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2014 strength of schedule by numbers..

WezBuck28's picture
August 28, 2014 at 8:03am
60 Comments
_muckfichigan_'s picture

I was wondering the same thing the other day.  Every top tier SEC team (except for auburn) lost their starting qb, yet none of these teams are projected to show any bit of a drop off this season. 

Alabama in particular, lost both of its' post season games last year as well as its' starting qb and is still projected to be the top team in the conference and all but guaranteed a spot in the playoffs

OSU who was already questionable to make the playoffs due to their "strength of schedule" goes from winning every game this season before loss of qb to being completely counted out of the mich st game and losing anywhere from 2-3 games this season

+1 HS
Bucksfan's picture

SEC teams have been hoarding the nation's top QB talent for the better part of half a decade (going by the online recruiting rankings).  I almost posted an analysis the other day on another thread, but didn't have the time to research it all.  The short story is that they get ~10 of the 20 or so 4-stars each year (pro and dual-threat).  The only other conference that comes close is the Big XII.  The Big Ten might get 1 or 2 of the 4-stars.

So, if the SEC is starting someone new, it's likely the person they're starting was a 4-star QB coming out of high school.  The B1G might be returning starters at QB, but their starters at that position as a group are worse than some of the mid-tier conferences.

The B1G will start getting respect when they stop shitting the bed in their nonconference games and bowl games.

+5 HS
Furious George 27's picture

I get what you are saying, but using that theory OSU is starting a 4* QB in JT Barrett Saturday so there really shouldn't be a difference between them and OSU.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+1 HS
Bucksfan's picture

There isn't.  Alabama is #2, and Ohio State is #5.

Schedule strength will only start to matter when it comes to the 4th playoff team.  Does a 1-loss Big XII champion deserve a playoff spot over a top-5 ranked 1-loss Alabama team that didn't win their conference (assuming LSU wins the SEC or something)?

Scenarios like this are too far off to speculate.  And arguing about schedule strength before any football is played MIGHT be the dumbest pastime in the history of sports.  But, if we're going to talk about why a team might be ranked #2 despite a weak schedule, it has to do with their reputation.  Alabama has plugged in several QBs over the last 5 years, and they've crushed virtually everyone they've played.  It simply hasn't mattered.

Frankly, Ohio State being ranked #5 even with a healthy Braxton Miller is solely based on their reputation and the reputation of Urban Meyer.  Ohio State returns zero starters from their 110th in pass defense last year, have no identity at linebacker, graduated their leading rusher, and have 4 new starters on the O-line, and new starters at WR.  Explain to me why Ohio State would be at #5 if not for their reputation or recruiting rankings?  Same goes for Alabama.

+3 HS
mh277907's picture

how are they ranked at #2? Is it because of the recruiting classes they have every year?

Have you not been paying attention to college football for the past 7 years? They not only recruit better than any team in the nation but 97% of the time they are better than any team in the nation. Until they prove otherwise, they deserve to be in the top 3 or at the very least top 5 every year. 

buckeyebobcat

+2 HS
WezBuck28's picture

Heck, with their schedule, who wouldn't have a winning program that they have..

+1 HS
mh277907's picture

You can't possibly think that Alabama hasn't been the cream of the crop of college football since Saban has been there. Trust me, I hate them too, but they aren't undeserving of a number 2 ranking. Now, I do think that people are underestimating the loss of McCarron and the fact that they have to play Coker, but they have earned the benefit of the doubt. 

buckeyebobcat

+4 HS
WezBuck28's picture

Not saying they don't deserve it, look at the recruiting alone..stacked all the way around, but what I don't understand is how they are held to such high standards playing teams the teams that they do, non-conference that is..now don't get me wrong, we play some "wtf is this?" Type teams as well, but just looking at the SOS, one would wonder why they have such a lower ranked SOS and still remain as a shoe in just about every year... Basically what I'm saying is I would understand it more if bama played top tier teams the whole season, but they are nowhere near that..why won't they schedule a home and home with a team worth playing?

+1 HS
mh277907's picture

why won't they schedule a home and home with a team worth playing?

