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Saban Says The Media Should Respect Western Kentucky (For The Good Of His Team)

Nick Saban might be the best coach in the country — he is — but his lectures to the media sometimes go a bit too far.  Take yesterday’s, for example.  Alabama’s coach made it known that he isn’t happy with writers and talking heads disrespecting Alabama’s next foe, Western Kentucky.

Saban, of course, doesn’t want his team to get the proverbial big head and stub its big toe as a result.  So in Saban World, it’s the media’s job to talk up even the creamiest of creampuffs.

It’s Alabama versus Western Kentucky and he expects people to talk up the Hilltoppers?  Really?

After commenting about how football is a tough game that must be embraced everyday and how his players must improve everyday, the Tide coach then said this:


“I hate to be negative with anybody, but when you people start writing stuff about people that we’re playing that doesn’t give them the proper respect… I mean, that’s not fair.  It’s not fair to them.  To their players who work hard to earn it.  It’s not fair to our players who need to respect them.

And to make presumptions like you all make, really upsets me.  It really does.  And so unfair.  You don’t need to write about that.  There’s so many more good things you can write about happening around here that people would be interested in.  I’d love to see some of you do a little bit of research and figure it out.  It’d really do my heart good.”


Well, as a guy who likes Saban — I truly think he’s the best coach in any college sport, bar none — I did some research in order to do his heart some good.  Here’s what I found:

* Alabama won last year’s BCS title, just clobbered #8 Michigan 41-14 and quickly jumped to the top of this year’s polls.

* Western Kentucky beat Austin Peay last week 49-10.  But the Hilltoppers have been playing FBS football since 2008.

* Alabama claims to have won about 123 national titles counting any and every poll ever produced by humans, computers, vegetables or minerals.

* Western Kentucky’s last conference championship came in 2002 when the school won the FCS-level Gateway Football Conference. Yep, the good ol’ GFC.

* Since 2008, WKU is 0-6 versus SEC opponents.  Combined score from those games: SEC teams 264, WKU 57.  (That’s a 44-10 score if you round up for the Hilltoppers.)

* In contrast, Alabama is 28-4 versus SEC foes since 2008.


That research suggests that top-ranked Alabama is going to crush Western Kentucky like a cartoon anvil crushes Wile E. Coyote.

More importantly, it’s not the media’s job to talk up Bama’s foes for the good of Saban’s team.  Stop disrespecting WKU?  Okay, that sounds nice, but Saban wouldn’t have complained about that if he weren’t worried about his own team taking care of its “process.”  After all, he did clearly state: “It’s not fair to our players who need to respect them.”

That’s the coach’s job, not the print media’s.  If Saban and the University of Alabama would like to put some of those folks on the payroll, then maybe they’d be obliged to pump out whatever kinds of “WKU is a real tough foe” stories Saban wants pumped.  Until then, the writers are just doing their job.  And like everyone else who watches college sports — including Crimson Tide fans — the media members in the Yellowhammer State seem to think that Alabama is going to roll all over a smaller foe from a smaller conference.

Saban is a sharp man.  He knows that his players will read/hear about his talk and you can be sure he hopes they heed his warning — Gotta get better, can’t let up, gotta take the Hilltoppers seriously.  But to suggest the writers are out of line for predicting a big Bama win?  Please.

And I notice he didn’t light into Bama fans who feel the exact same way as all those writers.



I am a Bama fan but For the record I follow all of the FBS teams as close as I can..its not like they are playing Savannah State or some obscure team. WKU is actually a pretty good team that actually finished second in conference and played a #1 ranked LSU team very well last year, and most people pick them to beat UK and USM and to be a bowl team. I think his point was to say that we are playing a better team than people realize without doing research. Its a big difference in between playing at WKU than a Fla Atlantic or a Western my opinion.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator





I agree WKU is better than Savannah State.  However, Alabama is better than Kentucky, a team you mentioned as a potential WKU take-down.  


If Kentucky were hosting WKU this week, then I think you WOULD be seeing stories about how dangerous the Hilltoppers are.  But you're just not going to get that when they're going up against a team that looks like it could contend in some NFL divisions.


Thanks for reading,



Come on, John.  I know Saban had ulterior motives.  I would be a fool to miss that.  However, are you really going to criticize the most powerful coach in sports for taking up for the little guy?  For asking for some respect for his opponent?  Watch the Michigan game.  Notice how many times an Alabama player helped pull a Wolverine off the turf or patted them on the helmet.  This has been going on for several years.  No one dances over a player rolling on the turf in pain (it may happen tomorrow, but...).  What if a coach were subtly, systematically trying to instill respect for opposing teams into his players?  Would we criticize him for trumpeting it to the world, or would we respect him for not blowing his own horn?  Saban is not the kind of guy to broadcast the good he does.  He has flaws, but he is not all Darth Vader.  Arrests are down, players behave with respect, and yet all anyone wants to say is what a jerk Saban is.  When asked what impressed him about Alabama, Cooper Bateman said that all of the players removed their hats before speaking to his mom.  How much of that goes on unreported every day?  Sure, Western Kentucky is an underdog, but they lifted weights and ran all summer, too.


You do a great job.  I always enjoy the website.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



I don't think what I wrote was a very strong "criticism" of Saban.  It wasn't meant to be, anyway.  I was simply stating that Alabama's coach shouldn't expect the media to talk up Western Kentucky just so his team will give them more respect.  That won't happen and it's not the Alabama media's job.  I'm sure the folks in Bowling Green, Kentucky are writing plenty about WKU's athletes who do indeed work their rears off.


Here's the other part of this that I didn't even get into above... if the media in Alabama did talk up Western Kentucky, many of their readers and listeners would rip them for talking up an inferior foe and some would even accuse them of hoping that said foe upset Alabama.  I say this because I have lived through this.  I've talked up little guys and warned of the "any given Saturday" scenario only to have fans of School X call me "negative" and a "hater" and an "idiot" to suggest that David could somehow knock off Goliath.  


It's a no-win situation for the writers... and I think it's a little silly for a coach to expect the media to spend much time at all writing about what everyone assumes will be a cupcake foe.


But I didn't mean for it be taken as some sort of tirade, rant or deep criticism of a coach who's simply saying something in order to make a point with his team.


Thanks for reading the site.


All the best,



 @John at MrSEC

I am certainly not defending Saban.  You are right in saying that he sometimes belittles the media for silly stuff.  They are often caught in the middle.  No disrespect. 


Just giving credit where it is due.

SEC fan
SEC fan

 @John at MrSEC  @I4Bama

 God forbid anyone criticizes Saban.  It is pretty clear the Alabama media doesn't dare cross him or not do what he says.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator



None taken.  That's one of the problems with comments online... no inflections.


Again, thanks for stopping by,



I see your point but the JoeBob Wantabees of this world get so wrapped up in the talent aspect  of the game that they ignore the part that preparation, planning and pure effort play and they tend to ignore anybody not blessed with an over abundance of talent.


I get that people get their egos wrapped up in their teams and their sense of self gets tied to the success or failure of their teams to the point that they interject their arrogance upon their teams to the point that anyone else is substandard.  The part that doesn't seem to occur to them is that their own teams success is tied to their own preparation, planing and pure effort too.


Ignoring another teams chance of success is not only insulting to the other teams work ethic but to the fan's team as well.  


Beating someone who has no chance is to have accomplished little, beating someone who has no chance and still treating them as equals is something that only the best of us can do.




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