonsense UGA fans. That is a pipe dream at best. Murray is no Johnny Manziel.

    • DawgMan
      Commented : 1 year ago

      Intreresting you say that, because Murray turned the Auburn defense inside out. Murray also has the best passer rating in the SEC. Just an observation. And the UGA Defense is better than aTm’s. It isn’t nonsense either. UGA is playing it’s best football right now, and Bama is playing its worst

  7. CH
    Commented : 1 year ago

    SEC defenses are overrated…

  8. Can we get this freakin guy tested yet? While I can’t disagree with the point that Saban should retire, my reasoning is completely opposite. My desire for him to retire comes only from the fact that he’s the best developer of talent into its maximum potential to utilize in the scheme that he likes to run. He puts NFL ready players into very early rounds of the draft, and usually they hit the ground running. Now I must tell you that I’m a die hard LSU fan. I bleed and breathe LSU Football. I hate Saban and would love nothing more than to one day see the game pass him by, but we haven’t gotten to that day yet. He’s still an amazing recruiter, and although his players may not love him like a father, they go there to be turned into pros. Holtz has lost his mind. I can’t believe that I’ll cheering for USC, but something has to shut him up. #muzzlemushmouth

  9. So I’m not an Alabama fan, but how do you declare the game has passed by a coach who is a year removed from a National Title and had his team sitting at number one 11 weeks into the season? This seems like an ill advised comment.

  10. “Lisping Lou” can’t hold a candle to Nick Saban. Never has. I hope for his sake, Notre Dame fails miserably.

  11. I watched that halftime show too, and I thought he made it pretty clear that he thought Saban should retire because there is no joy in winning anymore… His point was less one of talent, and more one of emotion.

  12. Well written article.

    A loss was eventually going to happen and it did. Great game Aggies and welcome to the SEC. You guys earned your spot at the table. Still waiting for Mizzou to leave the kiddie table.