It’s crazy right? How in the world does Nick Saban — a college football coach at Alabama — have any control over John Calipari at Kentucky? Well, this might be some kind of witchcraft or a really bizarre coincidence. Either way, if you hear this out, I think you’ll be happy with the end result.
Thanks to my friend @jsmith4415 for making the eerie connections here.
Nick Saban — Returned Alabama back to glory from a long down period. Under a handful of temporary coaches, the Crimson Tide lost 24 games in the four years leading up to Saban’s hire. In his six years at the helm, Saban has only lost 13 games… Six of which came in that first-year transition phase.
John Calipari — Returned Kentucky back to glory from a long down period. Going back to the final two years of Tubby Smith and the tumultuous two-year tenure of Billy Gillispie, Kentucky was in a very similar spot that Alabama was leading up to its home-run hire. Calipari didn’t have the transition season that Saban did, but he without a doubt returned Kentucky to the limelight.
Nick Saban — Put Alabama in its first BCS game since 1998. Alabama charged out of the gate, posting a perfect 12-0 record heading into the SEC Championship game. Its next two losses would come consecutively to Florida for the conference crown, and Utah in the Sugar Bowl. The loss capped off a season where expectations were reasonably high, but it left fans wanting more.
John Calipari — Put Kentucky in its first Final Four since 1998. Kentucky did not so much charge out of the gate like Alabama, as much as it paced itself throughout the season. The Cats were playing some of the best basketball at the right time in March and would take a six-game winning streak into the NCAA Tournament. Its next loss would come to Connecticut in Houston.
Nick Saban — Won a National Championship. Alabama was the most dominating team from the start of the season to the end, without question. The Crimson Tide — in most instances — cruised to the title game and beat the Texas Longhorns by more than two touchdowns. Furthermore, the Tide’s star player Mark Ingram became the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner before being drafted by New Orleans.
John Calipari — Won a National Championship. Kentucky was the most dominating team from the start of the season to the end, without question. The Cats had a few close-calls along the way, but there was hardly a doubt which team was the best in college basketball. What’s more, UK’s star player Anthony Davis became the school’s first Wooden Award winner before being drafted by New Orleans.
Nick Saban — Saban and the Tide take a dip down in production and don’t live up to preseason expectations. A few regular season losses is all it takes for Alabama to fall out of contention for a BCS game, and the Tide have to settle for the Capital One Bowl with a 10-3 record. It’s not an abysmal season, but it certainly came as unexpected. Perhaps worst of all for Alabama was that rival Auburn won it all.
John Calipari — Caliapri and the Wildcats take a dip down in production and don’t live up to preseason expectations. Unlike Alabama here, the “dip down” in production was a bit more drastic than a “dip,” but unexpected results occurred nonetheless. It is Calipari’s worst season to date, and if you consider Alabama’s first season as a rebuilding year, (something much more necessary in college football) it was also Saban’s worst. Perhaps worst of all for Kentucky was that rival Louisville won it all.
Nick Saban — A second National Championship. Much like the 2009 campaign, Alabama began the season at the top (along with conference foe LSU) and hardly waivered. A lone loss to the aforementioned conference foe in the regular season is the only hiccup on the schedule for Saban. He would hoist a second trophy for the Crimson Tide after a 21-0 drubbing in the championship game; payback for that lone loss.
John Calipari – Hmmm. What is the pattern here? The most heralded recruiting class in college basketball history is headed to Lexington and the Cats are poised for a revenge tour around the SEC. Is it time for payback?