Alabama fans will undoubtedly reject this comparison. After all, there are few college football figures of the last decade loathed more by Crimson Tide supporters. Still, even those named “Bryant” after the Bear can’t deny the uncanny similarity between Nick Saban and A.J. McCarron’s relationship and that of Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow when the two were at Florida.
Yep, it appears there’s a new “it couple” in college football as the coach and quarterback of the No. 1 team love each other.
Want proof? Look no further than last week’s 38-17 win over LSU. When the clock hit zeroes, Saban was uncharacteristically giddy and literally leapt into McCarron’s arms like a father and son reunited after the war. No big deal, right? Coaches and players get excited after a big win.
Wrong, it’s a really big deal. Here’s why. Does anyone remember seeing him do anything like this following Bama’s three BCS national championship victories? Furthermore, the emotional embrace was strikingly similar to the tender moments once shared by Meyer and Tebow. How ironic is it for Alabama fans who relentlessly ridiculed the Gators coach and QB? The tables have turned, and a budding relationship between coach and player has blossomed in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
As with Meyer and Tebow, you can forget about the SEC and BCS titles, the school records and the entire football legacy. The off-field bond between Saban and McCarron is an equally incredible saga, and it appears that the bond is stronger now than ever.
But what happens after 2013, McCarron’s final season? Not long after Tebow departed from Gainesville to the NFL, Meyer became “burned out” with coaching at Florida and resigned (twice) for “health reasons” and “family commitment.”
An argument could be made that Saban and McCarron’s dominance had a little something to do with Meyer’s disappearance and subsequent resurfacing at another school (Ohio State) in another conference (the B1G). But this run too will come to an end — next January, in fact.
When all is said and done, Saban and McCarron will be among the most, if not the most decorated coaches and quarterbacks for their accomplishments on the gridiron. Will the love between father and son – ahem, coach and QB – also be remembered in the annals of Alabama lore?
And what of Saban? Is his affinity toward Alabama contingent upon McCarron’s presence on the team? Will he grow bored of his situation as Meyer did after Tebow was gone? Or will “the Process” grind on with a new cog inserted at QB, leaving McCarron wondering how he was so easily replaced and whether Saban ever really loved him at all?