Alabama Football: Will Nick Saban ever lose to a former assistant?

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Nick Saban has never lost to a former assistant while he has been the coach at Alabama football. Will he ever lose to someone from his staff?

Part of Nick Saban’s success at Alabama football has been due to his amazing assistant coaches. With his multiple championships and accolades across college football, inferior schools have been desperate to learn his ways. One way they do that is by poaching the Crimson Tide’s assistant coaches at the end of the year.

You cannot blame the coaches for taking these jobs. They have great opportunities to further their careers as they become head coaches. However, part of that job description includes being compared to Nick Saban, the greatest coach of all time, in everything you do. You have to recruit like Saban, coach defense like Saban, and win like Saban.

Although you can get a great imitator, you can never beat the original. That has proven to be true over Saban’s tenure. As of now, Nick Saban is 19-0 against his former assistants. Some of his opponents include Jimbo Fisher, Kirby Smart, Jeremy Pruitt, and Will Muschamp. This breeds the question: will Nick Saban ever lose to a former assistant?

He’s bound to get plenty of opportunities against his assistants over the years. The SEC has become Saban assistant central, with 5 of the 13 other teams in the conference having a Saban assistant as the head coach. There are also Saban assistants in charge of Oregon and Maryland. These teams aren’t scheduled to play the Crimson Tide, but anything can happen in the postseason.

This year, Saban is slated to play against four of the five SEC assistants. He will be favored to win in all of these games, but he has some tough opponents. Texas A&M is a trending pick to be a dark horse in the SEC West, and Jimbo Fisher would love to be the first assistant to take down Saban. Before they play, Kirby Smart will get his third crack at the king. Smart has had a significant lead in his first two attempts, but backup quarterbacks have continued to be his downfall. If the record stays for long enough, perhaps Jeremy Pruitt can recruit a team worthy of smoking cigars in October.

A wildcard candidate is Lane Kiffin. Kiffin can create a great offense, but he hasn’t proven himself as a Power 5 head coach just yet. Most of his tenures have been failures. Kiffin hasn’t played Saban after being his assistant, but he almost beat him in 2009 as the head coach of Tennessee. Terrence Cody saved the day on that occasion. Kiffin has it in him to cause an upset, but there is no reason to believe that day will come in 2020.

So, will any of these coaches ever beat Nick Saban? I’d say no. Nick Saban won’t be coaching for an incredibly long time, and Alabama football is still clearly better than all of these teams. Smart is going to have a great chance to be the first, but I like Alabama to win that game this season. If any of these teams were to beat the Crimson Tide, it would be in an upset fashion, and Nick Saban rarely gets upset.

Next. What will Tide do after Nick Saban?. dark

Alabama football’s reign will come to an end some day. However, this is not the end for Nick Saban beating his former assistants. If anything, it is the beginning.