This pisses me off, as well. And, it is true that you hear about OSU having a weak schedule but never hear anything about Bama having a weak schedule despite OSU ranking ahead of them in terms of SOS. But the perception is that playing in the SEC is much harder than playing in the B1G and until the B1G consistently beats the SEC, Big 12, Pac 12, etc. in bowl and non-con games, the top tier SEC schools are going to get the benefit of the doubt. Had the B1G won 7 straight national championships, the roles would be reversed. 

buckeyebobcat

+1 HS
Sims_tOSU's picture

1. Stop trying to argue with people on the Ohio state fan site. Just very stupid to argue with people about Alabama because I will speak for most people and say I could care less about Alabama. I will always root against them. Why? Because I can. 2. The strength of schedule would be a lot higher if the SEC was as great as you say wouldn't it?

-3 HS
mh277907's picture

You know. You are so right. I am so sorry, my man. 

buckeyebobcat

+1 HS
Sims_tOSU's picture

Your man? Sorry I'm not like that sir. All I'm saying is don't get all defensive when a few people don't agree with you when you say alabama isn't so all mighty like explain them to be. Your persuasive technique that you're trying on here isn't working. No one is going to change their view by your very few facts you state. 

-3 HS
mh277907's picture

Again, spot on, bro. I'm with you. Loud and clear. 

buckeyebobcat

CincyOSU's picture

Very few facts? You and I have vastly different interpretations of the word "few" seeing as several people agree with him and have given numerous facts and figures to back up their opinion.

Basically from what I gather from your two little rants is that you're incapable of giving credit to another team/conference based on the fact you just don't like said team/conference. I'll say it again, its ok to give props to another team even if you don't like that team. It's called being objective. You should try it sometime.

+1 HS
Furious George 27's picture

Is Alabama really the cream of the crop though? I will give you they are the cream of the crop in recruiting. But with those great classes they have lost several games the last few years, so they are not unbeatable. Their last two titles were gifted to them when they were let in w/out winning their division and when OSU was on a ban. I have no problem saying they are one of the best teams in CFB, but don't make a team better than what they are. Bama has greatly benefited from weak schedules, and media hype to back door their way in to some titles.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+2 HS
mh277907's picture

Which program has had better teams than Alabama since Saban has been there?

buckeyebobcat

+1 HS
Furious George 27's picture

Technically every team  that has beaten them since Saban has been there, would be the better team.  Unless we do not count losses for some reason? As a program they are the best at recruiting but that has not kept them from losing to teams correct? So by my count Auburn and OU were better last year, TAMU was better in 2012, LSU a few times along with florida and Auburn and I believe even Utah was better than Bama in a game.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+1 HS
mh277907's picture

The correct answer is there has been no program as good as Alabama since Saban has been there. They have 2 more national championships than any other program and they have not had the down years that FSU, Auburn, LSU and OSU have had in that time span. To argue otherwise does not make sense. 

buckeyebobcat

+1 HS
Furious George 27's picture

So then it comes down to bad coaching when they lose to vastly inferior teams based on your argument....Call me crazy but I consider coaching to be a key part in defining a great program as well. If you oversign and produce #1 ranked recruiting classes every year, there should be no excuse for losing to anyone. They most certainly have the talent and the ability to get the top talent which I aknowledged. So perhaps when that talent cannot just show up and win you the game and you lose, then you have been out coached (I gave several examples). I think you are confusing the tremendous ability to recruit and equating it to being a great coach which based on his history outside of the SEC he has not been.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+1 HS
mh277907's picture

I'm not confusing anything. I am simply stating that since Saban has been at Bama, the Crimson Tide has been the best program. Yes, they have lost games. Yes, they went to a National Championship without winning their conference. Yes, Saban may get outcoached from time to time. But no program- LSU, Auburn, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon, MSU, OSU, etc., etc.- has been as good as Bama. That makes Alabama the cream of the crop. That was the only argument I was trying to make. 

