Having to coach against Nick Saban has proven to be a ridiculously tough task. The Alabama head coach is a living legend and arguably the best to ever pace the college football sidelines. Imagine what it would be like to face that style multiple times each year.
That’s life in the Southeastern Conference right now.
Following what many perceived as a down year for the nation’s most powerful league, several schools — six, to be exact — cleaned house and are ushering in new eras in 2018.
With Tennessee hiring former Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and Texas A&M paying an outrageous amount of money to get Jimbo Fisher to leave Florida State, there are now four head coaches in the SEC with ties to Saban, who has won five of the last nine national championships with Alabama.
If you include Saban, that means over 35 percent of the league is made up of the same coaching DNA.
That’s pretty crazy considering how revered the conference is as a whole.
Fisher and South Carolina’s Will Muschamp coached under Saban at LSU, while Pruitt and Georgia’s Kirby Smart each spent time in Tuscaloosa, Alabama since Saban took over the program back in 2007.
Those coaches have combined for a 147-62 record at the helm and Fisher won the national title with the Seminoles during the 2013-14 season.
That doesn’t include other some other pupils, too.
Derek Dooley and Florida Atlantic’s Lane Kiffin each coached at Tennessee, and Jim McElwain was the head coach at Florida for three season until he was fired after the 2017 season and taking the wide receivers coaching vacancy at Michigan.
Add in Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio and former Spartans head coach Bobby Williams when Saban paced the sidelines in East Lansing, Michigan in the late 1990s, and you have one of the most powerful coaching trees around.
So while it is not rare to see a Saban protege as a head coach in the SEC, just know this is the strongest it has ever been.
Saban’s impact clearly extends much beyond Bryant-Denny Stadium and the rest of the league, and country, is about to see just how mighty that is.