All That and a Bag of Mail: Saban's Retirement Fund

Published on: October 18, 2012 | Written by: Clay Travis

By the time you read this I'll be in the air on my way to Houston.

I've got my wife and two other couples in tow -- including one A&M grad to show us around -- and we'll be waking up at dawn on Saturday to head over for the LSU-Texas A&M game. We have a tailgate set up for the game, but I'll Tweet out our location so I can meet up with as many of you who want to come by and say hi.

I can't wait.

Everything but the kickoff time should be outstanding.

Our beaver pelt trader of the week is Johnny Manziel because his performance so far this season has been otherworldly.

Now let's dive into All That and a Bag of Mail.

Every year a new Nick Saban rumor begins.

This is because Saban is the undisputed best coach in college football. Last year it was that the Texas Longhorns were going to pay him an obscene amount of money to replace Mack Brown, this year it's that the Cleveland Browns and their new owner, major University of Tennessee booster Jimmy Haslam, are going to try and hire away Saban.

Are we sure Jimmy Haslam didn't buy the Browns entirely for this season?

Buying an NFL team just to get Saban out of the SEC would be the most ridiculous SEC booster move ever. 

And that's saying something. 

Anyway, with all the Saban rumors swirling this got me wondering, how much money could SEC fans raise to get Saban to retire on Lake Burton? I mean, it's got to be worth more to the rest of the SEC for Saban to retire than Alabama pays him now, right?

Like, right now, all the talk is about who Auburn and Tennessee will hire to replace Gene Chizik and Derek Dooley.

A big reason both of these men are being replaced is an inability to compete with Saban. But do we feel entirely confident that whoever these schools hire will be able to compete with Saban? 

Wouldn't it actually be more efficient if all the schools in the SEC West and yearly opponent Tennessee just banded together and all paid Saban to retire? You could probably get schools like Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina -- those that believe they have a chance at national titles -- to also chip in since a Saban-less SEC would help them as well.

If you got those schools to pay and you raised money online from individual fans, don't you think we could raise $10 million as a retirement gift to Saban?

Right now a bunch of you are thinking, "Hell, I'd give $100 (or more) to get Saban out of the SEC." And you know your friends would do it too.

Basically, what I'm asking is, are we approaching this from the wrong angle, let's buy him out instead of trying to beat him.

Should I start a website to raise money for Nick Saban to retire?

Okay, mailbag time.

@gtholemiss Tweets:

"What are your thoughts on A.J. McCarron's mom?"

He then attached this photo, she's the one in the middle.

Alabama just claimed two more national titles.

I mean, she's a smoke show for a player mom, right?

Up until now Arian Foster's mom -- who is awesome by the way -- is the hottest SEC mom I've seen.

But I think Momma McCarron just took the title.

You can follow AJ's mom on Twitter here.

Reading through her Tweets she's actually pretty funny. Plus, with the whole meniscus story, she's more reliable than 99% of the media anyway

So now Saban gets the best players and the players with the hottest moms too?

Life's just unfair for everyone else in the SEC.

Let's buy him out.

Now.

Mr_delarosa Tweets:

"Notre Dame tramp stamp on a dude. Spotted on a cruise this week."

How does this happen? Of all the tattoos you could get and of all the locations you could get them, you get it in the lower back? That's not a tattoo that's a target.

Before most people get tattoos don't they discuss that decision with their friends? Does this mean that everyone hates this guy? It has to, right?

While we're on Notre Dame, the stupidity of the average Notre Dame fan is drastically underrated. Yes, Notre Dame is a great school, but what percentage of Notre Dame fans could actually get into Notre Dame?

One percent?

Lower?

How dumb are Notre Dame fans? I think a larger percentage of Bama fans could get into Alabama than Notre Dame fans could get into Notre Dame.

Which is saying something.

Now, Notre Dame is clearly a better school than Bama, but Notre Dame fan stupidity is much higher ranked than their football team is. We're tallking top five dumb.

Right now my dumbest fan base list would look like this:

1. Kentucky

2. Alabama

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

4. Notre Dame

5. Arkansas

@clarkwhowrites Tweets:

"You have to hire either Joker or Dooley. Who and why?"

I give up football.

Trying to answer your question, I think you have to go Joker just based on the fact that he's split head-to-head with Dooley and he's got a vastly inferior job. Both men have been in charge for 2.5 years so far and Joker is 12-20 with a 4-16 SEC record while Dooley is 14-17 overall with a 4-15 record in the SEC.

So their SEC records are nearly identical.

Which is why I have to pick Joker.

Joker might have a better record if he was at Tennessee, but do you think Dooley would have a better record than he has at UT at Kentucky?

No way.

So I think you go Joker here.

Bethany S. writes:

"As a Vol fan living in South Georgia with tix to the worlds largest cocktail party, do we go or stay home for TN vs SC?"

Is this a real question?

You go to the cocktail party.

It's awesome.

I've been to four cocktail parties and I don't give a damn who wins at all.