buckeyebobcat

+1 HS
Furious George 27's picture

And the argument that I and several people were making, was that no team has benefited more from media hype and weak scheduling than Bama has. The point is that you are saying Bama is the greatest program in CFB by only pointing to their titles and not really looking at how they got them. Texas was legit, but how different would that game play out had McCoy not get injured? 2nd Title they did not win their Div or Conf (USC fielded some conference winners that did not get that benefit in prior seasons and they were arguably one of the if not the best team in CFB) and the 3rd title they benefitted from OSU being on a ban and playing a vastly overrated ND team. So yes, their titles do count.... However, would you hold them in such high regard if they didn't have those last two titles, in which they gained pretty much by luck and probably a shit ton of bias to get in.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

CincyOSU's picture

I don't get your incessant need to try to discount what Bama has accomplished the last 5 years? I could care less if they won their league, the system we had in place at the time still got them to the NCG....WHERE THEY WON. Did they benefit some from media hype? Perhaps. But they still took care of business when it counted.

The point that we are trying to make is that if you look at their collective body of work, and not knit pick each individual season, its clear to the vast majority of the country that Bama has been the best team in football.

I think you're letting your hatred for the SEC cloud your thinking. It's OK to hate Bama/the SEC yet still give credit when it's due.

mh277907's picture

Ok, they've benefited more than anyone. Which program has been better than Bama since Saban has been their coach?

buckeyebobcat

CincyOSU's picture

So if we are going to follow this logic, in 2009 was a 5-7 Purdue team better than a 11-2 OSU team that won the Rose Bowl?

Upsets happen, you have to look at the overall body of work.

Furious George 27's picture

Upsets do happen, but once again you are applying a conference winner and trying to justify  non-conference winner getting to the NCG. Had Bama made it in winning their conference with a loss to a bad team you have an argument, but to say they deserve it over an actual conf winner from the ACC, BIG12, PAC12 is a stretch.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+1 HS
CincyOSU's picture

No, I was responding to your comment stating that every team that has beaten Bama is, by your logic, the better team.

You're making excuses in your justification in trying to prove Bama has not been the best team in football the last 5 or so years.

CincyOSU's picture

OSU "back doored" their way to a title game in 2007 and lost to a 2-loss LSU team.

Who cares how they got there....they won. If OSU had won that game in 2007 I doubt you'd put an asterisk by it because they backed their way in.

Furious George 27's picture

OSU won the B1G that season, along with everyone ahead of losing for that to happen. I place an aesterik next to Bama's when they did not even win their conference let alone division. You cannot say that a conference winner and a non conference winner are the same thing. They are not.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

Catch 5's picture

It is a valad argument, but you also cannot deny that it is possible (and that year quite probable) that the best two teams in the country come from the same conference (and division).  If the purpose of the BCS was to have the best two teams play (and it was), then they got it right.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

Bucksfan's picture

It may very well be possible to have the 2 best teams in 1 division, but Alabama didn't prove that it was one of the 2 best teams that season.  They only beat 3 bowl teams that had winning records.  Oklahoma State beat 7.  In the game Alabama lost, it didn't score a touchdown and missed 3 field goals.

That game will always be one of controversy.  But I have yet to read an argument from anyone that would indicate why Alabama empirically deserved to be chosen for that championship game (the result of the game logically cannot be cited, since no one can predict the future).  Usually the only reason is the quality of the loss, but as already indicated - Oklahoma State played a tougher top-to-bottom schedule that year.

CincyOSU's picture

1) Alabama and OK State both played, and beat, 5 ranked teams. By looking only at bowl opponents(and I'm taking your word that your data is correct) you conveniently chose parameters that justified your opinion. To be fair, I think most of the computers had OK State with a better SOS but the margin was pretty small.

2) Bama lost on Nov 5th, to the #1 team in the nation. OK State lost on Nov 18, to an unranked Iowa State team. A loss is a loss, but since we are using these for comparison sake, it's glaringly obvious which was the "better" loss. Not to mention the WIDELY known fact of the BCS era that if you're going to lose, it's better to lose early. Bama lost their game, against much better competition, two weeks earlier than OK State suffered their lone defeat. This right here is likely the biggest reason it was Bama, and not OK State, playing in the NCG.

