"I will not be the next SEC Champion Coach!"
Nick Saban, love him or hate him, you have to give him one thing, he does have immaculate hair. But that is not the reason the University of Alabama Board of Trustees is paying him 4 million a year on a contract that is guaranteed for five years. No. They hired him to win football games.
So how will Nick fare his first year back in the SEC? The Alabama faithful would have you believe that he will win an SEC championship in only his first year, but as Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast, my friend!"
He is taking over a team that went 6-7 lst year and barely qualified for the Independence bowl against Oklahoma State which they promptly lost.
To say that new Offensive Coordinator Major Applewhite is unproven is an understatement. He is 28 years old and only has two years of coaching experiance, one with Syracuse as QB coach in 2005 (in which the Orange posted a 1-10 record), and one last year as the Offensive Coordinator at Rice University. His record you ask? One must have an impeccable record to become Offensive Coordinator under the Nation's top-paid college coach, right? Wrong. 6-7, the same record Mike Shula was fired from Bama for last season.
Saban is being forced into running a 3-4 under defensive scheme this year because of the lack of quality defensive linemen. In fact he had to move Red-shirt Freshman Center Brian Motley to Defensive Tackle one day before Spring practice began for depth and the guy figures to be in the mix to fight for a starting spot at nose tackle. Don't Defensive Tackles generally move to the Offensive Line at the college level and not the other way around? This guy's stats? 6'1" 284lbs. He is hardly the mountain that you need in a Nose Tackle to anchor that defensive line in a 3-4 scheme. Scout.com had this to say about Motley in their preview of the 2007 Alabama defense:
"Is Brian Motley the key to the team's season? In the new 3-4 alignment, a stud is needed at tackle to be the anchor everything else works around, and the former center appeared to be a good one this spring. The coaching staff has raved about him, but at 6-1 and 284 pounds, he'll have to play big on the nose."
A Bama fan will tell you that Saban is good for at least 2-3 additional wins over what Mike Shula wouldv'e done and somehow that math comes out to a 9 or 10 win season. I just don't think that is in the cards for Bama this year, and honestly, I think that when recruits see Bama struggle, they will turn to other schools such as Iron Bowl rival Auburn.
Think of it this way. Most would consider Steve Spurrier a superior coach to Nick Saban, right? I know I for one do. Saban is 91-42-1 (that's 68% for those of you as bad at math as I am) as a collegiate head coach, 3-6 in bowls, has one MNC and two SEC Championships. Spurrier is 157-50-2 currently (76%), 7-7 in bowls, and has 1 MNC, 1 ACCC, and 6 SECC. He has been Coach of the Year 8 times in his respective conference. So it is safe to say that Spurrier is the superior coach.
When Spurrier was hired at South Carolina he improved the record from 6-5 the previous year to 7-5 in his first season. I wouldn't say Alabama has much more talent than did South Carolina at that point
Many say leave the Bammers to their delusions, but I contend that the delusion of the Bammer Nation is harmful to thoughtful and productive conversations about SEC football and must be stopped. How long until they are driving their new found idol out of town like they did Mike Shula, or throwing bricks through his window as they did to Bill Curry?
Thoughts of an SEC title are somewhat far-fetched for Alabama both this year and in the foreseeable future. Save the world, tell a Bammer.