ESPN’s Colin Cowherd says Malzahn is ‘nightmare’ for Saban, says Auburn beats Bama in 2014


Count ESPN’s Colin Cowherd a fan of the Gus Bus and Auburn.

In fact, Cowherd says Gus Malzahn is the perfect storm of sorts for Nick Saban and his defensive schemes, and it forces Saban to adjust his defense on the fly. Cowherd went on the Paul Finebaum show and talked about the rivalry and the two great head coaches, and he even said Auburn is going to beat Alabama next year in a way-too-early prediction.

Related: Cowherd rips Mark Stoops for bulk recruiting letters, Stoops sent him 50

“I think he’s going to be a nightmare. I am amazed that Alabama fans aren’t concerned about Gus Malzahn.”

“There’s a way to beat Nick Saban,” Cowherd explained. “You’re not going to outdefend Nick Saban. He’s the master. …

“The people that give Nick trouble, and I’ve heard this from rival coaches who love Nick, is that Nick – like (Bill) Belichick – has a system. When you can get Nick out of his system, that you have out-of-the-box contrarian thinkers that don’t think like Nick thinks, they force Nick in uncomfortable places, to do things with his defense that he normally doesn’t have to normally do, he’s at his weakest.

“Nick is not great off the rails or against unpredictable coaches,” Cowherd said. “He has more trouble with quirky than substantial. He’ll go toe to toe with substantial. So I think Malzahn is built to give Nick trouble.

“I want all you Alabama fans, who love Finebaum and hate me, to know,” Cowherd said. “Right now, you’re driving around and I’m here to tell you that you’re going to start to lose to Gus Malzahn.

“Next year, Auburn’s going to be better than Alabama. Auburn is going to go into Tuscaloosa and beat Alabama. They’re going to beat Florida State. They’re going to win back-to-back national titles.”

Cowherd also said that Malzahn will be to Saban what Saban was to Urban Meyer at Florida. He also made the comparison of what Oregon’s Chip Kelly was to Pete Carroll at USC.

Gus’ style of play has proven to be Alabama’s Achilles heel. For Saban, playing great defense is all about winning with great matchups, and when teams hurry-up, no-huddle like Auburn (and others), Saban can’t sub to get the favorable matchups he needs.

So, how does Saban combat this style of play?

He’s going to have to recruit specifically for teams like Texas A&M and Auburn. That means lighter defensive ends and linebackers that can play tempo with the offense. It’s almost like he’s going to have to play his normal style of defense against every team not named Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Auburn. Then, he’ll play more hybrid-type or very elite linebackers and ends against teams that play tempo.

Nonetheless, with Saban and Malzahn, as it stands now, the Iron Bowl Rivalry is going to be the SEC’s most important game year after year. It’s sets up for a fascinating and epic future.

Photo Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports



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  • One of the best things about the Iron Bowl is that as soon as it is over, there’s already anticipation for NEXT year. It has to be the best rivalry in sports.

  • Cowherd = Bull S#*t. Gamecocks will beat Auburn @ Auburn next year. See. Anybody can make a prediction. Going to be a great year for SEC Football next year. Can’t get here soon enough. The Rooster rocks. Go Gamecocks.

  • ummmm no. Cowherd, do you really believe what you said? true idiot to make prediction like that… Alabama definitely should have won that game. 4 missed FG’s doesn’t = gus malzahn’s offensive genius. Watch the game again and see why Bama lost…. a missed fg to win it… or would have led to Overtime… a fluke very rare short FG return ended the game

    • The field goals definitely played a large part in Bama’s struggle. But ultimately defensive breakdowns in the secondary are what hurt Bama the most. For example: Sammie Coates game tying touchdown. Instead of staying in zone coverage and picking up Coates, HaHa Clinton-Dix and Cyrus Jones both committed to Nick Marshall on the run, leaving Coates wide open.

      • FatGuy, do you realize the reason that Dix and Jones came up on Marshall? First reason is that all of the Auburn offensive linemen had released and gone downfield, making a downfield pass impossible/illegal. So they came up. Sure, they wish they had stayed with Coates, especially since the referees completely didn’t show up on the play, and no call was made. Marshall’s release point was past the line of scrimmage, making it an illegal forward pass, and I fault the Bama coaching staff for not asking for a review, but I’m not sure the play was reviewable.
        You don’t have to set foot on the other side of the line of scrimmage, it’s where your relase point is that determines the foul, unlike receiving a pass.

  • Cowherd is a clown. Alabama lost that game ! And it sabans fault , because he can’t recruit a GD kicker !!! Auburn didn’t beat Alabama . Auburn will have a better chance of beating Bama ,cause the tide won’t have a game manger to lead them . ROFL!!!

    • Yeah Bama won’t have a QB next year remember that’s what they said when G-Mac left and Bama went on to win two back to back titles, so I wouldn’t bet on the Bama won’t have a QB thing cause they have 6 over there right now… RTR!! Oh and when Bama does win the whole nation don’t call it a miracle…. RTR!!!

  • Cowherd is selling himself as a sports personality. Nice angle, Colin. News flash, next year is a new year, the offense of Auburn will be a little more familiar to everyone, Mason will be gone to the NFL, where his “full speed by the third stride” ability will make him rich. He was the PERFECT tailback for that offense. Marshall is also the perfect QB for the Malzahn system. The fact that >breaking on the ball< earned him a full ride at Georgia as a DB, his quick acceleration and 4.4 speed made him the perfect QB. The other thing Auburn has to have to run this is a strong center, and also two good guards. The exchange/option takes a couple of seconds to run, there can be no defensive penetration until that busy intersection behind center clears out. It's a good offense. Next year a couple of teams will stop it. I believe Alabama will. :LSU might be the other one.

  • So not only is Auburn going to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa next year, they will also beat FSU and win it all this year. Good luck to the AU defense being able to slow down Jameis & Co.. Granted the tigers will put up points but overall the best defense will win this game and that distinction goes to FSU. Cowherd is as goofy and in love with himself as Finebaum is.

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