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Doc 5: Best college football coaching backouts -- No. 5 Nick Saban


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ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 17: Nick Saban, head coach of the Miami Dolphins, stands on the sidelines in the fourth quarter of a 21-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills on December 17, 2006 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.

The Masters isn’t going to be the same without Tiger Woods.

Woods announced last week that he would not play in golf’s most famous tournament while recovering from back surgery. While this was sad news, it gave us a good idea for this week’s Doc 5 — the best backouts by college football coaches.

You know what we’re talking about; when a beloved coach claims he only has eyes for his current school and then the next day he’s giving a press conference about how fill-in-the-blank new school is his dream job.

Then one fan base celebrates their new coach while the other loathes him and creates websites and T-shirts and parody Twitter accounts dedicated to him.

Yeah, that guy.

Sadly, there have been a lot of quality backouts in college football, but we’ve compiled our five favorite.



Nick Saban should have never left college football.

During his five seasons at LSU, Saban compiled a 48-16 record, won two SEC titles, a national title and took the Tigers to two BCS bowl games. He was in a great spot, but when the Miami Dolphins came calling, he couldn’t resist the thrill of a new challenge.

"When I was in college it was always about coming to the pros. This is the challenge I wanted," Saban said in 2007. "I had a good college job. Why would I have left that if I was going to be interested in other college jobs?

"I took this as a challenge. We certainly haven't seen this through and gotten where we want to go and finished the job here, so why would I be interested in something else?"

But it didn’t quite work out that way.

Saban wasn’t built to be a professional coach. He wanted to teach the game not manage it. He made some poor calls on players such as Drew Brees and Daunte Caulpepper and they came back to hurt the Dolphins during Saban's second season and the season after he left.

But the reason Miami fans despised (and still despise) Saban is because of the way he left. For five weeks, Saban denied he was leaving Miami to take the job at Alabama. Two weeks before he actually accepted the job, Saban declared, “"I'm not going to be the Alabama coach.”

But on Jan. 4, 2007, he left the Dolphins high and dry after compiling a 15-17 record there.

"What I realized in the last two years is that we love college coaching because of the ability that it gives you to affect people, young people," Saban said in 2010. "If I knew that my heart was someplace else in what I wanted to do, I don't think it would be fair to the [Dolphins] organization if I stayed."

Three years later, Saban would go on record as saying he handled the process poorly. That when he was first asked about leaving Miami for Alabama he should have ignored the questions and moved on.

"I kept getting asked about this over and over and over, and in trying to defuse the interest and leave the focus on our team in Miami," Saban said. "I had a responsibility and obligation to the players on that team, the coaches on the staff, and I didn’t want that to be the focus of attention.”

The year Saban left, Miami went 1-15 and has had just one winning season since.

Alabama has been a different story.

The Tide have become one of the greatest college football programs in history and Saban has solidified his spot in the College Football Hall of Fame. He’s 85-17 during his eight seasons with the Tide and won three national championships. He even has a statue on campus.

Alabama continues to rake in the nation’s top recruiting classes and will be tough to unseat from its perch among college football’s elite.

“Would I manage it differently? Absolutely," Saban said in 2010. "I would still have the same integrity for our team, but I just would not answer any questions relative to Alabama… I do apologize for any professional mishandling that might have occurred.”

Even eight seasons later, Miami fans are still holding a grudge.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter

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