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Bama’s Saban Delivers A Preemptive Rant Against Preseason Predictions

Nick Saban doesn’t like it when people say his current team is trying to “defend” its national title.  We know this because he said the same thing in 2010 as his team tried to def — whoops — win another national crown after capturing the BCS trophy in 2009.

“There’s last year’s team and there’s this year’s team,” in Saban’s view, and never the two shall meet.

Well, Alabama’s coach isn’t a fan of preseason predictions/expections of any kind it seems.  Fair enough.  We think they’re kind of silly, too, though we all try to provide them.  But Saban dislikes them so much that he rants and rails against them.  Even before he being asked about them.  Now that’s a pretty strong dislike.

According to Don Kausler of, Saban worked himself into a froth yesterday and lit into the idea that anyone has any notion of how the 2012 season will play out.  Here’s how Kausler transcribed Saban’s opening statement (video can also be found via the link above).  And remember, not a question had been asked by the media when the Tide coach let loose:


“N0w I know you guys are going to have all these comparison questions and where are you ranked, and how many games are you going to win, and what’s going to make the biggest impact on the team?  You know, all these predictions that you all make.  They hijack the game, because all anybody worries about in college football is the BCS.  Who’s going to be in the final game?  Well, we’ve got a lot of great games for our fans, for our players.  Great competitive venues.  Michigan game’s going to be a great game.  Arkansas game.  Tennessee game.  LSU.  Auburn.  (Raising his voice.)  I could go through every game on our schedule and say how exciting a game it’s going to be.  And why do we play the games?  To answer the questions.

I don’t even know for sure who our quarterback’s going to be the sixth game of the year.  (Raising his voice again.)  And nobody here can predict that.  None of you can predict that.  AJ (McCarron) is a good quarterback, but there could be circumstances that don’t allow him to play in a game, and you all want me to predict that.  And then you go vote and have your polls and have all that, and then want me to respond to it.  And also to individual players, that I can’t make predictions about either.

Our focus is developing a synergy on our team that is the goal of our team, to be relentless competitors, to be a team nobody really want to play, by the effort, the toughness, the ability to be relentless and sustain for 60 minutes in the game, every play in the game like it has a history and a life of its own.  That’s why we have to condition and work, to get our players to buy in, believe in, have passion for, want to be, and all that.  That’s what our focus is right now.  That’s what we’re trying to do in camp.

With that, I guess you could ask me some of those questions…”


Three things stand out from all of that:


1.  I assure you no one in that room was going to ask Saban to predict his team’s final record in 2012.  Or who his starting quarterback would be in Game Six.  Guaranteed.  Oh, he might have been asked if the team’s preseason expectations are a nuisance… or how he thought Player X was coming along, but only the dumbest of the dumb would walk into press conference and ask a coach for a prediction on final records.  Especially when that coach is a known prediction-hater like Saban.

2.  By this point, it should be clear that Saban goes off in front of the press because he knows it will get back to his players.  He wants his public statements — repeated on the web, on TV, on the radio — to reinforce what he tells them every single day in practice.  Basically: Preseason predictions don’t mean a thing if you don’t play well.

3.  The above unprovoked, preemptive harangue only serves to make Saban’s opening and closing lines in the writers’ room at SEC Media Days even more laughable.  During that mid-July gathering, Bama’s coach thanked the assembled media for all that they do for college football.  Uh, yeah, coach.  Sure.  It’s obvious just how appreciative you are.



@sports180 not putting amateurs in bball until china doesn't medal in diving!


Aw you Guys! You almost, ALMOST, get it. It's just, right there, just outta reach for you even though you wrote it into your posting. #2 of your 3 points. Then you go on to provide #3 showing that you've gotten your panties in a wad.


Clearly, Saban DOES appreciate the media and the platform they provide for him to speak to his players. Clearly, he is appreciative of the opportunities the media provides for him to appear nationally to recruits and to present the Alabama program to those recruits in a manner that perhaps other institutions do not enjoy quite as often.


Is it that you guys in the media actually don't like being used (abused) by Saban in his relentless drive to recruit & teach the best players and constantly improve the program he leads?  Perhaps that explains why you had to add your #3 "thing (that) stand(s) out"


In any event, I do love MrSEC and what you guys do (most of the time). All I can say is you have a job to do and I know Saban doesn't make it easy for you or on you. Thank you, for what you do.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



You read #3 as if I'm MAD about what he said.  Oooooh, like Nick Saban has anyway sway over me.  I don't care what he say.  I was just pointing out -- as I did during Media Days -- that it's pretty funny for Saban to give a salute to the media, when everybody knows dealing with the media is his least favorite part of the job.


But talk about "you guys in the media" all you like.  You completely misread what was written.  


And I've written a million times that Saban is the best coach in college sports today.  So I don't hate him.  But I do think a preemptive rant is kind of silly in this case.  So I do think he has faults.  In other words, I'm objective.  Unlike yourself.


As usual, there's what I write... and there's how somebody else reads it through their own "everybody's out to insult my team/coach/school" lenses.


He thanked the media for all that they do in July... and then nuked exactly what the media does in August.  I thought that was funny and showed that his remark at Media Days was nice, but hardly heartfelt.


So it seems you didn't even ALMOST get it.


Try this: Go through one day without looking for insults.  You'll be amazed how few you'll actually find.  Not everyone hates Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, etc, etc, etc, etc...




Let me say this.  I hate Alabama from a sports perspective.  The campus was nice when I went to visit in HS and I'm sure the education is as good as any.  But, you gotta love Nick Saban.  I want to beat him every time we play.  Is he tough on his players? Of course.  But he has their backs when it counts and I'd want that in my corner any day.  I would have loved to play for him in college.  Again, hate Alabama sports, but respect the heck out of Saban.  I don't worship him though like Tide fans do. 


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    Just checking out your article on my new Samsung Phone , and I wanted to check if it would let me comment or if it was going to me go to a full pc to do that. Ill check back later to see if it worked.

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