With a national title just a few months in the rearview mirror and four crowns won in the past seven seasons, Nick Saban is the king of college football. But as he sits on the Iron Throne in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and bemoans about satellite camps and spring scrimmages, he sounds more like Joffrey Baratheon than the most feared and respected man in the sport.
Not a “Game of Thrones” fan? The King Joffrey Baratheon reference basically likens Saban to a sniveling, tantrum-throwing brat. I hope I survive this.
Why would I put myself in such a precarious position?
Saban spoke out about satellite camps again Wednesday, and he’s starting to sound ridiculous.
“I’m really not even thinking that it has that much value,” Saban told reporters, via AL.com. “What would be a more interesting question for you to research — and I can’t answer this — the teams that have done them, what value does it serve? How many players did they get? They had some players commit to them and some of those players de-committed, and I know they even wanted to drop some of those players when they found out they could get better players.”
The reason why Jim Harbaugh is bringing his Michigan staff down South – and to Texas and California – to hold camps is because that’s where the majority of the high-school talent plays. Saban can rhetorically ask how many players these camps are providing as actual recruits to Michigan, but he’s missing the point.
If Harbaugh doesn’t land a recruit at the camp, or because of it, he’s marketing the Wolverines to a group of people that rarely get to see and interact with Michigan football outside of TV viewing. It’s all about reaching out to markets outside of Ann Arbor, Mich.
If Saban doesn’t understand that, he should ask the Southeastern Conference why it expanded to Missouri and Texas.
If I had to guess, I would say Saban doesn’t hate satellite camps, he hates the potential threat they can bring of leveling the playing field.
Saban wants the recruiting rules to stay just like they are, or better yet were, before Harbaugh started pushing the envelope. Prior to all the hullabaloo about satellite camps, Saban ruled recruiting, his classes almost always ranked at or near the top in the country, which has allowed him to build a dynasty at Alabama.
While the idea of satellite camps was being pulverized by Saban, he did attempt to show a little forward thinking on another topic. After all, no one should consider him a fuddy-duddy.
Saban said if fans truly want to change Alabama’s annual spring game from an intrasquad scrimmage to a game against another team, he might think about the notion.
“Our players are here to get an education, but I’m not naive enough to think that we’re not in the entertainment business,” he said. “So sometimes when fans have interest in certain things, and things that create interest for fans, maybe that’s something that we should consider.”
Is Saban missing the boat here?
Why pander to the fan base and entertain it, yet come out so staunchly against a new recruiting tool that could benefit the school by putting Alabama in position for more national titles? Not only should the SEC stop fighting Harbaugh and his methods, Saban should start adopting them.
Saban took recruiting to a new level, winning at just about every twist and turn. There’s no reason to believe that even though Harbaugh has turned the recruiting process on its ear, Saban couldn’t recalculate and continue to dominate. Instead … he crosses his arms in defiance.
And all the while he stomps his foot on the ground refusing to budge, other schools, namely Michigan, are eating into his recruiting lead, and encroaching on his territory.