By David Bradford, for VFL Insider
Here’s a hot take: Alabama is going to steamroll through the SEC next season and win the conference championship for the fifth time in six seasons.
Isn’t is so, so sad that what once was the nation’s most competitive conference has become Nick Saban’s playground? It speaks to his greatness on multiple fronts, whether it be on the recruiting trail, as a tactician, or a motivator of young men. And when I say motivator, I essentially mean players are probably horrified of failure because Saban might murder them.
There’s not much the other 13 programs in the conference can do at this point to slow Saban down. According to 247Sports, Alabama has compiled the nation’s top recruiting class seven years running. Saban’s backups are better than most team’s starters, which is laughably unfair.
As a result, the Crimson Tide have won four championships during Saban’s reign, and are a miracle returned missed field goal/horrific offensive strategy away from having six championships since 2009.
With no viable way to beat Saban on the field, the remaining SEC programs are in quite the conundrum.
A reasonable solution, such as Alabama somehow losing two conference games in the same season, isn’t likely to transpire, meaning there are two ways to solve this seemingly unsolvable problem. Either wait out (that could take a while) or pay him into an immediate retirement.
Because fans aren’t the most patient bunch, let’s go with option B.
The SEC made a staggering $639 million during the 2016 fiscal year. Needless to say, money isn’t the issue here, and with that much cheddar, it’s more than enough to send Saint Nick into an early retirement.
Obviously, you can’t pay him all at once, so you have to pay him annually. Given that he currently makes over $11 million per year with $8 million potential dollars in signing bonuses until 2024, it’ll take a hefty price tag to even get Saban to consider retirement. Remember, we’re talking about a cut-threat competitor here, and a guy who recently admitted retirement scares him to death.
But anybody can be bought with the right price, but what exactly is the sweet spot? $30 million annually? $40 million? $50 million?!
To figure this out, let’s examine his on-field dominance in conference play. Since 2011, Alabama is 50-6 when facing an SEC opponent, which is jaw-dropping considering the brutal competition level. The team with the second-most wins in conference during this stretch is Georgia… with 34.
So Saban has Roll Tide 32 percent more productive than the next team, and in those 56 games, Alabama is mostly dominating its opposition.
A case can be made that this unprecedented dominance has driven out all of the conference’s quality coaches, leaving the SEC to be nothing more than Saban’s punching bag as he prepares for heavyweight fights in late December/early January. And all of this isn’t counting the incredible number of NFL draft picks he’s produced during his tenure, as well as Alabama being the only program with multiple Heisman Trophy winners since Saban took the job in 2007.
Face it, SEC. There’s not much that can be done here, but if I’m the 13 other schools, and if I’m a conference making over $600 million in revenue, then as part of my expenses, I’m paying Saban $50 million per year in perpetuity to resign effective immediately.
It’s an affordable number ($3.8 million per program), and with a higher chance of success among all SEC programs not named Missouri or Kentucky, the school’s will experience an exponential growth in revenue, making Saban eligible for retirement bonuses. Yes, he’s that transcendent that he would probably receive millions of dollars in bonuses for simply not wrecking a conference.
Oh, and one more thing, as long as Saban is retired, only one man is allowed to be his replacement.