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Nick Saban: ‘I think the Big Ten is a really good conference’

Brady Hoke, Nick Saban AP

Sound the alarm: The SEC’s most prominent figure had some good things to say about the Big Ten.

Alabama coach Nick Saban, speaking in Ohio this week, was naturally asked about the Big Ten. For Saban, the SEC’s dominance and the Big Ten’s title drought is due to a better recruiting base in the South more than anything else.

“I think we have a little bit of an advantage when it comes to the recruiting base we have in the Southeast,” Saban said, via “But I think the Big Ten is a really good conference. And I want to be quoted on that.”

Finebaum comes on at 2 p.m. ET this afternoon, FYI.

There’s more good stuff from Saban in the article as to how the South differs from the Midwest/Rust Belt in terms of recruiting and fan bases — and remember, it’s coming from someone who was Michigan State’s coach from 1995-1999. Saban talked about Big Ten schools needing to recruit nationally, something Ohio State has done well (Urban Meyer pulled the No. 1 player out of the state of Georgia in 2014’s recruiting cycle) but the rest of the conference needs to catch up on.

Otherwise, they’ll still be playing catch up with the SEC.

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41 Responses to “Nick Saban: ‘I think the Big Ten is a really good conference’”
  1. rolltide510 says: May 1, 2014 10:08 AM

    Saban’s statement was taken out of context. The full text was “I think the Big Ten is a really good conference when you need an opponent you can hang 50 points on”.

  2. thraiderskin says: May 1, 2014 10:28 AM

    He is right about the recruiting base, but I think he is just being polite about the B1G overall.

  3. cometkazie says: May 1, 2014 11:13 AM

    Nick is ever so subtle . . .

  4. ytownjoe says: May 1, 2014 11:16 AM

    It helps that Urban Meyer established some southern roots while on his coaching journey.

  5. cubano76 says: May 1, 2014 11:33 AM

    ALERT!!!!!!! Anyone standing within 20 ft of Nick Saban, RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. mrlaloosh says: May 1, 2014 11:37 AM

    My ex wife is a really good cook.

  7. drummerhoff says: May 1, 2014 11:39 AM

    Every word out of Saban’s mouth – no matter how trite – is considered newsworthy. That’s a dig on some lazy media, not Saban.

  8. jdbaker01 says: May 1, 2014 12:06 PM

    I think he was kind of quoting Kanye b/c the full text was more like, “I don’t mean no disrespect to the Big10 b/c they are good conference, but the SEC is the best conference of all time!”

  9. kinggator says: May 1, 2014 12:25 PM

    “Troll Tide” – Saban

  10. lanzurrah says: May 1, 2014 12:41 PM

    It’s probably a top 5 conference…

  11. cfballfan1 says: May 1, 2014 1:05 PM

    “Rust Belt”? Really? Does anyone under 50 even know what that means?

  12. irishdodger says: May 1, 2014 1:38 PM

    “I think we have a little bit of an advantage when it comes to the recruiting base we have in the Southeast,” Saban said.

    Which is why Saban bolted the B10 when he took his team to Louisiana for a (bowl?) game vs LSU. He saw what Meyer, Richt, Miles & other HC from the Midwest saw. Remembe the SEC before those guys came? Neither do SEC fans.

  13. packerbadger says: May 1, 2014 1:50 PM

    Saban really didn’t do a whole lot when he coached in the Big 10 at Michigan State. Its different when the players actually have to attend real classes at a much, much higher tiered academic school as compared to Alabumpkin’.

  14. drummerhoff says: May 1, 2014 2:16 PM

    More whine with Wisconsin cheese.

  15. crindal3000 says: May 1, 2014 2:16 PM

    maybe he was talking about academics

  16. CJ says: May 1, 2014 2:49 PM

    “I think the B1G Ten is a really good conference. They’re in the FCS, right?

  17. packerbadger says: May 1, 2014 3:17 PM

    Hey drummerboy…..Wisconsin finished 7th in hockey, 4th in basketball and 22nd in football with a first yr coach. Show me a $ECheat team with records like this. Oh, and our players actually go to school and take real classes.

  18. auburntigers34 says: May 1, 2014 3:33 PM

    7th in Hockey? who gives a sh*t?

