Alabama Football: An easy prediction about Nick Saban and the Iron Bowl.
Auburn fans are predictable when it comes to Nick Saban. A few are willing to acknowledge what a great coach Nick Saban is – others begrudgingly admit the same fact. Many others hate everything about Nick Saban.
Up until as late as the opening kickoff of the 85th Iron Bowl, Auburn faithful will wish Nick Saban a full recovery from COVID-19. That perspective will change when the Alabama Crimson Tide gets a double-digit lead in the game. That’s where the rock-solid prediction comes in.
As things turn from not good, to bad for the Tigers, message boards and social media will explode with Auburn fans. They will have much to say. What they will say most fervently will be an accusation Nick Saban is cheating. In violation of new NCAA rules, it will be claimed Nick Saban is ignoring a COVID-inspired mandate. As in, somehow coaching his football team, while isolated in his home.
NCAA rules do not allow remote coaching, beginning from 90 minutes ahead of a game, through the game’s conclusion. Unlike other COVID-driven changes this season, the NCAA rule on coaching games remotely has nothing to do with safety. Instead, the NCAA decided, an isolated or quarantined coach might gain an unfair advantage, unless the NCAA stepped in.
The concern is more laughable than when we suggested in July, a COVID-impacted Nick Saban might don a hazmat suit and coach from an otherwise empty, Bryant-Denny, coaches box. Although Reverend Freeze did coach from a hospital bed in a stadium box, we were joking about Saban and the hazmat suit.
As everyone knows, the NCAA has no sense of humor and too often no sense of fairness. Within the constraints of the NCAA rule, Saban will do all he can from home on Saturday. Mostly he will watch on a special video feed, allowing more field vision than a standard broadcast.
When the game turns sour for the Aubies, hordes of them will claim to know Saban has headset connection with every coach on his staff.
Saban said on Wednesday, the NCAA rules were being reviewed to learn how he might be able to positively impact his players. If there is a loophole the Crimson Tide staff will find it, but Nick Saban will not knowingly break an NCAA rule.
Auburn fans will not be able to accept their team losing by two touchdowns or more when Nick Saban could not coach the game. To accept it would acknowledge what they don’t want to believe. The Alabama Crimson Tide is a much better team than the Auburn Tigers.