When Nick Saban told a group of Alabama boosters that Texas A&M had “bought every player” in their No. 1-ranked recruiting class, it’s unlikely he knew the firestorm those comments would create. The back-and-forth between Saban and Jimbo Fisher put college football on the front page in May as two of the top coaches in the game allowed bad blood to spill into the spotlight.
We’ve already covered Saban’s original comments Wednesday, Fisher’s fiery response Thursday, a follow-up apology from Saban later that day and a public reprimand from SEC commissioner Greg Sankey for both coaches.
Spurrier was happy to weigh in on the spat in a conversation with DawgNation, where he questioned why Fisher had gotten so upset with Saban’s original comments, asking, “Did Saban say something that wasn’t true?”
“I don’t think Saban told any lies in there, so I don’t know what [Fisher] was mad about,” Spurrier said this week. “Since [Fisher] beat him last year, I guess he can talk now. He hasn’t beat much of anybody, but he beat Saban last year. But they haven’t won the division or anything since he’s been there.”
That “but they haven’t won the division” is a classic Spurrier dig to cut down a rival, following in the footsteps of how he’d talk about Clemson when he was at South Carolina or any number of rivals (Florida State and Tennessee come to mind) from his time at Florida.
Saban’s apology indicated that he should not have named any names, but the insinuation that Texas A&M is operating outside of the rules is what drew Fisher’s ire. It prompted the Aggies coach, who was an offensive coordinator for Saban at LSU, to attack not just the comments but the Alabama coach and how he’s viewed and treated in the college football community.
“It’s amazing. Some people think they’re God. Go dig into how ‘God’ did his deal. You may find out about a lot of things you don’t want to know,” Fisher said Thursday.
“We build him up to be the czar of football,” he continued. “Go dig into his past or anybody 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; it really is.”
Spurrier always had a good sense for how to stir things up during talking season, but even his most fiery war of words rarely got as personal as this Saban-Fisher spat became this week.
In case you haven’t done so already, go ahead circle Oct. 8 for the date when these two square off the field in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Either Saban will get revenge and maintain Alabama’s spot as the team to beat in the SEC West, or Fisher will get even more fuel for his fire carrying two straight wins against one of the greatest coaches in college football history.