SEC

Only a Matter of Time Before Nick Saban Leaves Alabama

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For those of you who think The University of Alabama will be Saban's last stop as a football coach, here is something for you to consider.

Nick Saban has already been labeled as the best coach in the SEC by many reporters putting together their best to worst or top to bottom (or however you want to word it) football coaches in the toughest conference in college football (SEC), and has been labeled as the best coach in all of college football by just as many.

In just 3 years at the University of Alabama, Saban has taken the Crimson Tide from a dismal 7-6 record and losing 6 straight Iron Bowl games to Auburn to a National Championship team.  Saban did lose to Auburn in his first season as head coach of the Tide, but in large part, it was with the previous regime's players and has won the last two meetings between the two teams.  Short of winning a National Title, this game is as important as it gets to Alabama. Having the in-state bragging rights means this is a must win game for both teams. The Iron Bowl is truly one of the best rivalry games in the country each November.

Take a look at the coaching career of Nick Saban. If you look at it carefully, you will not only notice a trend, you will see why I think Saban will return to the NFL sidelines at some point within the next few years.

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  • 1990:  Head coach of Toledo.  Led the Toledo Rockets to a 9-2 record and Co-Champion of the Mid-American Conference
  • 1991-1994:  Defensive Coordinator of the Cleveland Browns under head coach Bill Belichick.
  • 1995-1999:  Head Coach of Michigan State.  The final season with the Spartans was a 9-2 regular season record and the best win/loss record for the Spartans since the 1965 season.
  • 2000-2004: Head Coach of Louisiana State (LSU).  In the 2003 season, led the LSU Tigers to only their second National Title in the school's history.
  • 2005-2006:  Head coach of the Miami Dolphins.  This was his first and only head coaching job in the NFL.  '05 and '06 marked the only two losing seasons for Saban as a head coach.
  • 2007-Present:  Head Coach of Alabama.  Led the Crimson Tide to a 12-0 record in the regular season the last two years and won the National Championship in the 2009 season.

Except for his short stint with the Miami Dolphins, his only head coaching job in the NFL, Saban has a remarkable record as a head coach. If you know anything about Saban, you know that he has an ego the size of Texas.  He hears all the talk about how he is one of the greatest college coaches in history but can't be successful in the NFL.  What do you think is going through his mind when he hears that?

If Pete Carroll turns the Seahawks around in the next couple of years and has them competing deep into the playoffs, expect Saban to get the itch even more to once again make the jump.  Saban wants to prove, needs to prove, not only to himself but to all of his critics that he can be successful coaching in the NFL.

Nick Saban coached at Michigan State and LSU for 5 years each before accepting another coaching job and he is going into his 4th year at the University of Alabama.  He talked his defensive coordinator Kirby Smart into staying on his coaching staff instead of accepting a head coaching job at other major Universities.  Don't you think there was some talk between Saban and Smart about being in line to take over the head coaching job at Alabama when Saban accepts another coaching job? Why else would Smart stay at Alabama as the defensive coordinator instead of being the head coach of another big time college?  Being the head coach at Alabama is one of the top head coaching jobs in all of college football and having the opportunity to have that job in a couple of years is a great reason for Kirby Smart to stay.

Saban will stay at Alabama and take another crack or two at leading the team to a National Championship.  After winning last year, he still has a great team with a lot of young, talented players and a legitimate shot to repeat. He has arguably the best two running backs in college football in last year's Heisman winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.

Richardson would be the star for any other offense in the Country and in my estimation will probably be the only running back that offers Ingram any real competition in this year's Heisman race (even though he is on the same team.)

The moment Saban feels the Crimson Tide may not have a shot to vie for the National Championship, expect Saban to embark on another stint in the NFL to take care of unfinished business.... - Bob Bearden

Bob is a regular guest contributor on sports talk radio in the Southeastern United States. Bob's views and opinions on professional and college sporting events can now be found right here on the MC3 Sports Media's family of websites.

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