Random Thoughts From Around the Country: The Silly Season

He's Staying. - Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

They don't call it "The Silly Season" for nothing.

This past week plus has been a real eye-opener to this observer. I knew that there were people out there that don't like Alabama but some of the malicious venom that spewed from the mouths of certain media members was a bit shocking. These people continue to try and paint Coach Nick Saban as some kind of monster and it confounds me.

I first noticed Saban when he was at Michigan State. Anyone who beats Notre Dame every year (3-0 at MSU) is okay in my book. In 1998, he took the Spartans into Columbus, Ohio and upset the top-ranked Buckeyes 28-24. It was Ohio State's only loss that year and kept them below Tennessee and FSU in the rankings. This win put Saban on my permanent radar.

When he moved on to LSU, he was 4-1 against the Tide but I do not recall hating him the way some fans do today. A bit of begrudging respect maybe but certainly not hate.

Twitter was launched in 2006 and social media was just starting to explode about the time Mal Moore first dialed up Saban in Miami. As I recall, reporters would absolutely hound him on a daily basis about whether he would be taking the job at Alabama. As you probably know by now, Saban is not a fan of the press and one day out of sheer frustration he said he was not going to Alabama. And at the time that was the truth as he saw it. Because of this, some sad folks out there want to label him a "liar". It's a tag which is hateful, hurtful, and a bunch of malarkey.

I have never understood why Dolphins fans were and still are upset about Nick Saban leaving after two seasons. He was 15-17 and the Fins went 11–5 two seasons later and won the division title. So, what is the big deal? Bobby Petrino left the Falcons after 13 games and he did not get a tenth of the grief Saban did.

I have always had utmost respect for Nick Saban and how he runs The Process® and always will. Long Live Saban.


As we have come to understand, Saban was never interested in taking the Texas job. He told ESPN.com's Chris Low on Saturday. "I never considered going to Texas. That wasn't even a conversation."

I may not always be right but if you will pardon me a moment as I egotistically quote myself from last week's RTFATC:

What Bevo does not seem to realize is that Alabama alumni and boosters have DEEP pockets. Some may look down on us as a bunch of rednecks in trailer parks but they would be mistaken. Along with the University, they will do whatever it takes to keep Saban at the Capstone. U of A Chancellor Robert Witt said it himself that hiring Saban was "the best financial investment" the university ever made. He is not going to let that get away.

There are reports that Alabama is in negotiations with Saban for a contract extension that would be in the $7 million-per-year range.

The extension negotiations had started several weeks ago. It had nothing to do with the Longhorns courting attempts which turned out to be a one-way conversation. I can't blame Texas for trying. I actually respect it. One of these days, Saban will retire and I expect the University of Alabama to approach the very best candidates they can regardless of how entrenched they may seem to be and work their way down.
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As for Texas, in yet another twist Mack Brown will resign after all. The reports are that Brown wanted to go out on his terms but the media and social media leaked it and started up the rumor maelstrom. The whole thing infuriated him. As it turns out, Brown will step down after the Longhorns lose to Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.

Although he wanted to stay on as coach, Brown will be the one in this soap opera who will retain his dignity. The University of Texas is the one with a whiff of a wet dumpster on a hot summer day. Don't be surprised if a few big names turn down the job. The money might be amazing but there will be a lot of headaches being the head man at Texas.

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RED WOLVES COACH HUNTING... AGAIN!

Poor Arkansas State cannot seem to hang on to head coaches in recent years. In 2014, the Red Wolves will have their fifth head man in as many years:

2002-2010: Steve Roberts (45-63) - resigned after back-to-back 4-8 seasons.
2011 Hugh Freeze (10-2) - Ole Miss
2012: Gus Malzahn (10-3) - Auburn
2013: Bryan Harsin (7-5) - Boise State
2014: ?

~~~~

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NAVY 34 ARMY 7

On a bitter cold snowy day in Philadelphia, the Naval Academy defeated United States Military Academy on both sides of the line. The Midshipmen (8-4) were clearly the better squad.

Navy will now play in the Middle Tennessee State In The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on December 30th.

Army will be going back to the drawing board which may include firing coach Rich Ellerson. In five seasons, he has gone 20-41 with only 8 wins in the last three seasons. That is one tough coaching job. In the last 18 seasons, there has been one winning campaign (7-6 in 2010). The Naval Academy and Air Force Academy have some sex appeal. But it is a hard sell to get these young men to commit to a career in the Army. I have to wonder about the future of Army football at the FBS (I-A) level.

NAME OF THE WEEK
A senior for the Navy Midshipmen from Kaneohe, Hawai'i is named Wave Ryder. The 6-2/207 lbs safety had 51 tackles, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery in 2013 and I am guessing he is a heck of a surfer.

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80 teams became eligible for one of the 70 bowl openings. The ten left out (mostly with 6-6 records) are South Alabama, Troy, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas State, Toledo, Central Michigan, San Jose State, UTSA, WKU and FAU! 46 teams including Penn State (probation) were not bowl eligible this season. Among those not able to muster 6 wins: Tennessee, Florida, and Northwestern who started 4-0 ranked #16 and reeled off seven straight losses.

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Saturday, December 21:
New Mexico Bowl: Washington State vs. Colorado StateESPN 1pm/2pm - The Pirate vs. McElwain.
Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State vs. Southern CaliforniaABC 2:30pm/3:30pm - Your one chance to see Derek Carr.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Buffalo vs. San Diego StateESPN 4:30pm/5:30pm - yawn.
New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. TulaneESPN 8pm/9pm - terrible.

Monday, December 23:
Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl: East Carolina vs. OhioESPN 1pm/2pm - no thanks.

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