DEVILLE: Saying it best by saying nothing

Awww, to hell with it. Somebody say it! Just once, say it already!!

It'll never happen, but just once you'd like to see a coach come out and say it.

And considering these two coaches, they have both had problems in the past with saying too much. Now when you want them to say something, they're all tight-lipped, carefully choosing their words.

Both Les Miles and Nick Saban can spew the company line all they want, but in this case, everyone knows the truth.

Saturday's LSU game is entirely about the coaches.

The players know it.

The fans know it.

Mike the Tiger and Big Al are both aware of it.

Even the coaches themselves know it.

But, here again, no one's talking.

"It's more about our players and their players than the coach," Miles said last week. "It's certainly more about two quality schools and two dynamic teams, not necessarily about Saban and Miles."

Saban sounded quite similar in his comments regarding the upcoming LSU-Alabama game during a teleconference-style speech to a booster group in Mobile last Monday.

"I want to get something straight with everybody out there right now," Saban said. "This game is about the players. Somebody will probably try to make this game about the coaches, and that the coach that is talking to you now used to coach at this certain place. But it's not about that."


Come on, guys. Seriously. I know you've both got more to say than that.

Hey Les, I wish you'd rattle off something similar to your remarks at the Bayou Bash last February regarding "%&#@*$^" Alabama. That'd spice it up a bit. Maybe something else about your dislike of the color red. Y'know, anything at all.

And Nick, you don't get off so easy either.

It's pretty safe to say you know a lot about putting your foot in your mouth. That whole "I will not be the next coach at Alabama" thing isn't going to be forgotten anytime soon.

By the way, aren't you the coach there now?

Yeah, everyone wants to hear them say it, but both coaches – Miles and Saban – are minding their p's and q's leading up to this game. No fiery speeches, no name calling, nothing FUN! Just good ol' fashioned coachspeak.

Like this game needs any other hype, though. LSU's showdown with Alabama Saturday in Tuscaloosa will be a circus, complete with all three rings and a big elephant.

It is already being billed "The Saban Bowl." Every columnist in America has been rattling off editorials for weeks on end about the matchup, constantly quoting both coaches saying "It's not about the coaches."

HOGWASH! It's all about the coaches, period.

No one wants to get ready for this game talking about John Parker Wilson, or whether Ryan Perrilloux will throw it or run (or play at all, for that matter), or which LSU running back won't get to carry the ball in the second half. Hell no! They want to debate Miles vs. Saban, who's better, who'll win, and will they throwdown at the 50 following the contest.

Seriously, though, this is a big game for both coaches in terms of their futures at each respective school.

First for Saban.

The Nicktator left the Dolphins and (good thing) headed to Tuscaloosa in hopes of resurrecting the Tide's once-proud program. Bama fans wanted instant success, but Saban and the Alabama brass were preaching patience.

Well, Saban has the Crimson Tide on the cusp of returning to the SEC Championship Game for the first time since 1999. While Alabama's march to Atlanta still goes through Auburn, Saban and the Tide could relish the SEC West's top spot by beating LSU and Miles and douse water on the Tigers' national title hopes.

On top of all of that, a win over the No. 3-ranked team would do wonders in terms of jumpstarting the Alabama program, getting it back on the road to SEC dominance.

A loss means nothing, really, other than it would be Alabama's third of the year. Realists never expected the Tide to win the SEC West, much less make it to Atlanta. Eight or nine wins was expected of Saban in year one; and even if it loses to the Tigers, the Tide still has a chance to reach that mark with winnable games against Miss. State and Louisiana-Monroe, including a bowl game.

A win for Miles, and LSU is likely headed to the SEC Championship Game and possibly the BCS title game, in what would be the coronation of Miles as "The Man" in Baton Rouge. Moreover, it would allow the Tigers' third-year coach to shine some serious light on that pesky Saban shadow that has loomed so large over his head since he arrived in Baton Rouge in January of 2005.

A loss? Ouch.

Talk about the wheels coming off. If LSU loses, the Tigers can seriously forget about a national title because they likely aren't even going to Atlanta. Alabama would be a favorite to make it to the Georgia Dome; however, the Tide's date with Auburn still looms large.

And who would be responsible for Miles' and the Tigers' dashed title hopes?

Who else … Nick Saban.

So go ahead, Les and Nick. Say it 'til you're blue in the face, but this game is entirely about the coaches.

And don't you forget it.


Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag. Reach him at

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