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12/28/2006 11:30:00 AM

Take our coach, please

Nick Saban
It's time for Nick Saban to go back to college.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Posted by Jacob Luft

Nick Saban reportedly is considering taking the Alabama job after the Dolphins' season ends on Sunday.

I believe I speak for many Dolphin fans when I say, "Go ahead, please."

What has Saban done to warrant any hand-wringing on the part of Dolphins fans for his possible departure? The only thing he has proven in his two playoff-less seasons as an NFL head coach is that he is woefully inadequate in the most crucial aspect of coaching at the highest level: evaluating quarterbacks. He chose Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees prior to the season, turned to the pedestrian Joey Harrington after a disastrous 1-3 start before switching (way too late) to Cleo Lemon.

Saban needs to return to the college game, even if it is at Alabama, the Madame Guillotine of coaching jobs. Saban and the Crimson Tide football program are the perfect marriage. On the one hand you have an itinerant coach who is well on his way to becoming football's version of Larry Brown. On the other hand you have a school that loves to fire its football coaches. 'Bama just got rid of Mike Shula, who was coming off of a 10-win season and a Cotton Bowl victory and led the Tide to another bowl this year despite playing a hellacious schedule. The fact that Shula was an "Alabama guy," a former All-SEC quarterback for the Tide, apparently held no sway with the Committee to Resurrect Bear Bryant.

How tough is it to please the powers that be at Alabama? Let's just say that, as the head coach at Alabama, you will be in danger of losing your job every year that you do not accomplish these two things:

  • Beat Auburn.
  • Win a national title.

    Oh, is that all?

    Winning the SEC Championship Game (notice I said "winning" and not "getting to") might buy you a little time, but you have to beat Auburn on your way to Atlanta for it to count for anything. Just ask Bill Curry. Never mind that the SEC is loaded with elite programs.

    Go ahead and go to Alabama, Nick. You'll be back at Michigan State in four years, maybe less.

    What's your take? Which school is the best fit for Saban? And what coach will end up at Alabama?
  • 12/26/2006 02:17:00 PM

    Who is the "We Are ..." school?

    We Are Marshall
    Hey Penn State, the Sexiest Man Alive just stole your chant!
    Photo by AP
    Posted by Jacob Luft

    When I first heard the title of Matthew McConaughey's new movie, We are Marshall, I was confused. I had always associated the "We are ..." cheer with another university, Penn State. Having gone to school in the South, I was familiar with Marshall football and the tragic history of the team's plane crash in 1970. I was not at all aware, however, that they had co-opted the "We are ..." cheer until the movie trailers for this film launched en masse.

    Sure enough, a few Google searches reveals that the school only recently adopted the chant about 20 years ago, making its use in the movie an anachronism at best and an attempt to perpetuate a falsehood at worst. Thanks to the massive multimedia blitz that only a Hollywood movie can manifest, millions of people now believe that Marshall, and not Penn State, is in fact the "We are ..." school.

    I'm not a Penn State grad, but if I were, I would find this trend to be very upsetting. What is to stop other schools from clutching away at this prized Nittany Lion tradition even further? After all, chants don't get any more accessible than "We are..." Georgetown hoops already has gotten into the act.

    If you are wondering what the harm is in all this, then you must not have been paying attention when the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Chiefs stole the Florida State warchant back in the early '90s. I still get shivers thinking about it. Imagine yourself walking down the street 20 years from now and hearing somebody yell, "Rock, Chalk, Wildcat," or Hail to the Victors breaking out at a game that doesn't involve the Michigan Wolverines. I dare say it would shake our civilization to its core.

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