By Shane from Centerpoint
Coming off of an SEC championship game appearance last year, the 2008 college football season was supposed to be a big year for Tennessee and Coach Phil Fulmer. Meanwhile, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden – with his team (pre-season) ranked inside the top ten – was optimistic about his chances for great success as well. That was merely the calm before the storm â€“ a storm named Nick Saban. The cloud of doom left hanging over each manâ€™s program after being embarrassed on the field by Sabanâ€™s Tide sealed their fate.
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden was an innocent victim. He had no idea when the game was originally scheduled that he would face a team totally converted to the â€œSaban Wayâ€. Bowdenâ€™s team had no chance. Against the Crimson Tide Bowdenâ€™s players got beat down and pounded into the turf so hard they still havenâ€™t recovered. The disastrous results of that game sparked a final verdict from the men who pay Bowden, and the hammer fell.
The demise of Phil Fulmer is much different. Fulmerâ€™s obscene obsession with Alabama consumed him and finally destroyed him. In fact he is indirectly responsible for putting Nick Saban in place at Alabama. His contribution to the chaos at the Capstone played a major role in the series of events that lead to Sabanâ€™s hiring. A few weeks ago, after Nick shellacked him for the second year in a row, the Tennessee football mafia decided to show Fulmer what Johnny Majors felt like those many years ago. Fulmer simply became the poster boy for the old saying, â€What goes around comes aroundâ€. Tennessee handed him his walking papers.
One good thing came out of the situation for both men â€“ they probably wonâ€™t have to face Nick Saban again.
Actually, there are three other coaches on Alabamaâ€™s schedule who stand to lose some credibility (or their job) by getting hammered by Saban.
First up is LSU head coach Les Miles. In spite of his insistence that the contest is all about the players, this game will greatly influence the perception of Milesâ€™ ability to coach. Right or wrong he will be compared and measured against Saban. If Nick (a gridiron god in Tiger land) goes into Baton Rouge and blows LSU out, Lester is bound to feel the wrath of those lunatic zealots who run the program.
Remember, Miles has never lost to the Tide. I donâ€™t believe a loss to Saban this year will create any serious activity behind the scenes, but a Bama victory combined with embarrassing defeats (giving up over 100 points combined) at the hands of Florida and Georgia might make the power boys start looking.
Secondly, Mississippi State front man Sylvester Croom needs something good to happen this season in order to keep the wolves from nipping at his heels. He hasnâ€™t done anything impressive (this season) to date. A big loss to the Tide would only enhance this yearâ€™s ugly resume for Croom.
The third coach on the docket is Alabamaâ€™s cross-state rival â€“ Auburn University head coach, Thomas Hawley Tuberville.
Tubervilleâ€™s life has essentially been a disaster since the day Nick Saban walked off the jet in Tuscaloosa. From Sabanâ€™s number one recruiting class to the complete failure of his dead â€œspread eagleâ€ offensive system, Tommyâ€™s future looks cloudy.
Adding to the turmoil is Tubervilleâ€™s strange, unhappy relationship with the people who write his check. That bad marriage has always created enormous pressure on the situation concerning Alabama.
In essence, due to the lousy coaching job Tubby has done this year, most people close to the program believe that he must beat Georgia and Alabama to stay at Auburn.
When all is said and done, the end of the 2008 college football season – which marks just the second year in Nick Sabanâ€™s tenure at Alabama – may end with a total of three established head football coaches from powerhouse schools looking for something else to do. Two are already confirmed with one more possibly on the horizon.
If Saban and his Crimson Tide keep this up every team in the SEC could have a new head coach within three years. If they arenâ€™t careful they might be labeled â€œcoach killersâ€.