Alabama Football: Supposed ‘battle’ between Kirby Smart and Nick Saban is nonsense

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Anything suggesting another coach is supplanting Nick Saban is lapped up across sports media in a giant slurp. The ‘battle’ between Kirby Smart and Nick Saban is an example.

Let’s be clear at the outset. All of us who compete for readers try to inject some sizzle into our stories to garner attention. Just writing about Nick Saban and Alabama football is not enough. Every story needs a quick ‘hook’ to capture readers. The only real disservice to readers is hackneyed themes.

The impending fall of Nick Saban is one of those themes. The most currently overworked of those themes is how Kirby Smart is taking down Nick Saban. This week, Joseph Goodman shoveled another load of balderdash by writing about the “battle” between Smart and Saban. In fairness to Goodman, who often does excellent work, it is the college football offseason and storylines are limited.

Even this counter-argument is a concession to the fact anything about Nick Saban attracts readers. However, this is an effort to clarify rather than confuse.

Nick Saban in a broad sense does “battle” other coaches. Mostly he beats them into submission. That is, his Alabama football teams beat most other teams in a historically dominating fashion. So, Nick battles Kirby, as he does Gus, Jimbo, Ed, Jeremy, along with new arrivals Lane Kiffin and Mike Leach and others. It is what coaches do. They also collaborate when they are not engaged in direct competition, but that is a different, and admittedly, less interesting story.

The latest blather about Nick and Kirby was fueled by the exit from Alabama to Georgia by Scott Cochran. Masterful flamethrower (and sometimes exceptional journalist) Paul Finebaum mostly started the conflagration. ‘Cochran to Georgia is the tipping point in a balance of power shift’ was the Finebaum contention. It was inciteful despite not being insightful.

Nick Saban, to his credit, pays no attention to such foolishness. Cochran wanted something Kirby was gladly willing to give him while Nick was not. Nick saw a chance to upgrade the Crimson Tide strength and conditioning program. Except for Nick Saban, everyone in Tuscaloosa can be replaced. The Crimson Tide ended up with a bigger win than the Bulldogs.

No offense to Mr. Goodman or Mr. Finebaum, but there was no battle. If it most be postured as such, Nick Saban won. What it was, was staff changes at two big-time college football programs. One run by the top CEO in the game. The other by a man who aspires to be great, but so far has failed at original thinking.

Next. Saban significantly upgrades Strength and Conditioning Program. dark

There will be a real battle in September in Tuscaloosa. Kirby Smart will try to not go 0-3 against Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.