If you’re an athletic director with a head coach who is a branch, or even a twig, on the Nick Saban coaching tree, tread very lightly when it comes to scheduling.
In what was the first college football opener ever matching two teams ranked in the Top Three, No. 1 Alabama got past No. 3 Florida State in the first-ever game at the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. With just a 10-7 lead at halftime, the Crimson Tide was able to gradually pull away from the Seminoles in the 24-7 win.
Big brother UA’s methodical noogying of younger brother FSU continued trends on multiple levels — and halted another.
Jimbo Fisher earned his first FBS offensive coordinator job under Saban at LSU in 2000. Fisher remained on Saban’s staff until the latter moved on to the Miami Dolphins in 2005, with the former staying with the Tigers for two years before moving on to the same job at FSU and ultimately becoming the Seminoles’ head coach after Bobby Bowden stepped down.
With tonight’s game, Fisher became the fifth former Saban assistant, in a total of 11 games, to face his former boss as a head coach. And the results are, somewhat predictably, not pretty for the protégés.
Saban is now a perfect 11-0 against former coaches, with Fisher joining Mark Dantonio (0-2 at Michigan State), Derek Dooley (0-3 at Tennessee), Jim McElwain (0-3 at Florida, Colorado State) and Will Muschamp (0-2 at Florida) as victims of their ex-boss. If you’re an FSU fan and want to search for some sliver of a silver lining, the previous 10 games were decided by an average of 30 points per game; the Seminoles lost by just 17, which, based on that precedent, is nice.
A couple of other tidbits left over from tonight’s game: Saban is now a perfect 11-0 in openers at Alabama, and 19-3 overall in such games as a college football head coach. Conversely, Fisher had been a perfect 7-0 in openers at Florida State until Saturday night’s loss.
Oh, and then there’s this, with yet another connection between Saban and Fisher:
All he does is win. pic.twitter.com/Wt706Kl4fS
— ESPN (@espn) September 3, 2017
Alright, one more little tidbit that’s completely unrelated to these particular coaches: Miami in 1983 is the last team to lose its opener (28-3, at Florida) and go on to win a national championship. So, good luck FSU, and any other team that lost Week 1.