College football needed this.

I know the greatest defensive lineman in the history of college football, Pete Jenkins, disagrees with me, but I personally needed something like this. Jenkins recently joined The Morning Drive with Aaron and Jake to express his disappointment in the headlines Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher created together, clearly stating that those grievances with one another should not have been aired in the public. But it lit a fire in me.

For months my passion for college football has been put to the test, not unlike several of you who I’ve spoken to. Of course, that’s a direct result of the transfer portal and NIL deals that have generated problem after problem, which Jenkins agreed in our interview that college football was in the worst place it’s ever been in. Last week’s tiff between Saban and Fisher almost made it all worth it.

Saban hurled the first insult on Wednesday.

“I mean, we were second in recruiting last year,” Saban told a group of local business leaders. “A&M was first. A&M bought every player on their team -- made a deal for name, image, likeness. We didn’t buy one player, all right? But I don’t know if we’re going to be able to sustain that in the future because more and more people are doing it. It’s tough.”

Now I’ll be honest — I thought it was uncharacteristic of Saban to deliver his message in such a sloppy fashion. Saban’s the best at using a platform to get a message across, but he regretfully misfired.

I agree with his sentiment. This is taking college football down a path that will ultimately harm the sport, and I’ve written about this numerous times already in the last year. But for him to single out Fisher and Texas A&M for taking advantage of the loophole better than he has at Alabama, well, it came off extremely hypocritical.

Fisher answered with a press conference Thursday. And honestly, I could quote the entire thing. I put it on in the background at 10 a.m., while I was getting some work done, and by the end of the conference, I was front and center while reaching for the popcorn. I was texting buddies, like I normally do on fight night. “Hey man, you have to click this YouTube link! Fisher is going off!”

“Some people think they’re God,” said Fisher, as I slipped that popcorn bag in the microwave. “Go dig into how God did his deal. You may find out ... a lot of things you don’t want to know. We build him up to be the czar of football. Go dig into his past, or anybody’s that’s ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to find out, what he does and how he does it. It’s despicable.”

Saban came back and apologized for singling out both Fisher and Jackson State, but he remained strong in his convictions about the state of college football.

For me, personally, it was nice to see some life injected into the sport. The ratings continue to slip, and prior to this, I didn’t see a reason why it would suddenly explode again nationally with the ongoing issues and lack of parity in the sport overall. But now I find myself excited for SEC Media Days, where you know both coaches will be asked about this incident. And that will add further fuel to what should be the most watched college football game of the year, Alabama vs. Texas A&M.

Folks can debate all day long about which coach was in the wrong, and whether or not NIL deals are good for the sport. Quite frankly, I’ve grown tired of those conversations. My only concern now is fast-forwarding these next few months to get to college football’s biggest game of the season. 

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