Way back in the spring, a feisty Steve Spurrier took a little jab — replete with a John Calipari dig — in the general direction of Nick Saban and how “easy” the head coach has it at Alabama.
“He’s got a nice little gig going, a little bit like Calipari,” the Ol’ Ball Coach told ESPN.com back in April. “He tells guys, ‘Hey, three years from now, you’re going to be a first-round pick and go.’ If he wants to be the greatest coach or one of the greatest coaches in college football, to me, he has to go somewhere besides Alabama and win, because they’ve always won there at Alabama.”
Four months later, Saban has gotten around to responding in kind.
Speaking during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, Saban tweaked his SEC rival a bit, pointing out the fact he has been elsewhere besides Alabama — and been successful as well.
“LSU wasn’t winning when I went there. Michigan State wasn’t winning when I went there. Toledo wasn’t winning when I went there. And Alabama really wasn’t winning when I came here. I guess I gotta go someplace else. I don’t know.
“I think it’s great, I love Steve. I’m always anxious to hear what he has to say – it’s always funny.”
Saban, though, actually has a point as well. Here’s a look at how LSU, Michigan State and Toledo in the five years prior to Saban’s arrival and how they did during the three-time title-winning coach’s tenure at the school:
— From 1995-99, LSU went 33-24-1; under Saban from 2000-04, the Tigers went 48-16, including the 2003 BcS championship
— From 1990-94, Michigan State went 27-29-1; under Saban from 1995-99, the Spartans went 34-24-1.
— From 1985-89, Toledo went 26-28-1; in Saban’s lone season at the school in 1990, the Rockets finished 9-2 and claimed its first MAC title (co-champs alongside Central Michigan) since 1984.
So, yeah, I think Saban has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt he can coach regardless of the locale. But, please, keep tweaking OBC; it’s good for the game.