No Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa was no problem. Nick in Baton Rouge a big problem for LSU.
LSU Bengal Tiger fans used to love Nick Saban. That was long ago. A few LSU fans still give Saban begrudging respect. Most LSU fans would welcome him back in an instant. But they don’t love Nick any longer. Varying degrees of hate is the most accurate description.
Nick Saban is expected to join his 8-0, Alabama football team in travel to Baton Rouge on Friday. He also anticipated being on the sideline Saturday night. LSU head coach, Ed Orgeron, and some LSU players have said they are looking forward to the game. Looking forward to it being over is more likely.
LSU fans don’t share any enthusiasm about Saban and Alabama football in Baton Rouge. Nick carefully avoids negative or inflammatory comments about opponents. He has been saying good things about the Bengal Tigers this week. He said LSU has looked “exceptionally good” at times this season. In seasons past, when asked about the rancor of LSU fans, Nick has stated he and Miss Terry have good friends in Baton Rouge. None of those friends have the last name of Orgeron, Ensminger or Pelini.
In the locker room, after LSU beat the Crimson Tide last season, a pumped-up Ed Orgeron, erupted in an expletive accented, boast about his team’s dominance over the Crimson Tide.
"We’re going to beat [Alabama’s] ass in recruiting. We’re going to beat their ass every time they see us. You understand me?"
Most LSU fans evidently believed Coach O and the rapid reversal of LSU’s football fortunes has made them crazier than usual. A few LSU fans apparently celebrated Saban getting COVID. Others claimed the Crimson Tide program is ‘doctoring’ test results so Nick can coach this Saturday. All the nonsense is just another chapter in the old, football book, Hell hath no fury like a football fan scorned. Some LSU fans will never forgive Nick for leaving the Bengal Tigers for the Miami Dolphins. Many more will never forgive him for what he has done to LSU since he left the Dolphins.
Last season’s National Championship, including a Bryant-Denny victory, should have blunted the ill will toward Saban. It should have been redemptive for hate-filled fans. To the extent it was, all the redemption will disappear during a Crimson Tide beatdown Saturday night.
There is a revenge factor for the Crimson Tide. Last year, several LSU players were as loudly bold as their coach, claiming dominance over the Tide going forward. Alabama football players are expecting atonement Saturday night.
Credit Orgeron and the LSU program for last year’s success and the ability to frequently talk a good game. What separates the programs is not talent, it is the development of talent. That’s another reason LSU fans hate Nick Saban.