Today it came out that a Texas board member had conversations with Nick Saban’s agent about his interest in taking over the Texas job should Mack Brown be gently pushed into retirement. I decided to take a look at why Nick Saban could be interested and what the potential impact would be if Saban took his talents to the best job in America.
Recruiting: Nick Saban has proved that he can recruit at LSU and Alabama at a big time level. LSU has better local talent than Alabama but he has three straight #1 recruiting classes to proves his ability to get kids to sign on the dotted line with the Crimson Tide. Texas however is a whole different ball of wax. Imagine mixing the best state to recruit in with the ability to lure in the best out of state players. Before I get the anger from FL football fans, Florida has three major schools to split those recruits between in Miami, FSU, and UF. No matter what Texas A&M tells you, there is only one University of Texas and every kid grows up wanting to go there. Nice Saban at Texas would get all the best in state talent and the pick of the litter from out of state just like Pete Carroll at USC when he had it rolling. The factory would simply follow Saban to Austin.
Bear Bryant: Nick Saban has 3 National Championships and a statue at Alabama but there is one undeniable fact about this job. He will never be better than Bear Bryant to Alabama fans. We can’t be certain that this matters to Saban at all. I would guess it does matter on some level. The same way it has to matter to Roy Williams that he will never be Dean Smith. The same way it would matter to whoever eventually gets UCLA basketball back to the top that they won’t be John Wooden. On the flip side of that, if Nick Saban went to Texas and became the only coach in CFB history to win three National Titles at 3 different schools, you could make the strong argument that he is the best coach to ever walk on a college campus. You would not get an argument from me.
SEC vs Big 12: Everyone thinks it is so great to play in and coach in the SEC. While you get more attention and a certain swagger for competing in that conference right now, the fact remains that it is the toughest conference to win in week in and week out. Yes Alabama has won in the SEC but let’s not pretend that haven’t had some fortunate bounces of the ball during their run. Also, these are 1 loss national championships with those losses coming at the hands of SEC opponents. Transport Saban into the Big 12 and every year when he beats Bob Stoops in the Red River Rivalry, we would know who is winning the conference. The rise of Baylor, TCU, and even Texas Tech would come to a screeching halt the moment Nick Saban sits in his new office at Texas.
Listen, just because something makes sense doesn’t mean it will happen. I have already stated I think the chances are low of this happening but that doesn’t mean it’s not intriguing enough for Nick to listen. Now that word has come out that Texas could be prepared to offer Saban $100 million/10yrs and 1% of the Longhorn network, they could have put together something to make Saban stop and listen. With rumblings from Bama that Nick has had a new contract on his desk for a while now without signing it, there are some nervous people in Tuscaloosa. There is an intense pressure and focus that is on your when you are the head coach of Alabama could drive someone to seek another job even if Terry Saban says they will retire there.
Saban will listen to an offer from Texas should Mack Brown decide to “retire” after this season. That should be a scary proposition for coaches around the Big 12 and the country.