A tip of the cap to Billy Squier for providing the theme for this morning’s Nick Saban update. (Not so much for this.) Once more Jimmy Sexton has his man at the intersection of Speculation Street and Big Money Boulevard. Saban — who’s joked that he’s too old to move again — is most definitely the man University of Texas officials want to move again as Mack Brown finally walks away from the Longhorns’ job.
You remember Brown. He’s the man who a couple of weeks ago said he didn’t have to worry about his buddy, Saban, taking his job. Now it appears his job will indeed be up for grabs and Saban might actually be the man to catch it.
Tuesday was Rumor Day from Austin to Tuscaloosa. First, Brown was out, then in, then he was on the verge of being out before sources last night finally said, “No, really, he’s out but it’s gonna be on his schedule.” Websites written by hopeful Texas fans penciled in Saban as his definite successor.
But while that was going on, stories from Alabama proclaimed that Saban and Bama officials were hammering out an extension that might pay him $7 million per season (which is still less than what he’s worth to the school’s bottom line and ego). Hopeful Tide fans then took to their own websites to announce that their coach’s extension was already dunzo. (Why UA didn’t just go ahead and announce it if that were the case… well, they didn’t really get into all of that.)
But wait, there’s more. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com deduced that someone in Camp Saban might have leaked the $7 million a year story to ex-Cowboys official Gil Brandt — Gil Brandt? — in order to draw the interest of serial over-spender Daniel Snyder, the owner of the NFL’s Washington Redskins.
So where do things stand currently? Your guess is as good as anyone not named Saban or Sexton.
If Saban has a contract on his desk — as Paul Finebaum has reported on ESPN Radio — why hasn’t he signed it? And if Texas folks aren’t sure they can land Saban, why give Mack the knife?
Best guesses: Saban hasn’t signed his new pact because he and his agent know that you only sign a new deal when you’ve milked every last cent out of every bit of leverage that you have. That means the Texas job. That means the Redskins’ job. That means any other job that might come open ASAP, too.
Also, yes, Texas officials are probably quite sure that Saban will listen to their proposal — you can bet Sexton has reiterated that point to them this week — and their self-confidence has them believing they can close the deal.
But we still don’t believe Saban will leave Tuscaloosa.
Yeah, we know, there are pressures at Bama and the coach just had his threepeat blocked by Auburn, of all schools. So maybe it’s feeling like splittin’ time.
But a move to Texas will come with just as many pressures. If Saban thinks he’ll get more love in Austin — or that students won’t have to be told to stick around for a full 60 minutes each Saturday — he needs to do a bit more thinking. There are no grace periods in college athletics any longer, especially if you’re viewed as a miracle worker. Saban is. And Texas has high expectations
Would he move for money? It’s hard to imagine the University of Alabama being outspent, even by Texas.
Is the man who told “60 Minutes” this fall that he still regrets his Bama denials while coaching the Miami Dolphins really ready to be called a liar all over again?
We say no.
But check back every 15 minutes just in case.