Can't Wait For Saturday | When it comes to college football coaches, there is the GOAT (Saban) and everyone else

Jan. 11—Sign up for our daily Illini football newsletter here

Greetings from "Can't Wait For Saturday," your morning morsel of college football, courtesy of longtime Illini beat writer, AP Top 25 voter and Heisman state rep Bob Asmussen. He'll give you his views each day on the game he loves.


We all knew this day was coming. But hoped it would be later rather than sooner.

Nick Saban is stepping away at Alabama after the best run by a coach in the history of the college game. Six national titles and 16 Top 10 finishes in 17 seasons. There will never be another like him.

I think it's cool that he went out near the top. The Crimson Tide took eventual national champ Michigan to overtime in the semifinal. If a player or two had gone different, it could have easily been Saban getting the Gatorade bath in Houston.

There is literally nothing else for him to prove. He is the best ever and will always be the best ever. Not that those kind of titles seem to matter to him.

You have to think he is set money-wise. Alabama paid him a fortune and his Aflac commercials and other endorsements are worth a reported $5 million annually. Cha-ching.

He is 72 years old and seemingly in great shape physically and mentally. Hard to imagine him sitting around the house watching "The Price is Right." Unless that is what he wants to do.

Saban has always been blunt about his opinions and also has a sneaky good sense of humor. He would be a natural on TV if he wants to do that.

Heck, I'd make him Commissioner of College Football tomorrow if he is wiling to take the job.

I've had a few chances to interview Saban during his career, including a pleasant summer phone conversation when he was at Michigan State.

My most recent encounter with the great one was at the 2002 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. His LSU team plastered Big Ten champion Illinois, Two years later, he led the Tigers to the national title. Four years after that he was off to Alabama. And the rest is history.

Alabama is going to hire a great coach. But he won't be Saban. A mere mortal will now be in charge.