Saban Loses Gamble by Bob Ryan

Nick Saban rarely loses these days….seldom loses games, rarely loses on this top recruits, usually procures the assistant coaches that he wants , gets most of everything that he wants from Alabama University….but he lost out on a big gamble this week.

….Saban had gambled on his 2019 schedule. It was soft…really soft…his selection of non-conference foes would be glossed over by fans, the press and most importantly the Selection Committee. The Cupcakes like New Mexico State with an anemic  0-9 record, Duke…this isn’t 4-5 for the season!…and from the “powerful” Southern Conference, Western Carolina Catamount is 3-7. It was rated the 2nd easiest schedule in the SEC and 44th rated schedule  in the country.  He gambled that his feeble foes would be glossed over when he hung up an 12-0 regular season record…followed by an SEC Championship. He’d strut into the Championship Final Four…btw….this is the same approach taken by Clemson….enjoy the cupcakes for the season and waltz into the final four. He could count on it. The writers …and selection committee…from an outside perspective, they seemed awed by the NFL talent on the team, the legendary coach, the tradition of Bama football all the way back to Bear Bryant.

…while Saban realized that LSU would be a athletic foe but he’d always handled them…he’d beaten them 8 straight times through 2018. Why would it be different this year?

….On a side note….I’ve been clamoring all season to judge the college football rankings not strictly  on the number of wins, or the reputation, or the draft status of their stars…but who did they actually beat on the field?

…But…..these well designed plans fell apart on Saturday as Louisiana State University beat Alabama 46-41. LSU was NEVER behind in the game!  The Tigers led 33-13 at half. The 3rd quarter was rather tame offensively as Bama scored the only 7 points of the trailed 33-20. The Crimson Tide sliced the margin to 39-34 with 4:35 remaining in the game. LSU came right back with a 7 play, 3:55  drive 75 yard drive to push it to 46-34 and scored with only 1:37 remaining in the game. Alabama struck right back, 16 seconds later with  a 75 yard TD pass but LSU hung on for the exciting win. LSU did outgain Bama 559-541,

Now…back to Saban’s gamble….how can any voter put Alabama in the top 4 based on their competition level, lack of a conference championship…or even an appearance in the SEC title game. Generally, teams don’t get “points” for losing to good teams.

….btw…according to the Steele report, the “toughness” of the SEC football schedules in the country is as follows:  Below are Phil Steele’s rankings of schedule for SEC teams:  1. South Carolina  2. Auburn  4. Texas A&M   6. LSU    7. Tennessee      10. Florida     13. Georgia     18. Vanderbilt 19. Mississippi State    21. Ole Miss     32. Arkansas    41. Missouri   44. Alabama  51. Kentucky.  Yes, he thinks Mizzou’s schedule with SEMO, Troy, & W.Virgina( 3-6) record is BETTER than Alabama’s!

Sooooo….who would YOU have in your Top 4 NCAA-F teams?  I’d have 9-0  LSU @ #1 with wins over these ranked teams: Alabama, Texas, Auburn and Florida, They have Ole Miss, Arkansas & Texas A&M left on their schedule. #2 Ohio State…has really been rolling over teams early in games..only “big” win is over Wisconsin #3 Clemson 10-0…only “good” win is over Texas A&M… appears that These Tigers follow the same script as Alabama with the “Charmin” type schedule  #4 Oregon(8-1)—only loss was in week 1 against Auburn with good win over Washington. On the cusp: Georgia (wins over Notre Dame, Florida) with Auburn & Texas A&M coming up next…wins over both these good teams could push them into the TOP 4. Minnesota 9-0 had a very easy first 4 weeks with narrow wins in some cases but has been dramatically improved over the last 5 weeks….continuation of this type of play providing them with “good” wins could make them a factor.

…Mizzou seems to have lost their gamble this fall. The Tigers thought that Kelly Bryant was going to be the difference maker for them this season and push them to the top. He led Mizzou to wins in the W. Virginia, SEMO, South Carolina, Troy and Mississippi.  He had poor passing days against Kentucky (130 yards) and Vanderbilt (140) yards. He had 23% of his total passing yards (423) for the season in a losing effort against Wyoming. At this point, it looks like one of those mid-December bowls will be the Tigers ticket this year.

….Cards gamble very little…but they customarily sign at least 1 free agent who they can promote in the off season…who’s In their Free agent headlights this winter?   How about 1 of the following pitchers as my guess– Madison Baumgarner, Sonny Gray, Julio Tehran, Kyle Gibson. I don’t see Cards signing any every-day field player this winter.

