Happy Tuesday, everyone.
As you well know, softball was eliminated from the WCWS after looking like the odds on favorite headed into the semifinal round. Montana Fouts was in tears after the game. For whatever reason she just didn’t have her stuff last night and ended up with her worst line of the season, Still, her future is bright.
She struck out just enough batters last night to finish as the leader with 349 in only 213 innings. For some perspective, the two pitchers who finished second and third in Ks, Keely Rochard of VT with 348 and Gabbie Plain of Washington with 337, threw a respective 244 and 237 innings. Fouts was the most dominant pitcher in the sport this year and it wasn’t particularly close. Hopefully they can find some more bats to go along with what will likely be the best pitching staff next season.
The big news of the day was Nick Saban’s extension, through age 78.
“Coach Saban is the best college football coach in the nation and one of the greatest coaches of all time in any sport, and we are extremely fortunate that he has agreed to another contract extension at Alabama,” athletic director Greg Byrne said. “... Not only has the impact been felt here at the university, but throughout the community and the state thanks to all he and Ms. Terry have done through the Nick’s Kids Foundation and beyond. They are incredible people, and we are very thankful to have them around for many years to come.”
Since arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2007, Nick and Terry Saban have raised nearly $10 million for charitable causes through the Nick’s Kids Foundation. Following the devastating 2011 tornado, they teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild a total of 13 homes and have added a house for each of the Tide’s five national titles since for a total of 18 houses.
What is Saban actually worth to Alabama? To figure that out, we can start with the six national titles and seven SEC titles he has won since he’s been at the school. That success alone entitles him to be the nation’s highest-paid coach. Since Saban started at Alabama in 2007, only two other coaches, Urban Meyer (Florida in 2008 and Ohio State in 2014) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson in 2016 and 2018), have won multiple national titles. No one is in Saban’s league, though Swinney ($8.3 million in 2020) and LSU’s Ed Orgeron ($8.9 million in 2020 for the 2019 national title coach) come close financially. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh ($8 million in 2020) came close, but he has since agreed to a pay cut that slashes his salary in half and only allows him to reach the old figure by meeting some difficult-to-attain bonus thresholds.
So from a football standpoint, Saban is correctly the highest-paid coach. Yet given his accomplishments relative to his colleagues, the gap shouldn’t be as narrow as it is. He probably should make twice what the second-highest-paid coach makes, but because he really has no peer, Alabama only has to beat what the other schools pay.
He certainly shows no signs of slowing down, but it’s still hard to believe he will coach that long. I put the over/under on retirement at 75. Of course, I said the same thing about 65 years ago when his work ethic seemed unsustainable. He still works hard but has mastered the art of delegation in his later years, and has mellowed a bit.
Not much else going on today, but we’ll close with this Pete Thamel piece on looming playoff expansion.
Yahoo Sports spoke to more than a dozen stakeholders Monday on every side of the playoff decision – university officials, athletic directors, media executives and others around college sports. Amid those conversations, a surprise emerged — officials on campuses, in conference offices and in the television world have expressed an openness toward a 12-team playoff as the most likely result.
While it’s unfair to say momentum has built toward a 12-team playoff before models have been presented to the commissioners or presidents, the 12-team model has emerged as the favored outcome over the eight-team playoff within the industry.
“The reason that you go to 12 is because you can develop the road of least resistance toward a good result,” said a high-ranking college official with knowledge of the process.
I am staunchly against playoff expansion, but if it has to happen I’d probably prefer 12 to 8. That way the four teams who would have made it anyway get a bye week advantage and the other 8 have to prove they belong. Of course, that adds yet another round to the playoffs which may be a tough sell to school presidents. We shall see.
That’s about it for now. Have a great day.