Paul Finebaum discusses several TV job options for Nick Saban, identifies best fit
Paul Finebaum has a keen sense for how Nick Saban operates, especially when it comes to his possible next job in television for the former Alabama coach. After all, Finebaum said Saban’s move to TV is a “fait accompli.”
Finebaum went on the “Sports Media Podcast” with Richard Deitsch and outlined his perspective of how he sees Saban’s view of television options. Those are generally a game analyst, a studio analyst, or an addition to ESPN’s “College GameDay.”
“He’s always been fascinated by being part of things,” Finebaum said. “In the million times I’ve asked him about retirement, he’s always said, ‘I’ve been a part of a team my whole life,’ so that fills some of that need. And I’ll leave it to the critics to decide whether being on the GameDay set is part of a team or not. But the thing that I wonder about, as you know, Richard, you’ve been around television, there’s a great deal of excitement, but there’s mostly boredom waiting to go on.”
“I wonder how he would handle that. I know from talking to Rece (Davis) and others Saban was out there last year for 2 days for the national title game because he was staying in the room next to me; I was watching him come and go. I think he would like it to a degree, but I don’t know if he wants to sit around and have somebody say, ‘Hey coach, do you mind? We need somebody on the 8 o’clock SportsCenter.’ That does not seem like him.
“I think he would probably — not to be a programmer — enjoy doing games more where, ‘OK, I got Alabama-Georgia this week. I get to look at film all week, I get to dig down. On Friday, I’ll talk to the coaches.’ As opposed to GameDay, which is totally unorthodox at times.”
Then Deitsch brought up the tricky scenario of making moves in the analyst ranks starting with Kirk Herbstreit because ESPN would seemingly want Saban on big games.
Finebaum stated that he is not privy to any exclusive information, but offered his opinion based on his history with Saban and ESPN. They also noted that while GameDay draws a large audience, it doesn’t compare to the audiences for the biggest games.
“He’s going to be great; he’s analytical,” Finebaum said. “I’ve seen him be very funny. He’s just not a patient person … Is he gonna want to hear anyone else’s opinion?”
Finebaum admitted that he hasn’t asked to have Saban on his show, but that’s more out of deference to Saban. Finebaum also noted that he doesn’t know about Saban’s ongoing arrangement with Pat McAfee.
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