After that 42-14 beatdown Alabama put on Notre Dame in Monday’s BCS National Championship, there’s a lot of questions one could ask.
Have the Crimson Tide established itself as a true dynasty? How did this dominant Alabama squad lose to Johnny Football’s Texas A&M team in November? Who’s playing the Tide in next year’s national title game? Will Alabama ever lose again?
For me, there’s only one question to ask: What will it take for Nick Saban to be Texas’ next head football coach? Whatever it is, the Longhorns should be prepared to pay it.
Saban has made it clear he currently has no interest in going to the NFL. He’s been there, done that. Not his thing. Despite those two years as the Miami Dolphins head coach in 2005 and 2006, Saban has managed to win not just three national championships in the last four years, but four in the last eight.
Forbes recently labeled Texas as the most valuable college football program in the country. The Wall Street Journal estimated that the Longhorns’ football program is worth $761.7 million — about $1.7 million more than the Jacksonville Jaguars were sold for last November.
In other words, handing Saban a blank check to coach at Texas and paying Brown’s buyout, which currently stands at $2.75 million (down from $3.5 million eight days ago), should be no problem.
This isn’t to say Mack Brown shouldn’t lead the Longhorns or that he should be run out of town to make room for Saban right now. The what-have-you-done-for-me-lately standard would assert otherwise, but winning close to 10 games a year for the last 15 years is no small feat. Capturing two Big 12 titles and one national title makes for an impressive resume — one that the vast majority of coaches can’t match.
But Saban can. In 17 years as a head coach in college football, he has yet to have a losing season. He’s won nearly three-quarters of his games during that time and has 50 more victories (63) than defeats (13) at Alabama. After the $400,000 bonus he received for winning another national title Monday, Saban earned nearly $6 million this season, making him the highest-paid coach in the nation.
Mack Brown, a close second, recently had his contract with Texas through 2020, much like Saban did at Alabama. He says he’s in it for the long haul, but he’s either going to turn things around for the Longhorns and be satisfied with leaving the program better than he left it or continue to muddle through mediocrity, leaving frustrated fans to call for his head.
Saban is the best in the business. When Brown steps down, Texas should be willing to pay him like it.