As we head into the weekend, I just thought I’d lead you on a stroll down memory lane. You’re going to enjoy this.
The date was August 11, 2007. Know the significance? Bet you Cary Estes, a Birmingham based contributor for MSNBC.com does.
See, almost three years ago (1,071 days to be exact, but who’s counting?) it was still hip to bash Alabama head coach Nick Saban and the University of Alabama, and on this date Estes wrote a piece about the hated coach and those “crazy Alabama fans” all gaga over their “overrated coach.”
He points out the significance of SEC juggernauts Steve Spurrier, Mark Richt, Phillip Fulmer and Tommy Tuberville, while tipping his hat to others like Jim Tressel, Lloyd Carr and (hee, hee) Mack Brown.
Test question: Who can tell me Saban’s collective record against these coaches while at Bama? And for extra credit, how many have already been processed?
According to Estes, Bama fans were crazy to pin their national championship hopes on a coach who…how did you say it Cary?
“…has won more than nine games in a season only twice.”
Might want to amend that number now, don’tcha think?
After all, let’s be reasonable, right Cary?
“Saban’s career record in 11 seasons as a college head coach is 91-42-1, meaning he has won 68 percent of his games.”
And now for my favorite quote in the entire piece:
“It is hard to imagine Alabama fans who are thinking national championship by year No. 3 being happy with 8-5.”
Dang, we’ll never know. But there’s more:
“What is questionable is whether his record indicates that he is worth all the hoopla and the moolah ($32 million over eight years).”
Well, let’s see Cary, in just three years here’s what Alabama head coach Nick Saban has accomplished:
- A meager 7-6 record in his first outing with a lower tier bowl game victory. Okay, I get that.
- But the #1 signing class in the country (2008).
- Year two: 12-2, undefeated regular season, SEC Western Conference Champions, SEC Championship game appearance (first for the Tide in 9 years), and an appearance in a BCS Bowl (Sugar)…again, their first in 9 seasons.
- Again, the #1 signing class in the country (2009).
- Year three: 14-0, undefeated regular season, Western Conference Champions, systematic dismantling of college football’s bionic man in the SEC Championship Game, SEC Champions, appearance in not just a BCS game, but the BCS National Championship game, and a victory in it at that. National Champs.
- Again, top five signing class (2010, and 2011’s is shaping up to be another #1).
So Cary, that’s 33-8 (an 80% winning percentage, since you like those things) in three years, two division titles and one conference and national title apiece.
Yep. I’d say he’s worth all the….how you say…”hooplah and moolah.”
My question now for Mr. Estes is, seeing that it takes a man to admit he was wrong, are you a man, Cary? Do you still think Saban was overrated?
In fairness, I’m just having a little fun with Mr. Estes. It’s easier to look back than to look ahead, and in truth Estes was just bowing to the peer pressure of the day. He found himself packed in the “Criticize everything Saban and Alabama” boxcar with the rest of the media. Looking back at his article is like reading a medical journal from the 1600’s.
It just amazes me how journalists can be so wrong and never acknowledge it. But Cary, if this makes it to you, if you’d like to publish a follow-up article on the matter, given what actually transpired in the last three years versus your fantasy, we would be happy to publish it here. Just send it to email@example.com.
In the meantime, don’t feel bad Cary. At least you know somebody was paying attention.