The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

July 18, 2013

Saban: No reason for Bryant comparisons

By Jonathan Deal
jonathan@athensnews-courier.com

Hoover — HOOVER - Nick Saban was at it again Thursday, dismissing any talk about a three-peat despite the fact that his team was the overwhelming choice by the media to bring home the SEC’s eight consecutive national title.

Saban was also quick to set aside any notion that he is on the same level as legendary coach Paul “Bear “ Bryant.

“I don't think I have any reason that anybody should do that,” he said about the comparisons. “I think Bear Bryant is probably the greatest coach in college football in terms of what he accomplished, what his legacy is.”

Saban’s opened his appearance speaking about the challenge of rebuilding his team after losing so much talent, mostly to the NFL last year.

“It's a challenge each year to reinvent your team,” he said. “You always lose good players. “You always lose about 25 percent of your team in college. So it creates new opportunities for other players who may not have the same experience.”

Schedule

The issue of scheduling was a hot topic at Media Days. All the coaches were ask their opinion and Saban did not shy away from giving his.

“There can never be an equal path to the championship,” he said. “Unless everybody plays everybody, that's the only equal path to championship.”

Saban was asked the question after LSU coach Les Miles brought up the topic earlier in the day, saying LSU and Auburn have a scheduling disadvantage due to playing tougher opponents in the Eastern Conference.

Alabama’s Eastern Conference opponent’s this season – Tennessee and Kentucky – went a combined 1-15 in SEC play last year while LSU will play Florida and Georgia who were 14-2 in 2012.

“I understand where Les Miles is coming from,” said Saban. “I coached at LSU. We played Florida every year, too. So if anybody understands it, I understand it.”

Parting shot

As he always does, Saban thanked the more than 1,200 media members gathered at the Wynfrey Hotel, but couldn’t help poking fun at the media’s poor record in previous seasons picking the SEC champion.

“I'd also like to make a note here that in the last 21 seasons, you as the media have only picked the right team four times to win the SEC,” he said. “Now, if I was 4-17 as a coach, I would be back in West Virginia pumping my gas at my daddy's gas station, which we don't really want to go there”