Nick Saban and Les Miles are two of the best coaches in college football and no other coach tests each other quite like the two SEC west rivals who are set to meet Saturday night at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Miles will try to even the series at four games apiece after Saban has taken the last two in their personal rivalry.
LSU fans hates Saban with a passion after he ditched the Tigers for a failed experiment in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins to only come bring Alabama back to prominence a few years later. That’s like your husband or wife leaving you after your honeymoon to only get married to the person you hate the most. That’s just the absolute worst.
But Miles is actually winning games at a higher percentage than Saban did during his abbreviated stay in Baton Rouge. Miles is 92-23 (50-19 in SEC; 5-3 in bowl games) since 2005. That’s winning 80 percent of all his games whereas Saban won at a 75 percent clip. S
aban was 48-16 (28-12 in SEC; 3-2 in bowl games) from 2000-2004 and won SEC and bowl games at a lower percentage than Miles. He is also the only coach to beat Saban in back-to-back years and twice in Tuscaloosa during Saban’s Alabama tenure.
Both are excellent recruiters and when they get four and five-star recruits on campus, they send those players to the NFL at a prolific level.
Saban has had the edge on Miles in regard to recruiting class rankings since he’s arrived in Tuscaloosa. After Saban’s first year in 2007 when he had little time to put together a class, his classes have finished 3rd, 2nd, 5th, 1st,1st,1st and currently have the top ranked class. All recruiting rankings are according to 247Sports.
By comparison, Miles’ classes have finished 11th, 1st, 7th, 7th, 13th, 6th and currently rank 11th for 2014, but their average grade for their 15 commits would rank them 6th in the nation and are expected to finish strong and push Alabama for the recruiting title.
While Saban has the edge on the recruiting trail, Miles has the edge in sending players to the NFL. Since 2008, Miles has had 38 players drafted to 33 for Saban. Although Saban gets him in quantity as he has had 14 taken in the first round to only seven for Miles.
The real separation between Saban and Miles is on the biggest stage where his three national titles at Alabama, including one over Miles is the difference between the two. Both have two SEC titles and three SEC west titles, but Saban’s 3-1 edge in national titles since 2008 trump Miles.
Saban and Miles are just one subplot of this SEC west showdown, but I don’t think there are any as interesting as the Mad-Hatter and Nicky Satan.
Leading up to this week’s game you know both Saban and Miles will say all the right things and compliment one another and their teams, but deep down you know they hate each other just as much as their fan bases hate each other.
I wouldn’t have it any other way and this is the best rivalry in college football.