Polarizing ex-Auburn football HC flexes on Nick Saban while addressing NIL

Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Polarizing former Auburn football head coach and current Alabama senator Tommy Tuberville flexed on Nick Saban in the opening graphs of his OutKick op-ed addressing the issue of NIL in the current college football landscape; stating he's proud of being one of the only coaches with a winning record against the consensus coaching G.O.A.T.

"Earlier this month, college football lost the greatest coach college sports has ever seen: Coach Nick Saban," Tuberville prefaced before saying, "His retirement was treated with the gravity of a funeral by Alabama fans and by football fans around the country.

"Coach Saban’s achievements may never be surpassed: seven National Championships and 11 SEC Championships. I’m proud to call Coach Saban a great friend and a fierce competitor, and I’m also proud to be the only coach to beat Saban four times and one of the only coaches to have a winning record against him. Coach Saban’s retirement is a big loss for football fans, but the worst may be to come."

Auburn football ceiling infinitely higher in the post-Nick Saban era

Saban's retirement wasn't enough to knock Alabama out of the top in recruiting during the 2024 cycle, but Kalen DeBoer faces an uphill climb in the coming years as he looks to maintain the stronghold the Crimson Tide have had on the state of Alabama. In fact, he needs to continue wooing that No. 2 recruiting class this spring after a mass exodus of now-ex-commits this past offseason.

Many recruits signed up for Saban. The Alabama brand without him will be put to the test moving forward, and even a little bit of leeway in this sport could allow major changes.

Hugh Freeze has done the work to put Auburn back in the conversations for top recruits across the state, and if he plays his cards right, he can make the Plains the home of a perennial winner in the post-Saban era.