For years, the speculation went that, when Mack Brown stepped down/was pushed out the door as Texas’ head football coach, the university would make a full-on push to land Nick Saban as his replacement. In late September, a UT regent went on the record to reveal that he, along with a former regent, had broached the subject in a 45-minute meeting with Saban’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, of replacing Brown as Longhorns coach this past January.
That revelation was further buttressed by documents obtained recently by the Associated Press which revealed Sexton had told school officials “that UT is the only job Nick would possibly consider leaving Alabama for.”
Understandably, the latest AP report sent the rumor mill, already at a heightened DEFCON level thanks to rumors that Saban’s wife was house-shopping in Austin recently, into overdrive. Just as understandably, Saban once again attempted to tamp out the fires of speculation that have no doubt pushed his frustration up a notch or two, if for nothing more than the timing of the reports.
The initial report surfaced in mid-September, during the week leading up to the Texas A&M game. The latest one comes just a few days before the game with LSU.
“Well I don’t know where these reports come from,” Saban told ESPN‘s Tom Rinaldi by way of al.com. “I’ve sort of addressed the situation before. I’m totally committed to the University of Alabama, looking forward to the game we have this week and all my focus has been on LSU and what our team needs to do to play their best.”
There’s really nothing more Saban can do, thanks in large part to the utter debacle that was his departure from the Miami Dolphins for Tuscaloosa. Give an unequivocal denial, and people simply point to the South Florida brouhaha. Give anything less than an unequivocal denial, and it simply fuels the speculation. In reality, it’s a lose-lose situation for the coach.
And what of Alabama, what can they do? Nothing, really. They can throw more money at Saban — USA Today confirmed in its annual salary database that he is once again the highest-paid head coach in college football — but Texas has even deeper pockets and can match any dollar flinging done by any program in the country.
No, it’s best for both Saban and the university to realize that this speculation simply won’t go away, at least until the head-coaching position at UT is settled once and for all. Well, accept that reality while continuing to collect BCS hardware. That, above all else, helps blunt the impact of the constant whirring of the rumor mill.