SEC Football Head Coach Evaluation: Alabama’s Nick Saban

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Jan 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban on the field prior to the 2015 Sugar Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Many fans in the college football world hate Saban like MLB fans hate the Yankees, NBA fans hated the “Heatles,” and football fans hate Bill Belichick.   It is more rooted in jealousy than an actual reason to hate the guy.  Sure, he is not exactly warm and cuddly.  He is an old-school, defensive-minded, strong-willed, aggressive coach.  But he has made it work for him.

According to, Saban was named the LSU coach on November 30, 1999.  Many feel that LSU is always good for a minimum of 8 wins.  Much of that is due to Saban, though, as the program endured seven losing seasons in the 1990s prior to his arrival.  He led a quick turnaround, winning 8 games in his first season as coach.  8 is also the fewest number of games he ever won while at LSU.   In his 5 seasons at LSU, Saban went 48-16 and won a National Championship.  But he had an itch to scratch before he could cement himself as one best college football coaches of his generation.

Saban joined the Miami Dolphins and led the team to a 9-7 record in 2005.  Had the Dolphins signed Drew Brees instead of Dante Culpepper that offseason, there is a good chance Saban would still be in the NFL.  Saban and Co.

Jan 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reacts to a big play against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second quarter of the 2015 Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

chose Culpepper, the Dolphins went 6-10 in a year they were supposed to be in the playoff hunt, and Saban hightailed it to Tuscaloosa.

In Saban’s debut season of 2007, Alabama went 7-6.  This is the only time during Saban’s stint at Alabama that the Tide have failed to reach a doublt-digit win total in a season.  Even more impressive is that the Tide has lost 3 games only once.   Every other season has seen the Tide with 2 or fewer losses, all adding up to Saban’s 91-17 record in 8 years with Alabama.

In those 8 years, Saban was won 3 National Championships and 3 SEC Championships.   It is important to note that while he has captured the same number of national and conference championships at Alabama, they did not allhappen in the same year.   When Alabama won the 2011 National Championship, they had to beat SEC Champion LSU to do it.

While at Alabama, Saban has also coached 21 Consensus All-Americans (insane) and won 6 Coach of the Year Awards.  None of those awards came after 2009, which is also insane (but in a negative way).  Should he be punished for building a great program?

There is no reason to ramble here.  Nick Saban has dominated college football as long as he has been a part of it.

Next: The Case Against Saban