Plus, you can watch the UT-South Carolina game at a tailgate. It starts at noon, so it will be over by kickoff of the game that really matters. Plus, do you think Spurrier is showing mercy on Dooley? No way. It could get really ugly.

Matt Friedman writes:

"Connie Britton or Hayden Pannettiere?"

My love for Connie Britton is well known.

But, man, how hot is Hayden Pannettiere?

Did you see the scene this week where she was wearing the tiny shorts, cowboy boots, and went skinnydipping?

I'm still probably casting a ballot for Tami Taylor, but by the end of the season my vote may have changed.

Right now I'm trying to get Hayden to come on 3HL. I think there's a good chance it happens. Stay tuned.

Cole W. writes:

"As a Duck who just moved to Tuscaloosa from Oregon, whose fiancee is an Bama fan, I need to know proper etiquette on cheering."

When Alabama wins, you find passed out opposing fans and put your balls on their heads.

Do that and you're good to go.

(By the way, ESPN is doing a feature article and Outside the Lines special on the teabagger. I'm quoted as an expert so you can look forward to that. It's kind of a career highlight.)

Seriously though, I can't imagine being a Duck fan in Alabama this year. Especially if that game happens. Is there a really big Alabama fan who lives in Eugene? If so, it is one billion percent more bearable. I guarantee it.

I feel pretty confident that we're rolling towards an Alabama-Oregon BCS title game.

Of course anytime you feel confident about something in college football disaster ensues.

So we'll see.

If we've learned anything from the Derek Dooley era at Tennessee it's to expect the most ridiculous outcome. And what would be more ridiculous than Dooley upsetting Saban and then meeting him at midfield in a wheelchair?

Adam Michael Tweets:

"Doesn't Dave Hart have to fire Dooley mid season, assuming losses to Bama and USC, to get ahead in the coaching search?"

This is a good question and one I was debating with my friend Chad Withrow at 104.5.

It gets down to whether Dave Hart considers a 7-5 season to be worthy of keeping Dooley. In that case you've lost to all the big opponents on the schedule and your best win is what, N.C. State at a neutral site, Vandy on the road? I mean, the pickings are slim. 

That's why I asked Dooley on Wednesday whether he'd been given any indication that he had to beat Alabama or South Carolina to keep his job. His response? "I don't know."

If you've seen enough at that point to fire him, I think pulling the trigger after the South Carolina game makes sense. Why? Because it's the same road map that Mike Hamilton followed on firing Fulmer in 2008. Fulmer was 2-6 after the South Carolina loss, but the final four games of the season the Vols would still be favored to win. So if Fulmer won those four and got UT bowl eligible it would be harder to fire him then. Because even if your team is mediocre or bad, you want to fire at the absolute bottom.

Losing to South Carolina would probably be the bottom for Dooley. 

And if he wasn't fired he'd still have a decent chance to string together four wins and get to 7-5. 

Then it's harder to fire him after the season. 

Especially with other schools all trying to get involved in the coaching search. 

So, yeah, I think Hart needs to make his mind up by the end of the South Carolina game. Especially if he's interested in chasing Jon Gruden or Bobby Petrino, two coaches that are out of work right now. Remember that news of Mike Hamilton hiring Lane Kiffin was out before the season even ended. In fact, the day of Fulmer's final game at UT, the front page of the Knoxville newspaper was about Lane Kiffin's hiring.  

We'll see what happens, but if Dooley loses to Bama and South Carolina and isn't fired before the Troy game, I think it's a tacist acknowledgment that he has a good shot of surviving the 7-5 season. If he's fired, I think it's a good sign that Dave Hart is going to make a legitimate run at hiring Jon Gruden.  

@david_simone Tweets:

"When Dooley gets fired what will be the top five moments he will be remembered for as a Vol?"

I'm using "top five" in the context of things you will actually remember, as opposed to a top five wins because there are barely enough to make a top five: on the road at Vandy, at home against Cincinnati, neutral site at N.C. State, overtime against UAB, seriously it's almost impossible to come up with five good wins.

Anyway, here's my top five Dooley moments:

1. 13 men on the field at LSU

This will truly be remembered for ever.

2. Losing the Music City Bowl despite UNC having twenty guys on the field.

The fact that both of these things happened in his first season is completely underrated.

3. The orange pants. 

4. The first forty minutes of the 2012 Florida game. 

5. Beating Vandy in overtime and being lifted up in the air by his team.

Honorable mention: when the team carried Matt Simms off the field after his overtime touchdown throw against UAB.  

So, yeah, it's been a long three years.  

...

Can't wait for College Station!

Here are my picks this week. I'm now 16-8 against the spread on the season so all of you should be rich by now.

LSU -3 at Texas A&M

Vandy -6.5 vs. Auburn

South Carolina +4 at Florida

Georgia -26 at Kentucky

If you want a bonus pick, I'd take the over in UT-Bama. It's presently 55.

Finally, as a picture bonus, thank AJeray4Tenn for this spectacular image of Dooley leading the Vols through the T on a Rascal.