It was news to Nick Saban, spun out of control, and nobody in Alabama’s fan base grew anxious amid last week’s unchecked storm of speculation. Not a soul.
Everybody knew all along that Saban and Alabama would agree to the new deal, which was announced Friday night.
Texas? That was never even a conversation, not even among Saban’s people and Texas’ people.
So, come Tuesday and Saban’s first meeting with state media since last week’s oxygen-rich wildfire, there apparently was no need for him to address it in his opening remarks. No need to say something in front of state-based TV cameras arrayed in back of the Naylor Stone Media Suite, then say it’s all he will say.
Oh, media members might ask, and someone did ask for Saban’s reaction to last week’s rage of “sources” reports out of Texas and anxiety it caused in crimson world.
“I think I’ve already made a reaction to that,” Saban said, referring to statements he made to ESPN over the weekend. “Don’t you watch ESPN? Don’t you see what they put down across the bottom line? That’s my reaction to it, you know?
“I mean, I don’t have any more reactions to it. I think it’s kind of over, so why do we want to talk about that? Can we look forward?”
Indeed, Alabama fans are moving forward, safe in the knowledge that Saban and Alabama have agreed to that new deal that he acknowledged to ESPN has been in the works dating back into the regular season.
Though Texas coach Mack Brown announced his pending resignation Saturday, less than 24 hours after Saban’s new deal was announced, Saban is locked up at Alabama through 2020. He’ll reportedly make $7-7.5 million a year.
Phew! Dodged a bullet there.
Oh wait. Nobody dodged a bullet. There never was a bullet.
Saban was traveling all week for recruiting and awards banquets, but he got to that new deal, a’ight?
“There were no talks (with Texas),” Saban said Tuesday, after the Tide’s first practice for its All-State Sugar Bowl matchup with Oklahoma.
There was something last week, even if Saban’s camp had nothing to do with fanning it.
Amid it all, everybody kind of forgot that decision to go for it on fourth down and one at Auburn’s 13-yard line, rather than kick a field goal that could have given the Tide a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of the Iron Bowl.
Nobody kept talking about how Alabama (11-1), which held the nation’s No. 1 ranking from preseason until after the Iron Bowl, didn’t play for the SEC title and won’t play for the final Bowl Championship Series title for the first time in three years.
The Sugar Bowl is cool now, and everybody in crimson world is just glad the coach that led Alabama to three national titles in four years is staying. Dare we say, they … appreciate him?
Didn’t they always?
If not, then they should. If he’s not the nation’s best college football coach, then his results at least warrant his status as the game’s highest-paid coach.
But forgive Alabama fans if they didn’t appreciate last week’s prolonged drama.
Forgive them if they didn’t understand why the nation’s highest-paid coach needed a new deal, just nine months after he signed an extension.
Then again, another national title can smooth over any good will spent, so who needs an occasion to put sound and face behind one last dose of reassurance?
Sports columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576, firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jmedley_star.