  19. packerbadger says: May 1, 2014 4:16 PM

    Awwww…. auburntiger still butthurt that Wisconsin beat Auburn the last two times they met in bowl games? lol! How’d Auburn do in hockey……or basketball? Lol! Cam had to take a paycut to go pro and is still working on his GED.

  20. florida727 says: May 1, 2014 4:40 PM

    Even as a Florida fan, I have to admit, I really enjoy watching Big 10 football. I think Urban Meyer is trying to change the past perception of it being the “three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust” conference. Yes, still extremely physical. But a lot of their programs are latching onto the “speed kills” philosophy.

    For all my SEC friends, be wary of knocking against another conference. Sports is cyclical. The Big 10 will win their share of national titles in short order. We can enjoy the 7-out-of-8 titles thing… for now.

  21. rolltide510 says: May 1, 2014 5:57 PM

    So Packerbadger,

    I’d like to hear more about the real classes football players take at Wisconsin. Googling the only Wisconsin players I’ve heard of, it seems JJ Watt majored in “life sciences”, Montee Ball in sociology, and Russell Wilson in communication.

    Of course, given the fact you asked how a school located in the deep south did in hockey, I guess said degrees might actually seem impressive to you.

  22. auburntigers34 says: May 1, 2014 7:44 PM

    packerbadger says:
    May 1, 2014 4:16 PM

    Auburn doesn’t have a hockey team. Most division 1 colleges don’t. So again, what’s so impressive about a 7th ranked hockey team?

  23. normtide says: May 1, 2014 9:09 PM

    Wisconsin hasn’t won a title in anything. Bama has national titles in football, golf, gymnastics, etc. The SEC has more basketball titles than the B1G in recent times. More in baseball. Bragging about hockey is like bragging about beach volleyball or squash. Hockey is a small regional sport, nothing more. Packer can only talk about hockey and winter Olympics. Neither are watched or followed by the general public. Talk about titles, talk about the big three sports or summer Olympics.

  24. bralinshan says: May 1, 2014 9:10 PM

    Packerbadger is just pissed that he has to live in a state that has Milwaukee in it….and is below zero half the time….and whose primary food is cheese…that they stupidly put on their heads (WTF?)

    If it wasn’t for beer and bowling, nobody could make it through the 9-month winters up in Wuss consin…..

    Go cut a hole in the ice and sit there all day with a line, man you guys know how to roll. FYI, packer, the last time I checked, people were FLEEING your craphole and heading South.

    It takes a pretty clueless imbecile to make fun of another part of the country when you live in Wisconsin.

  25. Ryan Mann, CFE says: May 1, 2014 9:11 PM


    Florida has the two time national champion women’s gymnastics, top 4 men’s basketball, top ranked women’s softball team, national champion track team, top 25 baseball team, and with the exception of this last year, usually a top 25 football team. The tennis team is ranked 15th. The men’s swim/dive team is ranked number 1, the women are ranked 8th.

    And they have excellent academics.

    You asked for an example.

  26. cometkazie says: May 1, 2014 9:45 PM

    Norm and all: The SEC has 79 championships in track and field. They are spread among LSU, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, and aTm. I apologize if I missed a school.

  27. huskerzfan says: May 1, 2014 10:10 PM

    Wow, a shocking and new development to see a bunch of SEC honks trashing the Big 10.

  28. chinahand11 says: May 1, 2014 10:43 PM

    Hmm. We started with Nick complimenting the Big 10, now we are insulting each other. It was meant to be, I suppose. I love this message board. Bralinshan has the funniest comments so far, made me laugh out loud.

  29. iwishwvuwouldbeatbama says: May 1, 2014 10:45 PM

    The big ten is clearly behind the SEC, PAC12, Big 12, maybe tied with the ACC (both have one or two good teams). You can talk about academics and make whatever excuses you want, Notre Dame has very high academic standards and double digit national championships with a win percentage of .733 also. Another thing this is college football talk not college academic talk, so lets discuss what matters on this site, and stop hiding behind excuses!

  30. sportsfan18 says: May 1, 2014 11:56 PM

    Far too many are way too politically correct now…

    Not just Saban, but everyone, in and out of sports…

    Thank God for the Old Ball Coach…

    I wish MORE folks would speak their mind like Steve Spurrier (and I’m not a S. Carolina fan or an SEC fan).

