The television show “60 Minutes” profiled Alabama coach Nick Saban last week. It was a well-done piece and captured Saban’s perfectionism – his dedication to “The Process” – and his intensity.
But the money quote, literally, came from the chancellor of the University of Alabama system and formerly the school’s president, Dr. Robert Witt. Asked if Saban, with his annual $5.5 million paycheck, was worth the investment Alabama made, Witt said: “Nick Saban’s the best financial investment this university has ever made. … We have an investment that has been returned many fold.”
Saturday night, at 7 p.m. on CBS and at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, No. 1 Alabama plays No. 12 LSU. The Crimson Tide is undefeated, but LSU has two losses so it’s hardly the “Game of the Century” this time around. Well, unless LSU coach Les Miles and his boys can find a way to beat Saban – which they did two years ago in Tuscaloosa, 9-6 – and throw the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) into the blender.
Both teams had a bye last week, but since Saban arrived at Alabama in 2007 he is actually 2-0 against LSU when his team didn’t have a bye and 1-3 when it did (losing in 2007, 2010 and 2011).
As for LSU, receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was happy to get a little time to rest.
“You get beat down playing in the SEC,” he said. “It takes a toll on your body.”
There are two Tennessee teams – the one that plays on the road and the one that plays at home. So says Gus Malzahn, coach of the No. 10 Auburn Tigers who travel to Neyland Stadium this Saturday where the Vols (4-5, 1-4) upset South Carolina and nearly beat Georgia.
“They’re a different team at home and we know we’re going to get their best,” Malzahn said.
Vols WR Pig Howard said with three games left, the goal is simple: “Making a bowl game.”
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, when asked the secret to building a winner in the SEC, gave a truer-words-never-spoken answer: “At the end of the day, it’s about recruiting. Can you convince top-level players to buy into your vision.”
Arkansas (3-6, 0-5) has lost six straight games, their longest skid since a seven-game slide in 1990. “I know where we need to be,” Coach Bret Bielema said. “We’re not there yet.” One reason? The Hogs are -9 in turnover margin, worst in the SEC.
University of Memphis kicker Jake Elliott is among 20 semi-finalists for the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Orange Bowl Committee. Elliott is one of four freshmen still in contention.
Elliott has converted 11 of 12 field-goal attempts and is 5-for-5 from 40 or more yards. He has a career long of 52 yards.