Did anybody else enjoy Alabama coach Nick Saban’s Thanksgiving diatribe about the unreasonable expectations of Crimson Tide football fans?
You can tell a football coach is completely secure in his job — and if anyone is, it would be Saban and the six national championships he has delivered to Alabama — when he starts criticizing fans for being unhappy when their team wins almost all of its games, just not by a wide-enough margin to please the masses.
Saban really put it on the fans good, complaining that some of them seemed upset because Arkansas had taken the Tide to the wire a couple of days prior.
He said teams like Arkansas — and LSU, which had a down year; and Texas A&M, which upset Alabama a few weeks ago — are dangerous no matter what their record is.
“They’re competitors,” Saban said. “They have moms and dads. They have pride in performance. They have things that they want to accomplish and they want to do and they want to be good. They don’t just throw in the towel. They work harder to try to get better and everybody wants to beat us.
“We’re going to get everybody’s best game. I don’t know why people can’t understand that.”
He added: “You can say it’s not fair to our players that they get everybody’s best game, but they do. They have to be able to compete through that and play over that.
“When I came here, everybody was happy to win a game. Now we’re not happy to win a game anymore. We’re not happy to win a game at all. We think we should win games by whatever,” apparently meaning all victories should be easy ones.
Saban is absolutely right. Alabama will get everyone’s best game, and most of the teams they play have a lot of talented athletes who might get beaten but aren’t going to roll over and play dead.
To an extent, Alabama fans who might be stung by what Saban said can blame him. He’s the coach who has spoiled them with a level of success that has even exceeded the achievements of the legendary Bear Bryant.
Maybe Saban, the master strategist, had all this in mind last weekend when the Tide traveled to Auburn and came within a few seconds of having their championship aspirations unravel.
Had an Auburn running back stayed in bounds late in the game, it would have run 40 more seconds off the clock, making it that much more difficult for Alabama to drive the length of the field for the tying score.
The game went through four overtimes, with the Tide winning 24-22. Alabama is a 6-point underdog against Georgia this Saturday for the SEC championship, but even if the Tide loses, they’re likely to be one of four teams that advance to the College Football Playoff.
The Auburn game was a good lesson for all fans of successful sports teams who get upset when their guys don’t win big: Alabama’s 2-point victory was more than enough.
— Jack Ryan, McComb Enterprise-Journal