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Can you imagine Nick Saban leaving Alabama for Bucs?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

You can imagine him pulling into the parking lot at Raymond James Stadium, his trophies lined up on his car like hood ornaments.

You can imagine him waving to what there is of the crowd, his championship rings glistening in the sun.

You can imagine him treating the Atlanta Falcons like a rivalry on par with Auburn.

Nick Saban, Bucs coach.

Can you imagine?

Both Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times and Martin Fennelly of The Tampa Tribune can. Both wrote columns Wednesday morning proclaiming just how spiffy it would be if the Bucs could somehow coax Saban from Tuscaloosa. Pro Football Talk, The Washington Post and the Business Insider wrote similar pieces. A blog calling itself the TampaBayInsider wrote that Saban was in town to interview; wrote that he wasn’t. So there.

The logic is that Saban desperately yearns to return the NFL because it still stings that he wasn’t a great success with the Miami Dolphins, which seems like a stretch. You might as well imagine the Bucs landing Bill Belichick because he’s tired of the cold.

The Bucs wanted Saban in 2012, it seems. Of course, they interviewed Belichick when they hired Sam Wyche, too.

Sorry, but from here, the notion of Saban as the Bucs’ coach seems a little far-fetched. Why would he leave a dynasty for a disaster?

At Alabama, he’s about to go after his sixth national title. In Tampa, he would be inheriting a team that won six games.

In Tampa, he takes over a team with a top-10 draft pick. At Alabama, he will sign about a half-dozen kids who might be top 10 draft picks.

At Alabama, he has his organization set. In Tampa, they are about to hire their fifth coach in eight years.

In Tampa, they could pay him a lot of money (of course, they’re already paying Lovie Smith and Greg Schiano, not to mention the next coach). At Alabama, they already pay him a lot of money, and his face is on the bills.

Look, it would be a wonderful thing if the Bucs could sign Saban. But do you really see him trading in that job for this one? Saban is royalty in Tuscaloosa. In Tampa, he would have to start all over. He would have to prove he’s a cut above the disappointments the Bucs have endured. USA Today suggests that Saban would have to be “insane” to consider the job.

Still, Saban is the Great White Whale.

If you’re the Bucs, do you risk a phone call?

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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