Now that the regular season is officially over, the SEC championship game has been played, the Heisman finalists have been announced and post season awards are beginning to trickle in, I'd like to take a moment to discuss some question marks surrounding the program and briefly review what was a somewhat disappointing 11-1 season.
Like it or not, there are still more than a few questions regarding Nick Saban's future at Alabama. I said in passing last week that if there wasn't an immediate announcement on Mack Brown's job, expect rumors to continue to grow about Saban possibly leaving Alabama for Texas.
Shocker, I was actually right.
In reaction to reports from a random Oklahoma sports site that Saban to Texas was a done deal, last Friday TideSports reported that Saban agreed on an extension with Alabama for an unknown salary increase. Nothing has been reported about this "deal" since.
Then of course yesterday Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated posted this interesting tweet:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Just bumped into Mack Brown in NYC: "You had me fired after the KState game," he said. Then he added, "I have no comment."</p>— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) <a href="https://twitter.com/SIPeteThamel/statuses/410204314184187904">December 10, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Fuel, meet Fire.
Also, twitter was all a buzz yesterday and this morning tracking flights from Tuscaloosa to Austin. What does all this mean? Nothing and possibly everything.
I understand sports media pundits are paid to have an opinion but that doesn't mean we should pay attention. No one, outside of Saban and Mrs. Terry, has any clue what Nick Saban is thinking. He has said he's staying put but there's enough noise out there to give us all pause. To firmly state what will happen seems to me like reaching and internet grandstanding.
Want my advice? Alabama fans should start to prepare themselves for the mere possibility that our beloved coach might just end up in Austin, TX. I am not spreading rumors, or validating them and this is not satire, I just want us all to prepare for what might happen.
And as I type this, Saban is currently in Ohio on a recruiting visit...That said...
Does Nick Saban have a Malzhan problem?
Remember when Chris Brown asked the question "Does Nick Saban have a Manziel problem?" Well, expect a similar long form article regarding Malzhan coming in the off-season.
Before the Iron Bowl, no one was questioning Nick Saban. The team was undefeated and outside of a 4th quarter meltdown against A&M, his team had done what it needed to do to place itself in a position for its third consecutive championship. After a few questionable calls that didn't go his way, the internet world, including many Alabama fans, have started to question Nick Saban's ability to adjust.
Should we go to a 4-3 defense? Should we get smaller defensive tackles? NO we need larger ones. Nick Saban can't win in November. Does the Process work?
I've heard them all. Again, before the Iron Bowl, Nick Saban was considered the best coach in college football and a single loss doesn't change that. Coach Saban doesn't have a Malzhan or a Manziel problem. Maybe he has a problem with players and coaches that have M's, Z's, L's and A's in their name?
11-1 is a disappointment!! PAAWWL
Alabama was a few plays away from playing for its third consecutive national title. How many programs can say that? Only a hand full. We all saw Missouri last Saturday night and no argument will convince me that Alabama would not have beaten that team. Defeating FSU is a different story but I'm positive, had Alabama not lost to Auburn, Pasadena was inevitable.
That makes for a tough pill to swallow. Being that close to destiny and coming up a second short hurts. But make no mistake, 2013 was not a disappointing season. Frustrating? Puzzling? Maybe but how can you be disappointed with 11-1? (Note: Alabama went 11-1 in 2011)
There's a very real possibility that Alabama could end the season 12-1 and a Sugar Bowl victor. Yes, Alabama is now a program that expects to win championships every year but Alabama will not, and cannot, win every game it plays. At some point a loss will happen. It's how the team responds to adversity that echos an eternity. #Gladiator'd
In 2013, the loss to Auburn cost us everything. Hopefully, the team builds off that disappointment and uses it as motivation for 2014.