Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks to reporters during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)


Nick Saban needs to make $50 million a year. And he still may be underpaid, even at that price.

Whatever Alabama is paying him, Saban is worth every penny.

But I also think Nick Saban needs to be making half of nine figures annually doing something bigger than coaching Alabama football.

Yes, I went to Auburn. Yes, I will drink like a fish the day Saban retires. But this has nothing to do with football scores or recruiting, fall Saturdays or rivalries.

This is about leadership. Plain and simple, and our country is in dire need of it.

And Saban has it by the Coca-Cola truckloads.

Of course Alabama will not have issues of jealousy and spite because of NIL, as Paschall details here. Of course Alabama has 90% of its players vaccinated. Of course Alabama will be picked to win the league when the voting results are announced today.

And it all starts with the dude at the top.

It's impossible for me to be more impressed with a coach than I am with Saban. Period.

He's the best to ever do it. In any sport, in my opinion.


Speaking of college football

Again, you know the rules. And of course Paschall phrased it correctly that the Houston Chronicle report that Oklahoma and Texas are interested in joining the SEC-hijacked SEC Media Days on Wednesday.

It also should serve as a reminder for all of us that the future is a complete unknown in college sports, especially college football, as the long-stagnant NCAA has refused to change or lead or enforce or really do anything other than cash checks and pay Mark Emmert and his staff.

Now with that empty canvas comes who knows what.

Oklahoma and Texas in the SEC? Sure why not? A super conference of 16 teams could even be divided in four pods of four teams with SEC semifinals — two more high-dollar broadcasts, people — and an SEC title game.

Those ripples would then lead to the Big Ten and the ACC fighting like mad to lure Notre Dame. The Pac-12 looking for the scraps of a Big 12 that would be teetering on the brink of collapse.

Because four super-conferences is way easier to manage in terms of college football playoffs than a Power Five, and if those four super conferences happen, it will only hasten the decision to break away — at least and for certain in terms of football — with little to no resistance.

Do I think it will happen? No, because I think Oklahoma and Texas leaked this to improve their stakes and status in the Big 12, because without the Sooners and the Longhorns, the Big 12 is garbage in football. Plus, I think if they tried to strong-arm their way into the SEC, Congress would get involved — especially the legislators from Kansas, Iowa and a few other states that would be impacted.

So as the reports raged, the reminder here is welcome to the new world of college sports, where anything could happen. (Well, anything except Alabama losing. That's not happening as long as Saban's in T-Town.)


Olympics in flames

The details about the mismanagement of these Olympics Games make my head spin.

The director of Friday's opening ceremonies was fired Thursday for jokes he told in the 1990s about the Holocaust.

He is the fourth member of the Tokyo Olympics planning team to be dismissed, including the musical composer for Friday's event, who resigned earlier this week after horrific details of past bullying against disabled schoolmates were discovered.

Plus, Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga announced that he would not attend the event.

And all of this is not even under the COVID umbrella of controversy. According to reports, there have been 87 positive tests among those staying in the Olympic village, including U.S. tennis player Coco Gauff.

It's hard not to think that this is going to be a complete disaster.


This and that

— Braves played. Braves lost. Braves' bullpen stinks on ice. Also saw this from Dave O'Brien of The Athletic: "Pablo Sandoval, after hitting .286 (12-for-42) with four homers, 10 RBIs and a .951 OPS in his first 35 games (five starts) through May 25, is 1-for-26 with a single and one RBI in his past 28 games (one start)." At least he gives nice hugs after the other Braves hit homers.

— Lamont Paris added a nice piece from the portal when it was officially announced Wednesday that former Kansas standout Silvio De Sousa, who will join the Mocs as a grad transfer. Here's more from TFP UTC beat ace Gene Henley.

— Speaking of value in sports, how about this one: Shohei Ohtani is making $3 million this year and will head to arbitration after the 2022 season. Holy buckets of Benjamins, what will that arbitration offering start at? $35 million? And what if Ohtani hit the open market? What would the Yankees be willing to offer? A 10-year, $500-million deal? (Yes, he will be 28 in 2023, but what's the ceiling of the potential offer, not what would be the smartest contract offered?)

— Sad news about Bobby Bowden.


Today's questions

Big-picture stuff here.

We'll start with the big one: Is Saban the best to ever blow a whistle? Discuss. (Side question: Hey Vader, as an LSU follower, did you guys know Saban was this all-time-level great when he was in Red Stick?)

Second, if a college basketball player was a starter and saw meaningful minutes with Kansas, does he instantly become the best player in the SoCon when he comes to UTC?

Which way on a Thursday: Which will be the best word to describe these Olympics when they are over?

As for today, well, my mother would have been 75 today. Rest easy, Mom.

Also, Alex Trebek would have been 81 today. Rest easy, man.

Danny Glover is 75 today, so there's that. Rushmore of Danny Glover movies, because his catalog is better than you may realize, and includes "Lonesome Dove."

Go, and remember the mailbag.