Nick Saban forgot about Election Day.
We all have that one friend who spent a year talking our ear off about a certain candidate, only for them to offer up a lame reason for not voting (I hope you find your stolen unicycle, Uncle Pete!) But that wasn’t Coach Saban, who voted by absentee ballot. He just didn’t recall that America was finally choosing between Donald and Hillary on November 8th.
But I don’t blame the Crimson Tide boss for having his head elsewhere during the football season, because you can’t argue with the results of Saban’s focus: Alabama has gained their third-straight entry into College Football’s Playoff (where they’ve been in all three NCAA mini-brackets.)
Nick Saban might be complex, but he can be understood. Just in time for Saturday’s Peach Bowl, I offer you – from his early days as a small school linebacker coach, to an NFL detour, to national championships, and one big bank account – a guide to Nick Saban.
1. Survivor – “Eye Of The Tiger”
Years: 1973 – 2004
Coach Saban’s rise was much like that of Rocky Balboa (had the fictional fighter traded boxing gloves for a clipboard.) Saban went from rags to riches, ascending from a graduate assistant at Kent State to head-coaching the LSU Tigers. It was in Louisiana where he discovered SEC titles, a national championship, and a Coach of The Year. (Sorry to call you “rags,” Kent State.)
2. Miami Sound Machine “Conga”
Years: 2005 – 2006
Coach Saban took his talents to South Beach way before Lebron made it cool. He led the Miami Dolphins to a 15-7 record and, while he surely wasn’t out clubbing with D-Wade every night, I imagine Coach Saban let himself enjoy the sounds of Miami for at least a moment (a half-smile probably came to his face as “Conga” played while he munched on a juicy T-bone at Shula’s Steak House.) But before he could sniff a Super Bowl, his dream job opened up, and it was time to trade the glitz and glamour of Miami for Alabama’s fifth-largest city.
3. Van Halen “Top of The World”
Years: 2007 – 2010
Thirtysomething years after Paul “Bear” Bryant ended his legendary coaching career in Tuscaloosa, fans hoped Saban was the coach who would finally fill those big shoes—much like Van Halen fans once hoped Sammy Hagar would fill David Lee Roth’s rhinestone-studded leather boots. By the end of the 2009-2010 season, Saban and his Crimson Tide were national champions, on top of the college football world, and those big boots were starting to feel a little snug.
4 . The Godfather Theme
Years: 2011 – Today
Coach Saban wins. He wins a lot, and he wins when it matters. Now, very wealthy and very powerful, The Godfather might make you an offer you can’t refuse. Don’t even think about submitting a transfer request, irking him at a press conference, or running a satellite camp on his turf. But even if you do? The Godfather will still win. Just like he has the last 25 games.
That brings us to this weekend: Las Vegas favors ‘Bama (13-0) by two touchdowns over the Washington Huskies (12-1). Saban’s team is also a heavy favorite to win the National Championship on January 9th in Tampa. And if they do, his next song will be…
Caleb Bacon is a Los Angeles-based television writer, Red Zone addict, and soon to be a dad. Follow him on Twitter: @CalebEatsBacon.