NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — For many college football fans around the nation, it would seem almost befitting that seven-time national championship coach Nick Saban was born on Halloween.
The Alabama Crimson Tide head coach turned 70 on Sunday, Oct. 31.
And as the years fly by – and national championship trophies continue to pile up – it seems like only yesterday that former Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin referred to the then-four-time national championship coach as “Nicky Satan” in 2013.
Franklin, who spent three seasons with the Commodores before taking the helm at Penn State, would go on to apologize for the reference by saying he had “tremendous respect” for Saban, and that “it was merely a joke.”
Franklin went 24-15 (11-13 in the SEC) during his three-year tenure at Vanderbilt, and only faced Saban once – losing in a 34-0 blowout during his debut season in 2011.
Just a few months after Franklin’s remarks, then-Florida offensive line coach Tim Davis referred to Saban as the “Devil himself” when talking about his time spent with colleague Will Muschamp under Saban while at the Miami Dolphins.
But with Davis now serving as the O-line coach at Southern Oregon, along with 263 defeated opponents and thousands upon thousands of fans left on the outside looking in, one can only presume Saban is largely unaffected by people’s perceptions.
With the Crimson Tide (7-1. 4-1) coming off an open date, Nick Saban and company will not have long to celebrate his birthday as Bama begins preparations to host the beleaguered LSU (4-4, 2-3) Tigers on Saturday, Nov. 6.
Tiger-faithful have a love-hate relationship with Saban, with an emphasis on the latter after Saban guided LSU to a national title in 2003 – the school’s first since 1958.
While Alabama returned the favor in Baton Rouge last year with a 55-17 drubbing of the Tigers in Death Valley, this week’s game will mark the first time LSU has returned to Tuscaloosa since Orgeron declared that Bryant-Denny Stadium is “our house from now on.”
And when taking into consideration other coaches’ unflattering description of Saban, one can only believe that for the Tigers, payback could be Hell.