Blog Entry

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

Posted on: February 10, 2012 5:16 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 5:18 pm
 

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As of this moment, there is -- almost without question -- no more powerful coach in all of college football than Alabama's Nick Saban. But as it turns out, even Saban couldn't pull enough strings to get someone other than Missouri the coveted 14th invite to the SEC.

That's according to the account provided to the Charleston Daily Mail by West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, West Virginia University graduate, who said he and Saban had spoken and "were working toward" snagging that invitation for the Mountaineers before the league settled on the Tigers. Both Saban and his wife Terry are West Virginia natives, and Saban spent two seasons in the late '70s as a defensive assistant for the Mountaineers.

"I thought we could have been in the SEC," Manchin said. "I talked to my dear friend Nick Saban about that, and, like me, he said, 'I would like West Virginia in the SEC,' and we were working toward that."

The Charleston Gazette also reported in October that Saban had been lobbying behind the scenes for West Virginia. But to no avail: Missouri was officially added as the SEC's 14th team in early November.

"They chose Missouri instead, and then you never heard a thing else about it," Manchin said.

That decision helped lead to a bitter political struggle between Manchin and Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell. McConnell, a Louisville graduate and Republican, reportedly attempted to block the Mountaineers' bid to join the Big 12 with the hopes of getting the Cardinals the invitation instead; Manchin, a Democrat, responded by publicly calling for Congress to hold hearings on whether McConnell had committed an ethics violation.

In the end, of course, Manchin and the Mountaineers got their happy ending -- they're not even going to have to wait an extra year -- and Manchin says the feud with McConnell is in the past. But with as powerful an ally as Saban on his side, you have to wonder if he doesn't wonder what might have been if the SEC had lent a more friendly ear.

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Comments

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: February 11, 2012 2:18 pm
 

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

I do not know if Saban was advocating on behalf of WVU or not, but all along, I thought they were the best choice for the 14th SEC team.  I was not in favor adding teams to the conference at all, but if we had to add, I thought WVU was the better choice.  I know they are not a highly regarded academic school nor do they bring much to the table as far as a TV market goes, but they are better athletically than is Missouri.  Missouri is having a good basketball season now, but WVU is historically better, and are much better at football.  But, there are things that Missouri brings to the table that was more impressive to those that matter. 

As far as Saban goes, he definitely said that he was not going to be the next coach at Alabama.  Did he lie, of course.  Do most coaches in that situation, of course.  He could have said it better, but everyone knows that he is not a great public speaker and not the smoothest guy in front of a microphone.  But, he is a great coach, and a pretty honest guy overall. 



Since: Jan 5, 2007
Posted on: February 11, 2012 1:42 pm
 

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

Isn't this the same Saban who swore he was not leaving the Miami Dolphins...and then about 7 days later he was the Alabama coach? 

No, but thanks for showing everyone you could care less about facts and prefer to just make BS up...great job!!! 




Since: Feb 10, 2012
Posted on: February 11, 2012 12:40 pm
 

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

As long as we're being "Real", both A&M and Mizzou are stronger than WVU academically & on the football field.  While they may very well end up being beaten like a drum as you claim, they both will fair much better athletically than WVU would've.



Since: Jan 22, 2012
Posted on: February 11, 2012 11:18 am
 

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

LSUAstro75, did you lose your bridge?



Since: Jan 22, 2012
Posted on: February 11, 2012 11:16 am
 

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

It isn't the Big 12 going or staying that concerns me, it's the fact that the Big East is allowed to hang around.  That fact seemed bad enough to West Virginia for them to vacate in favor of the Big 12.
The biggest issue with the Big East is the basketball/football split and how the conference votes go.  Basketball only members have an equal say in matters that only relate to football.  It is for that reason that this round of exodus happened.  The Big East was supposd to expand to 10 members for football.  That was decided 3 years ago.  After TCU was added, football wanted to go after another splash name.  Basketball balked at the proposal and demanded mighty Villanova be allowed to bring their program up to FBS and be added.  So expansion after TCU was stalled.  Pitt and Cuse had enough and bolted.  TCU saw the mess they were in store for and bolted.  Then everyone else scrambled to find new homes and WVU got lucky...



Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: February 11, 2012 9:46 am
 

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

"cutty240"........Do you want some wine with that cheese?



Since: Oct 26, 2011
Posted on: February 11, 2012 9:41 am
 

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

All though i respect your words on qualified academically,ITS BULL SHIT.You sound Like Someone Running for office.WVU is a Land Grant College,which means its there for most people in WV to get a Education.A DEGREE IS A DEGREE.LETS get This Straight THE SEC IS A FOOTBALL MACHINE CONFERENCE,PLAIN AND SIMPLE.The Networks Love them now because of that.ESPN,CBS,and whoever else climbs on Board could care less about who gets a degree.Lets be Real Man.Manchin and Saban are best  friends,so i believe Nick did this for Joe,and it would of been a good fit,but it didn't work out.The SEC picked up 2 Teams AM,and MIzzu that most teams in The SEC will Beat like Drum.They got 2 Good Degree Schools,but they will be botton feeders in The SEC.The SEC KILLED TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE.THE RICH GET RICHER.




Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: February 11, 2012 9:08 am
 

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

All that means is that WV would have been on the verge of joining then Saban would have found an excuse to keep it from happening. You know, the same thing he does to recruits.



Since: Aug 9, 2011
Posted on: February 11, 2012 8:42 am
 

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

Well, I personally would have preferred that Pitt and WVU stayed in the same league because of the Backyard Brawl, but since Pitt was already leaving to the ACC and there was no way that WVU could have qualified academically, that couldn't happen.  I guess the SEC would have been a good fit for WVU as they could have used that as another ACC/SEC crossover rivalry and as a Mizzou grad, I'd have rathered that they went to the B1G as that is a better fit academically for them--I wish Saban had gotten his way.



Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: February 11, 2012 6:23 am
 

Report: Saban tried to get WVU SEC invitation

It isn't the Big 12 going or staying that concerns me, it's the fact that the Big East is allowed to hang around.  That fact seemed bad enough to West Virginia for them to vacate in favor of the Big 12.  One thing is for sure...the politicians, both sides of the aisle, have messed up Washington bad enough that we don't need them interjecting themselves in college sports.


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