    Why can’t Saban just say “Well, they used to be good”.

    We NEED more people to stir the pot…

    Things are way too bland and predictable now…

  31. longborer69 says: May 2, 2014 4:25 AM

    Sorry, but Oregon, not Florida, has the unanimous #1 softball team.

    Oregon just won the acrobatics national championship for the fourth year in a row. That’s better than being ranked seventh in hockey. I decided it is, so it is — the rest of the world will have to live with my decision. I could care less about acro if someone else were winning it, of course. But since it is the Ducks who dominate it, then it must be the most important sport that exists.

    How many championships in track and field does the SEC have this year? Oregon won both men’s and women’s indoor track titles.

    We were second in volleyball last year, third (both men and women) in outdoor track.

    I’m sure I’m missing something. Oh, yes, the last time we played WISCONSIN in the Rose Bowl, we beat them. If it hadn’t been a home game for Wisconsin in basketball, we’d have probably beat them in that this year, too.

  32. dhardy8207 says: May 2, 2014 9:09 AM

    What every one needs to realize about packerbadger is that he is a SEC TROLL… You never ever see this twit post on anything except threads about the SEC, an SEC team, BAMA, AU, Nick Saban, etc…

    He does this so he can get the thread off topic because he knows if he insults the SEC fan bases enough they’ll respond. So since I fell into that trap of his once again, let me make it worth my time.

    Packer is really not a WisCousin fan, he just has deep psychological issues and is without consistent social interaction. If you push his buttons, he’ll come back at you about the civil war, the civil rights movement, and every other bad thing that haunts the south. Despite the south has progressed greatly, it is only in his warped mind that its still in the 1960s era. Try to get him to debate serious logic with you and he results to stereotypical insults.

    He is a fine sample of pond scum, but I guess they might have a lot of that in Wisconsin..

  33. packerbadger says: May 2, 2014 10:59 AM

    LOL at you $ECheaters and Oregon/Nike U cheats! Oregon bought their way out of NCAA sanctions by paying recruiters tens of thousands of dollars. Oregon lucky refs ended the game with Wisconsin getting ready to score with one second on clock, but called game. Dont even get me started on the SECheat because there’s not enough room here.
    normtide says:May 1, 2014 9:09 PM

    Wisconsin hasn’t won a title in anything.
    Five NCAA hockey titles. Oh, and hockey is one of the four major pro sports.

    dhardy….. does it physically hurt to be as stupid as you are? I mean, is there actual pain? LOL!
    Yes, I’m back in Madison and its good to talk to people that don’t speak in grunts, clicks and whistles and not have to keep fighting the Civil War.

    The PAC 10 and Big 10 are both better at life than the $ECheat! Wisconsin has many more things to do year ’round than Alabumpkin’….the one hit wonder. Wisconsin is able to maintain many high end athletic programs along with a much, much superior academic program. The lowest rated academic Big 10 school is still higher than all the $ECheat schools except Vanderbilt. rolltide…. the classes at Wisconsin are geared towards college students unlike the $ECheat that have GED equivalent classes. But I will give the SECheat this, they have a much more impressive rap sheet than the Big 10!!! Ahhhh….its good to be back in civilization!!

  34. outlaw53 says: May 2, 2014 11:27 AM

    “Five NCAA hockey titles. Oh, and hockey is one of the four major pro sports.”

    Excuse me dude ( assuming that you are, in fact, male )…this is a College Football Board. Hockey is one of the four major pro sports? It must be extraordinarily difficult for you to justify your college football fandom based on support of a hockey team. Don’t get me wrong…I’m sure that hockey is….great. I’ve seen the face scars and teeth missing from hockey players so they must have some talent. Expressing that level of “talent” on a college football board may not be expressing your knowledge of the game being discussed here. Try the hockey board…there are probably one or two people on that.

  35. normtide says: May 2, 2014 12:56 PM

    The NHL folded a few years back. Nothing major about that. Unless you think the arena football league is big time too. Hockey is dominated by Frenchmen, so they are not top athletes. BTW, the University of Alabama-Huntsville won a title in hockey.

