Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nutt, Saban, and Coaching Trends

You can add Shane from the Capstone Report to the growing list of bloggers who are latching onto the Anti-Ole Miss Bandwagon, though, like most, he lacks creativity in his reasoning. It's not quite Finebaumian in its lack of legitimate points, but it's close:
Some of you might ask, “What about Ole Miss?” The pundits are convinced they will play Florida in the title match. Well, those of us who’ve studied Houston Nutt know that (and I keep bringing it up), somewhere in the course of the season, he’ll blow a game he’s supposed to win - it happens every year. In fact, I think that is exactly why Arkansas fired him. That’s right Rebel fans, Arkansas cut Nutt loose for “choking.” Putting your faith in Coach Nutt is futile. Under his guidance, I’m afraid Ole Miss is destined to remain a pretender.
Ah yes, the Houston Nutt argument. For those who have actually taken the time to look at things – like cocknfire did here – there’s actually a different story. But we shouldn’t let facts get in the way of this argument. Sure, Nutt’s teams have dropped some games they shouldn’t have – it’s part of the game – but I don’t recall Nutt comparing those losses to “catastrophic events” like Pearl Harbor or the 9/11 Attacks. Saban’s Tide were embarrassed last year in the Sugar Bowl by Utah in a game Alabama was supposed to win. Let's not forget that Saban can scratch losses to UAB and Louisiana-Monroe off his bucket list as well.

I do find it interesting though that he brings up coaching trends. In his 13 seasons of being a head coach in college football, Saban’s teams have won 10+ games 3 times: 2001, 2003, and 2009. His teams won 8 and 9 games in 2002 and 2004 respectively, meaning he’s never won 10+ games in back to back seasons. It’s going to take 6+ SEC wins to win the SEC West this year, meaning the Tide will need 10+ wins to secure it. According to Shane’s logic, history always repeats itself, so there’s no way Alabama win double-digit games this year, right?

Also, given Saban's inability to win double-digit games in back-to-back seasons, this statement becomes even more outlandish than it first appears:
I have no doubt that these two SEC “superpowers” will meet in Atlanta for the next three or four years in a row.
And if we're dwelling on trends, then Alabama will be back on probation in, what? 2011? Maybe 2012?

But hey, it's all just posturing at this point. All that matters is this... both teams have a legitimate shot at being undefeated when they clash on October 10th, setting up the biggest game in Oxford in decades, certainly since LSU in 2003. The winner of that game will have the inside track for the SEC Western Division crown and a shot at Florida or Georgia in the SEC Championship game.


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