What Effect Does AU Action Have At UA?

As reporters waited for Alabama Coach Nick Saban to come to his press briefing following Wednesday's practice, we speculated on what he might say about the reported firing of Tommy Tuberville by Auburn earlier in the day. For the most part, Saban was as expected, albeit more emotional.

There were at least two aspects of the Auburn firing related to Alabama, and specifically to Nick Saban.

One was how much effect Saban has had on the firing of Tuberville, and perhaps to the dismissals of Tennessee Phillip Fulmer, Mississippi State's Sylvester Croom, and Clemson's Tommy Bowden. All were coaches at teams beaten by Alabama this year.

Although Clemson's slide started with its upset loss to Alabama in the opening game of the year, it is more likely that the overall disappointment of the start of the Clemson season resulted in that change. (Incidentally, former Tide player and assistant coach Dabo Swinney got that job.)

Mississippi State is a near impossible job and it's just a matter of time before every head coach there gets fired. Ole Miss' success under Houston Nutt, and the Rebels' romp of the Bulldogs in the final game of the regular season probably had more to do with Croom's firing than the loss State had to Alabama.

Tennessee and Auburn are different matters. Both have fan bases that expect to be at least equal to Alabama. In recent years, the fans of Tennessee and Auburn have expected to be superior to the Crimson Tide.

That's where Saban comes into the situation. In just his second year at the helm of the Crimson Tide, he has made Bama a dominant program (we'll see Saturday if it's already THE dominant football team in the Southestern Conference).

One would have to be naive to believe that the perception of Bama being back in such a big way did not have something to do with Fulmer and Tuberville, two very successful coaches, being unceremoniously fired.

And who could blame Les Myles at LSU from being nervous?

The other aspect of the Auburn firing relating to Alabama regards the replacement of Tuberville.

No doubt Auburn can find a warm body to take a high-paying job, but what coach would consider the Auburn job to be a good one with Saban in the same state? Probably none.

Saban likely could care less who takes the Auburn job, but it will be interesting to see.

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