At a fundraiser outside Cincinnati this week, Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban spoke for about 25 minutes then took questions from the audience. Naturally, the topic of “SEC vs. Big 10” popped up, and Mr. Saban gave an incredibly textbook answer, saying the Big 10 is a “really good conference.”
Hold it, though. I’m not buying it, and neither should you. According to Cleveland.com, Saban’s full answer was:
“I think we have a little bit of an advantage when it comes to the recruiting base we have in the Southeast. But I think the Big Ten is a really good conference. And I want to be quoted on that.”
Well of course you do, Mr. Saban. In the game of offseason politics, it’s important to politely place yourself at the top. Saban’s dominance in college football is commonly accepted; I’m not arguing that. But if you’re a fan of the Big 10 reading this, or you heard about what Saban had to say about the conference, I urge you to treat it as nothing more than a boring, textbook answer that instead of fueling a fire, simply makes him a more respectable and (maybe) liked person in the Midwest.
As a fan of the Big 10 myself, I think we should take the time to appreciate the fact that the great Saban even stepped foot into our region and didn’t laugh in the face of the mediocrity the conference surely represents in football. Instead, it was peaceful — pretty much exactly what you’d expect to hear from Saban, so long as he’s not talking about another SEC opponent.
In the end, though, don’t buy into Saban’s apparent affection for the Big 10.