….the Nearly Forgotten League continues to gamble with their fans…..insulting St. Louis on the way out, completely shut the door from any NFL team meeting success…or relocation… here again. Now San Diego Chargers ’s ownership doesn’t seem to like Stan’s terms and way of handling the “new” stadium in LA. They are looking around but…being told by Jerry Jones to “stop and like it”….this is going to be your home stadium. I’m sure that the Chargers fans are just thrilled with this on again-off again deal. It’s always been a challenge to draw well in LA unless you have a championship type team…..doesn’t look like that’s happening!

….the Blues finally pulled the trigger…Robby Fabbri just didn’t fit into the “new” heavy checking style. He sat out often during Berube’s tenure. So the was traded to Detroit for a Jacob De La Rose. A player who it seems to fit into this heavy checking mode. I expect Fabbri will score some goals for the Red Wings ( I think he has 3 already) but it really wasn’t a gamble from my eyes…he just didn’t fit here.

…Is this a gamble or what? from what I read from the Cardinals Propaganda sheet…. oops…their on-line site….the Cards are hoping…and working…on Matt Carpenter returning to the production level of 2 or 3 years ago. I guess…it is only natural to hope… since you can’t dump the guy to anyone with that enormous salary.

…maybe my eyes were tricking me….but…every time I attended a Cardinal game last year and saw the “announced” attendance figure it surprised me! I’d look @ all the empty seats and hear 40,000+. I realized that it’s paid attendance not actual attendance but are the Cards gambling that those announced figures will boost their corporate sales to advertising in Busch. ..btw…some regular fans ALREADY think that Busch is overloaded with advertising on walls, screens, boards, seats, press boxes, across the street, on every hand-out, vendors, concession stands, yada-yada-yada.

…no more gambling for me, I’m done…..thx for reaching the bottom…..your thoughts are ALWAYS invited…agree or disagree…any part…


  1. Don’t follow football very closely, but did check in on the LSU- Alabama game.
    Left for awhile at half time due to lopsided score. Checked back and Bama made it a game.

    Although many media members can always be searching for a scandal, many are just doing their job of reporting. Watching Saban’s press conferences are often insulting to reporters, thus, to fans who want answers. NE’s Belichik acts the same way. “ I’m forced to meet the media, but won’t tell them anything. “. Both programs have many years of success, which leads to their arrogance.
    Nice to see another college football program dominate the headlines! Recruiting is a challenge & Saban hasn’t lost many blue chippers for years. C’mon Nick… show some class and get off the high horse.

    Gaining more respect for Mizzou’s Barry Odom. This guy has had a terrible 3-4 weeks, yet was on all StL radio stations for Monday morn taking responsibility and being cordial. Net… being an adult! He may not see his contract thru, as alums are getting nervous, but he seems to be a good role model, respecting academics/ following rules. Recruiting to Mizzou is not easy! Net… need players to succeed.

    Cardinals Hot Stove: Appears the stove has a gas leak. Post Season mgmt presser was very disappointing! After bragging about the great FSM tv deal ($), now we’re freezing payroll?

    Needs: Productive outfield that are better than average defensively; A 3rd baseman with an arm & power; A legit bullpen closer.

    “ If” Andrew Knizer is the aire apparent to Molina, give him at least a start/week. He can’t sit and progress. If Yadi cares about clubs future, he needs to accept this. Last time I checked, he’s not the MGR.

    Rotation: Flaherty, Mikolas, Hudson appear to be the most dependable. C Martinez should be trade chit. Waino, at age 39, home starts ONLY…4-5 innings. This leaves room for 1 1/2 starters. Poncedeleon and a FREE AGENT pick up. I hope they don’t “ sit” on the Division Title! JP1

  2. some comments says:

    Before I get into the NCAA football ratings, I have stopped watching the NFL 3 years ago including the super bowl. Not only have they stuck it to the Lou, Oakland and San Diego have a stink to raise. All three cities have had loyal fans stick their butts in seats to pay big bucks for a mediocre show. My son who has 4 season tickets to the 49er game dies when he hears the price I paid for season tickets at old old old Busch Stadium on Grand Ave. How does $49 bite you. I couldn’t park my car for $49 today, in the mud, at Candlestick.

    Football players were Gods to my kids who used to visit the practice facility in Redwood City on their way home from school. I certainly don’t think many of the players today deserve that adulation. My kids delivered the newspaper to many players QB’s and Line men all treated them as friends. I don’t hear stories like that anymore.

    I’ll get off my soap box before I fall off and move on to the NCAA. The various S O S have done little to say the AP Coaches, ESPN, C B S, Athlon, Congrove, Mike DeSome polls are nothing more than W/L barometers. I wish I had a way to factor in win/ loss, home field/ visitor and a S O S to really determine who has the best team. The top 5 ranked teams probably wouldn’t be there. App State has basically played the Poor Sisters of the Pink and get raves. I’ll work on it and give you a heads up when I’m close. If I don’t get a chance Have a Great Thanksgiving. HD

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