What the Deuce: New Year...Same Nick Saban

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Year...Same Nick Saban

The New Year inevitably prompts ridiculous resolutions (finding true love) that end up badly (sleeping with an ugly chic after too many beers). In this spirit, I started 2007 with great ambitions that have already fallen to the wayside like the single shoe so often seen on the shoulder of a highway.

I really do enjoy writing and I started this blog for two reasons. First, it allowed me to get out my frustration, stemming from Michigan football, constructively. Second, it gave me the opportunity to write in a way that wasn't diary-ish (exactly what I'm doing here, but give me a sec). So on December 31st, I said to The Editor, that I resolved to write more...even if it meant writing one sentence about what happened in the sports world that day - something reminiscint of Doogie Howser's musings on his PC after getting into a fight with Vinny. Well, today is January 4 and my last post was November 6. Although many things happened in the first three days of 2007, What the Deuce remained silent. I'm going to take a Mulligan and start my overly ambitious resolution today. Let's see how long it lasts.

Midweek Recap: Here is what I intended to write about during the past three days.

January 1, 2007: Rutgers big win against K-State (watched the game with The Editor and her family, including RURon, The Veep, and Beast Nose).

January 2, 2007: USC's dominance of Michigan in the Rose Bowl. More on this later.

January 3, 2007: Nick Saban accepts the Alabama job and "Dol-fans" (very clever, by the way) feel like a woman with 2 kids who just found out her husband was leaving her for someone with fake boobs.

January 4, 2007: Yesterday I was reminded that it has been an unusual year and half in Miami when it comes to head coaches. Beginning in November 2005, Miami based teams have experienced 5 head coaching changes, temporary or permanent. First, Riles took over for an "exhausted" Stan Van Gundy. Next, first year manager Joe Girardi was let go because of personal differences with management. This was followed by Larry Coker being dismissed but still coaching the 'Canes in their bowl game. On the heels of Saban to Alabama, Heat fans were told that Riles was taking a leave and Ron Rothstein, who once sported a perm, would be the Heat's interm coach. Of course, after pointing this out, Dan LeBetard promptly went on to bashing Saban and his decision to leave the Dolphins.

Today, it's been worse. Joe Rose, the morning guy, upon finding out that Saban cited his wife's unhappiness in Miami as a factor in his decision, took the obvious cheap shots which basically questioned Saban's manhood. LeBetard took a step further, displaying his lack of wit and laziness by stereotyping Tuscaloosa as a redneck outpost. Very, very original. Not surprising for a guy who still takes shots at Detroit for riots that happened over 20 years ago.

While the Miami fans have the right to gripe about how Saban handled the situation, it's illogical for them to be angry that he left. First, Saban is a nomad and this is a well known fact. Knowing this, the Dolphins gave him total control of football operations while failing to limit his mobility. They should be faulted even more for this, knowing that coaches regularly break contracts to pursue bigger and better jobs. I don't know the specifics of his agreement with the Dolphins, but they could have made it more difficult for him to up and leave. Second, fans are delusional to think they wouldn't have done the same. Saban is getting $32MM guaranteed in a job that guarantees at minimum 6 wins a year. He can recruit, not worry about salary caps and disgruntled players. Simply, he can micromanage to his heart's content. Putting those elements together, is there any question that when his name became linked to the job he wasn't leaving? Lastly, can you really fault him for taking a better job? Yes, it's college and not the NFL, but the money is more. If you were given an opportunity that was personally better for you, wouldn't you take it? That's the case here and that's what Saban did.

Maybe I'm not a true sports fan or maybe I'm jaded. I've seen too many players leave my favorite teams to understand sports are a business like any other industry. When Larry Brown left the Pistons, I wasn't surprised. He's Larry Brown. When Ben Wallace left for more money, I was sad. But I wasn't surprised. He's a 32 year old center signing his last NBA contract. Saban going to the Crimson Tide was simply Saban being himself. If you're surprised, you're probably the kind of guy who marries the girl who is known for cheating thinking that your marriage will actually last "till death do you part."


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