College football reality checks can be deflating and enlightening

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Is the NIL world defining a new college football reality? To the extent it is, what that reality will become is unclear.

There are other more discernable college football realities. Not all are ‘crystal’ clear, but they paint strong enough images to carry obvious meanings. Those meanings can exhilarate fans, but they can also be rude awakenings of a program’s weaknesses and failings.

In no specific order, some college football realities are discussed below. A clear look at the most sobering, if not deflating ones must include Alabama football.

College Football Realities

  • Nick Saban cannot coach forever. Lane Kiffin recently said Nick Saban will never retire. Lane did not mean that literally. Instead, it was a statement that with NIL and CFB free agency, Nick Saban will continue to dominate college football. The headline-seeking Kiffin also said the GOAT might “double his championships” because, in the new CFB world, the Crimson Tide will gain the greatest benefit. If only Lane was ‘literally’ correct. Alas, nothing, even Nick Saban lasts forever.
  • A sobering appendage goes with the above reality. The same people at Alabama who hired Nick Saban also hired Mike Price. That smart and accomplished group each time sought what they believed was best for the University of Alabama. They could not have been more right in hiring Saban and more wrong hiring Mike Price. The post-Saban Alabama football world has no guarantees.
  • Texas A&M is not an elite college football program. What their NIL collective is or is not doing in buying players will become relevant based on the program’s wins and losses. In a similar vein, how much Jimbo Fisher is or is not lying does not matter in the short term. His success or failure will also be measured by wins, losses and championships. For the Aggies, the lack of a future championship is portended by their history. The most recent of A&M’s three claimed National Championships happened in 1939. One in 1927 is not acknowledged by the NCAA. The other in 1919 was shared with three other teams.
  • The Pac 12 is not a home for top college football programs. Lincoln Riley may or may not be a great coach, but he will not save the Pac 12. The PAC was 9-32 against FBS teams last season. There was a win over Ohio State, but the others were Hawaii (twice), Fresno State, San Jose State, LSU, UNLV, Arkansas State and Vanderbilt.
  • Auburn can and likely will run off Bryan Harsin and AD, Alan Greene. Their exits will not make the Auburn football program something it is not. In the last 11 seasons, the Tigers have won 10 or more games twice. In four of those seasons, they failed to win eight games. Auburn has a good, but far from a great football program. One probable reason NIL will not change that, is the presumed cost for Bruce Pearl to rebuild his roster every season.

Next. SEC Football Coaching Hot Seats. dark

In the context of the Hot Seat post linked above, one more college football reality – a new coach better win in year two. If he doesn’t, many will not make it to year three.