Either way, many of you are now venturing into strawman territory. This particular debate was about Bama being the dominant team of the last 5 years....not whether it was unfair how they won their titles or whether another team actually deserved to play in a particular NCG.

+2 HS
Bucksfan's picture

Sorry, I just like arguing with Catch5.

+1 HS
CincyOSU's picture

Dude, I hate Bama too. It pains me to defend them but it's hard to argue with their results.

One can only hope this Coker kid doesn't live up the standards of McElroy and McCarron.
 

+1 HS
Catch 5's picture

Ha ha.  Bring it.  ;)

You might want to re-evaluate yourself.  I've been upvoting you a lot lately.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

Catch 5's picture

Alabama didn't prove that it was one of the 2 best teams that season.

It may have been arguable before the BCSNG, but with hindsight I don't see how you can say that.  Had you watched that game where no touchdowns were made (is that a requirement to win?) you fail to mention that both defenses were the tops in the country.  I saw something the other day that pointed out that 16 of the starting 22 defenders (8 from each team) from that game have been drafted in the NFL (with at least 2 others making active rosters through FA).  That doesn't count the reserves who have also been drafted (another 11 players). I get it that offense gets the attention these days and if teams aren't lighting up the scoreboards to the tune of 50+ points a game it is considered a snoozer, but that was one of the best games I've ever seen - but then again I appreciate good defense.  And yes, I'm biased, but Bama outplayed LSU in the loss.  Everyone is lamenting over Bama's lack of a quarterback this year.  You're barking up the wrong tree - they've won the national championship the last two times they started a new quarterback - it's the kicker.  Bama lost that game to LSU because they missed a bunch of field goals.  Same with the Iron Bowl last year (and I'm not talking about the kick-6).  If we make just one of those field goals (there were multiple missed in each game) we win.  Bama also has a new kicker and a true freshman punter.  I'm infinitely more concerned with that than the QB. (sorry, changed subjects on you there)

~~They only beat 3 bowl teams that had winning records.  Oklahoma State beat 7.~~

Nice phrasing.  Of course you don't count Penn State there because they were ineligible - not because they didn't win enough games (which is what you are trying to insinuate with the reference).  Nice trick - and 2 of OSU's bowl eligible teams were Louisiana Lafayette and freaking Tulsa.  So you end up with Bama beating 4 decent teams with winning records .vs Okie State beating 5 decent teams with winning records.  Now throw quality of the losses into the mix and the eventual outcome is very reasonable.  I understand it will always be controversial and Bama got lucky (any team with a loss is lucky to be there) but it is not so cut and dry wrong like you want us to believe.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban

Bucksfan's picture

I was counting Penn State, actually.  Penn State, Arkansas, Auburn.  Who was the 4th that finished the regular season with a winning record?  They only played 3 other bowl teams, Florida, Vandy and Miss St., and all 3 finished 6-6.  You're actually going to point to LL and Tulsa when Alabama played FCS Georgia Southern in the 2nd-to-last week of November?  Oklahoma State beat 4 teams that were ranked at the time, while Alabama only beat 3. 

So, I'm not "phrasing" anything beyond the facts.

We could go on and on and on about this, and if you stack up the resumes and block out the names, Alabama simply did not have as good of a season as Oklahoma State in all categories except for the ranking of the team that beat them...but that should have been negated by playing a tougher schedule.  And if you're still going to point to the championship game result as an indication that Alabama deserved to be there, I am going to say that the result is an indication that LSU was not only beyond overrated, but that the SEC was a joke that year and that neither SEC team should have been there.  They were beaten worse than Ohio State in 2006.  I have no doubt that Oklahoma State would have annihilated LSU that night, and they definitely deserved their chance to be there.

CincyOSU's picture

You might be right....but your hate should be directed at the system(this is why we now have a playoff) rather than Bama for benefiting it's flaws.

Alabama lost earlier than OK State...that played a huge part in allowing Bama to get back to the NCG. This is the same reason OSU backed their way into the 2007 NCG. And I'm not sure where you're getting your figures but both teams played five ranked teams(at the time they played them). Stating things like you have no doubt x team would beat y team is a hypothetical that can't be proven. What can be proven is Bama won the title that year.

