8/10/22 MFB Practice Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban Photo by Kent Gidley Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics
By Mark Heim | AL.com
We can’t tell you who Nick Saban voted for in the preseason coaches' poll, which was released last week, but we now may have a pretty good idea of who he didn’t vote for.
The Alabama coach, who made a guest appearance on the “Dan Patrick Show” on Friday, was asked directly for whom he cast his ballot.
He hesitated, clearly, trying to find the right words to answer the question without really answering the question.
“Good question,” Saban said. “I don’t really ever like to vote for us first, I will say that, especially in the beginning until we’ve sort of proving who we are. I’ll leave it at that.”
If he didn’t vote for Alabama, who did he pick?
There’s perhaps no greater mystery in all of college football in the last week than who voted Texas No. 1 in the preseason coaches' ballot.
The votes are not published, but the Longhorns - ranked No. 18, got a single No. 1 vote. Coach Steve Sarkisian is not among the 65 coaches with a vote.
Some conspiracy theorists have concluded it could be Saban. Analysts at 247 Sports said if it is Saban, it would be the “ultimate troll” job. He is aware of the “rat poison” circulating about his team.
To add fuel to the speculation, Saban has been very complimentary of the Longhorns.
“Sark is one of the finest coaches that we ever had on our staff,” Saban during SEC Media Days. “He did an outstanding job and does a good job with player relations. He’s very well organized, a very good play caller on game day, and just did a fantastic job. Really excited for him and his family that he got the opportunity to go to Texas and I know they’re going to have a really challenging team for us (to face on Sept. 10).”
As much time as fans and talking heads put into solving the mystery of the single vote, Saban is quick to point out it is irrelevant.
“I don’t think it matters much where you start the season,” Saban explained. “It’s much more important where you finish. I do think your team has to have enough maturity, though. It’s great to be recognized and respected as a team, but this particular team hasn’t done anything yet to determine what its identity is going to be and that’s a key to sustaining over the long haul of a season, to play with some level of consistency and prove what kind of team you can have.
“Nice to be recognized. In reality, it means nothing.
“It’s not personal at all,” he said. “It’s about the players. My concern was not directed at any particular school. I should never have mentioned any particular school. It was really the state of college football.”