    Hundreds of programs play top level baseball, basketball, and football. Programs from across the nation. Didn’t the B1G just now start sponsoring hockey?

    That’s why the NHL doesn’t work. It’s a niche sport, but they try to run it like a big sport. Hockey still relies on gate sells to make a profit. Their playoff games are on CNBC, hahaha.

    Wisconsin is a decent university. Not ivy league. Basically, not the best scholarly or athletically. Just middling.

  36. dhardy8207 says: May 2, 2014 1:49 PM

    packerbadger says;

    “dhardy….. does it physically hurt to be as stupid as you are? I mean, is there actual pain? LOL!
    Yes, I’m back in Madison and its good to talk to people that don’t speak in grunts, clicks and whistles and not have to keep fighting the Civil War.”


    LoL…calling someone stupid and you’re on a college football board posting about hockey! Who’s the stupid one here?.. No I live pain free, knowing that idiots like YOU are never going to get past stereotypes. But you once again proved my earlier point by making the comment about the “civil war”. I wouldn’t expect one such as yourself with limited time out of the nut factory to know that Virginia and other states observe the history that is the civil war. No I would expect someone of your limited intellect to latch on to something like that and the civil rights troubles of the past and just keep regurgitating it because it serves some deep seeded envy you have of the south.

    You come to a college football board and you repeatedly try to make your derogatory thoughts legit by trying to get someone else to co sign on your bigotry…

    You keep saying that you’re glad to be back in cheese country yet you continue to come back time and time again trying to be relevent in a conversation about people and a region that you despise. Got to be a serious form of jealousy.

  37. normtide says: May 2, 2014 2:08 PM

    DHardy, his jealousy manifests itself in crude ways. All the while, he spews a foolish rant that ends in his proclamation of mental supremacy. It is better than having a court jester. To top it off, he lives in the south. Really, they should make a Tim Burton movie out of this dude.

    On Fri, May 2, 2014 at 12:49 PM, CollegeFootballTalk wrote:

    > dhardy8207 commented: “packerbadger says; “dhardy….. does it > physically hurt to be as stupid as you are? I mean, is there actual pain? > LOL! Yes, I’m back in Madison and its good to talk to people that don’t > speak in grunts, clicks and whistles and not have to keep fi” >

  38. cometkazie says: May 2, 2014 3:42 PM

    chinahand11 says:
    May 1, 2014 10:43 PM
    Hmm. We started with Nick complimenting the Big 10, now we are insulting each other. It was meant to be, I suppose. I love this message board. Bralinshan has the funniest comments so far, made me laugh out loud.

    F’crying out loud, it’s four months, MONTHS, until college football starts and what better pastime than to aggravate each other?

    LongBorer, I didn’t realize acrobatics was a NCAA sport. More power to them and I am glad to see the Ducks back in the mix in track and field. I was privileged to attend a NCAA National Championship meet there 20y or so ago, and Hayward Field reeks of tradition. I walked on Pre’s Trail several times and several people visited the spot he was killed. The trip was a real treat and the seafood was great up there, too.

    One word for Packer “POOF!”

  39. bigdawg24 says: May 3, 2014 11:06 AM

    I KNOW the SEC is the BEST Conference.

  40. dcroz says: May 4, 2014 8:54 AM

    So packerbadger went back up North? I thought this spring smelled a little better than usual.

    The Big Ten has suffered from myopia for decades now, thinking its brand of football to be superior to everyone else’s. Its focus has always been the Rose Bowl, which it has considered as the true national championship, so it only has to compete with itself and the champion of the PAC-8/10/12. Bo Schembechler said as much over forty years ago when he said that Michigan’s goal was always to win the Rose Bowl, and if someone awarded it a national title, then so be it. The Big Ten has done little to extend its recruiting base outside of the Midwest, still believing it to be the nation’s hotbed long after that distinction has from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt. Urban Meyer may change the conference’s attitude in time, and perhaps this new National Championship Tournament will redirect its focus away from Pasadena, but until it does it will continue its streak of the whole conference having won as many national titles in the last 45 years as Alabama has in the last six.

  41. dcroz says: May 4, 2014 8:55 AM

    Actually, that should be “Alabama has in the last five.”

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