Like I said before, this has devolved into whether Bama should have been in a NCG over OK State(I see where you are coming from, but the system is what it is)...that was not the original talking point. The original claim, one that's pretty widely accepted outside of OSU/B1G fan sites, is that Bama has been the dominant team in football the last 5 or so years.

-1 HS
Bucksfan's picture

is that Bama has been the dominant team in football the last 5 or so years.

I just got done saying that exact thing over on another thread this morning, actually! 

If there was a 4-team playoff that year, I'm sure Alabama would have made it, and they may very well would have won it.  2 of the other conference champions finished with 2 losses (Oregon and Wisconsin), and Oregon probably would have been chosen despite having lost to LSU earlier in the year and Wisconsin would have been left out.  That was a weird year.

chicagobuckeye's picture

And michigan's the winningest football team of all time so they deserve to be there. I get your point but the last two games against teams with a pulse they lost. I don't think the SOS argument is there yet, but the commentary recently of osu being completely out of it applies directly to them. Osu hadn't lost a game in 2 years until the last two, so I think the op is stating there really isn't much of a difference between the two programs particularly preseason. 

mh277907's picture

Come on... There is a huuuuge difference between saying that historical records should play a role in your current ranking and saying that having the number 1 recruiting class for 5 straight years and winning 3 of the past 5 national championships should factor into your current ranking. 

so I think the op is stating there really isn't much of a difference between the two programs particularly preseason. 

If that was the point, I missed it. I didn't see anything about OSU. 

buckeyebobcat

-1 HS
chicagobuckeye's picture

Why should recruiting play any part into current rankings. Then again if that were true Michigan has done quite well with recruiting. Sorry with the mix up about osu reading a different article right before this. By your logic as long as Alabama continues to recruit well they should be at the top of the preseason rankings?

cdub4's picture

I follow the logic. Yeah, if some team such as Bama, OSU or FSU recruit well, why shouldn't they continue to near the top of the preseason rankings? Especially if said team averages 10+ wins while reeling in top classes.

I do agree people are downplaying the fact they have a new qb, but preseason rankings are based on talent on the roster, so I don't have a problem with someone using rankings of recent recreation classes as a factor.

+1 HS
mh277907's picture

Michigan doesn't deserve to be ranked high because they lose 6 games a year. Alabama not only recruits well, they win 10+ games a year. Until they start doing otherwise, they deserve a high pre-season rank. 

buckeyebobcat

WezBuck28's picture

They would have won those last 2 games IMO if we had the coaching staff, and certain players were healthy, and not suspended..

Mortc15's picture

SEC bias. Everyone expects Coker to play like the 3 time national champ he replaced...or better. But everyone discounts Urban Meyers handpicked qb, even though past history says you better not. 

Personally, I'll let it play out and see whether the "experts" know what they're talking about. 

Buck-I4Life

+2 HS
chicagobuckeye's picture

I don't know why someone DV'd you because what you said is true. There is an sec bias out there, not even just to those who wear tin foil hats, as any preseason commentary has notated the osu schedule and fail to mention Alabama. Because they play in the sec, regardless of who they play, they get a pass as being in a "tough" conference.  

+3 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

Agreed here. Gave you both a little something to offset the troll...

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+2 HS
OSU_1992_UFM's picture

I made the same argument yesterday about Alabama being 5-1 to win NCG. Doesnt make sense to me

UFM_Renewal

Rob Reese's picture

SEC bias. 

Anyone who underestimates the power of electronic and print media alike and it's love affair with the SEC has had their head buried in the sand.    Another +1. 

tOSU class of 2009, College of Arts and Sciences

_muckfichigan_'s picture

Thank God the season is about to start.  We can put all these predictions and expectations to rest and let these boys prove it on the field

+1 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

Preseason Strength of Schedule rankings mean very little, because it's base on LAST years records:

The NCAA method is based solely on the opponents’ win/loss record from the previous season.

