Analyst on Nick Saban’s Scheduling Complaints: “Tennessee is in Alabama’s head”

Nick Saban’s scheduling complaints — those regarding potential permanently fixed Alabama opponents when the SEC’s scheduling is rearranged upon adding Texas and Oklahoma in 2024 — to Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger in a piece published March 3 have been seen as a sign of weakness by Saturday Down South’s Matt Hayes.

Hayes believes Tennessee is successfully in the head of the Crimson Tide coach.

“Tennessee is in Alabama’s head,” he wrote. “Let’s all pause briefly, and stand and applaud Josh Heupel. He not only beat Alabama last season in Year 2 in Knoxville, he already has Saban complaining about having to play the Vols — which just so happens to be 1 of the top 5 rivalries in SEC history.”

Hayes believes Saban recognized the threat Tennessee now poses after two years of instilling head coach Josh Heupel’s no-huddle offense and even legitimized it.

“After beating Tennessee 8 times by at least 31 points, after completely destroying an historic SEC rivalry, Saban legitimized 2 years of Heupel’s rebuilding after a last-second field goal snapped 15 years of Tennessee futility in the series — and more than 2 decades since the Vols were nationally prominent,” Hayes wrote.

Analyst Says Nick Saban “Whined” About Facing Tennessee

Hayes rode the narrative that Saban was childlike in his ranting and raving about not wanting to play Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn annually once the SEC does away with the current two-division system.

“The biggest, baddest coach on the block is whining about having to play the Vols every year and complaining again about a tempo offense,” Hayes said about Saban’s comments.

Hayes believes Heupel understands what he has in Tennessee after successfully instilling his schemes and a winning culture. He also doesn’t value whether or not Saban is willing to admit that himself.

“Understand this: Heupel is wildly competitive, and he knows he has it turned at Tennessee,” Hayes wrote. “He knows this program is on the verge of making a significant move not seen in Knoxville since the late 1990s. He doesn’t need anyone to tell him the program is dangerously close to something unique. He knows it.”

Nick Saban Disagreed With Formula For Permanent SEC Foes

Saban’s comments about the prospect of being locked into yearly rivalry games against Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn mainly centered around how the conference’s scheduling formula didn’t take into account any recent success.

“They said they did a 10-year whatever,” Saban said to Sports Illustrated. “Well, some of those years, Tennessee wasn’t as good as they’ve been in the previous 10 years, but now they are as good as they used to be before those 10 years.”

Saban commented on the lack of balance the aforementioned scheduling arrangement would bring. “We got three teams and two of them are in the top 10 and the other is in the top 10 a lot,” Saban said. “Look historically over a 25-year history, and the three best teams in the East are Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. You look historically at 25 years, Alabama, LSU and Auburn are the three best teams in the West. So we’re playing them all.”

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