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.