The Teacher, Still Perfect Over the Students
Nick Saban is arguably the greatest college football coach of all time. The Crimson Tide head coach has won six national championships, eight SEC championships, one MAC championship and 12 SEC West titles. He has been named SEC Coach of the Year four times in his career and various other organizations have named him coach of the year over the course of his illustrious career.
When you're involved in the game for as long as Coach Saban its inevitable that he'll end up opposing some of his former employees on the gridiron.
Saban is a perfect 19-0 when it comes to taking on his former assistant coaches and when the Tide takes on the Texas A&M Aggies this weekend, Saban will have to contend with another of his former employees. In fact, Saban will face a former assistant coach in each of the next four games on the Alabama schedule.
Jimbo Fisher (2000-2004): Coach Saban is a perfect 3-0 against his former offensive coordinator. He beat him once while Fisher was leading Florida State and twice more as head man of the Aggies. Saban is going for his fourth win in four consecutive years this weekend. Fisher served as Saban's offensive coordinator at LSU and helped Saban win his first national championship with the Tigers in 2003.
Lane Kiffin (2014-2016): Saban's former offensive coordinator will host the Crimson Tide on Oct. 10 for his second matchup ever against Nick Saban and his first as a former assistant. Kiffin lost his only matchup with Saban while he was head coach of the Tennessee Vols in 2009 in the famous "Rocky Block" game. He came to work for Saban as offensive coordinator in 2014 and departed for a job with FAU.
Kirby Smart (2006-2015): Kirby Smart worked for Saban for 10 years as safeties coach, defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator. Saban is 2-0 against his long-time lieutenant, having defeated him twice in championship games. Saban pulled off two fourth quarter comebacks against Smart's Bulldogs, the famous "2nd & 26" in the 2017 CFP National Title Game and in Jalen Hurts' comeback in the 2018 SEC Championship Game. This year will be the first time the two coaches meet in the regular season and will also be Smart's return to Tuscaloosa.
Jeremy Pruitt (2007-2012, 2016-2017): Jeremy Pruitt has had two cracks at his old head coach and come up short both times as head coach of the University of Tennessee. He also lost to a Saban led team in 2015 while serving as defensive coordinator for the University of Georgia. Pruitt worked for Saban in the player development side of things, he was promoted to defensive backs coach and then left for a position at Florida State and then Georgia. Pruitt returned to lead the Crimson Tide defense in 2016 and helped Saban win his sixth national title in 2017.
The Crimson Tide faces a challenging stretch of opponents as the next four teams on the schedule are very talented. Alabama will need to bring its "A" game on the field if Saban is to keep his perfect record against his old assistant coaches in perfect order.