The best example of why SOS doesn't mean that much is Auburn last year.  They were coming off an 0-8 SEC record, so anyone with them on their schedule preseason didn't see a bump.  Then, they go through and make it to the NCG.  I would be interested to see how preseason SOS matches up to end of season SOS. 

The bigger problem is the preseason rankings, as that influences how tough a schedule is perceived to be.  I think there is a valid argument to having so many preseason top 25 teams from the SEC, and if it's justified year in and year out.  How many games does A&M lose the last 2 years without Johnny Football, and they are a preseason top 25 team?  I'm not sure what team I would replace them with in the top 25, but now tonight, South Carolina can go out and claim a Top 25 win over a team that might not warrant that ranking.  Come playoff selection time, those types of wins could be what separates teams who are in the conversation for the 3rd and 4th spots from those at 5, 6 and 7.

And not to be hypocritical, OSU's #5 ranking was pre Braxton injury, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a drop next week in the polls, even with a win, especially if it's not convincing and others ranked behind OSU are more impressive.

 

+1 HS
Furious George 27's picture

What the SEC does, which is smart is they play conference games early and the weaker OOC games late. SC and TAMU will play tonight, the winner moves up a lot because they will beat a ranked team while  no one has. The loser will not drop far because they lost to a ranked team and has the rest of the season to bounce back giving them the chance to get back in the playoff picture.

Yeah, well…that’s just like, your opinion, man.

+1 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

Great Point.  I know Bama always seems to have a nice little scrimmage too against Savannah St or some other lower tier D-2 school right before the LSU or Auburn game as well.

kb1's picture

Yep. Excellent point. B1G should take notes.

ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

I'm tired of the SEC lean by pundits and media, too, but until we take care of business, and prove to the nation that we are elite once again - consistently, we are going to continue to be treated like the has-beens of the world.  

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

+2 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

It's also funny to hear ESPN spin things how they want them.  FSU is clearly SEC pt2, and when one of the shows were discussing their schedule, the terms "weak" or "easy" or "cupcakes" was never mentioned.  I think they have 1, maybe 2 ranked opponents on their schedule (ND and maybe someone else), and their schedule was described as "Manageable."  Yet, OSUs schedule this year, which is considerably tougher than last years IMO, especially OOC, is always labeled as easy, since only one preseason ranked team is on it (MSU).

ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

I have a feeling that they get hung up on opponents like Kent State on the schedule and lets it bias their overall impression (aside from having only 1 top 25 team on the schedule, too)

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Media bias - they actually believe that everything they put out there is gospel. Not so much here in Buckeye Country

Squirrel Master's picture

I'm so ready for Saturday, that is all.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Catch 5's picture

It really depends on how you figure SOS.  Which is more difficult, 1) Playing 12 teams ranked between #30 and #60 (none in the top 25) with an average ranking of #45 or 2) Playing 4 teams in the top 25 (two of which are top 10) and 8 teams ranked higher than #40 - with an average ranking of #50?

The answer really depends on the team.  A team like Kentucky, who considers going to a bowl game as a good year would pick #1 as it would be more difficult to become bowl eligible against that schedule.  For a team with higher aspirations like OSU and Bama, it would be #2.  While it is much easier to get to 6 (and even 8) wins with this schedule, going undefeated is much, much harder.  Rankings like the one referenced here, IMO do not really do a good job of comparing SOS for top teams.  You really need to throw out the bad teams and just look at the ones that are ranked or "rankable".  The fact of the matter is that it doesn't matter how bad a team is once you get past a certain point.  A team ranked #50 poses as much a threat to a top-10 team as one ranked #125 and they should be viewed the same way when evaluating these teams' schedules.

That is why SEC teams are "given a pass" in SOS comparison despite the presence of some really awful teams.  Yes, Bama plays Western Carolina but also plays LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and some think Miss St is going to make some noise (I don't) - and they do have one of the weaker SEC schedules.  OSU's schedule, while tougher on average doesn't have as many real threats.  Michigan State is the only real one on the schedule - If I'm being kind I'll begrudging nod at Michigan and Virginia Tech (I'm not buying Penn State, sorry).  As pointed out by many above, this is all subject to change when we actually see some teams play.

Make their asses quit! - Nick Saban