Saban is wrong about Bama’s biggest rival

Nuts and Bolts of the Game LogoI don’t claim to know more about Alabama football than Nick Saban. But I do know enough to unequivocally say he’s wrong about Alabama’s biggest rival.

On his “Hey Coach” show Thursday night, a caller asked Saban about the importance of the Tennessee rivalry. Here’s what he had to say:

“I think you get very quickly a feel for what your own players on your own team, even that were here before you came here, what’s important to them. And it was very obvious to me that the Tennessee game was always the biggest game. It was always the biggest game for us. That’s no disrespect to Auburn or the great Iron Bowl rivalries. But to our players and a lot of our fans, the Tennessee game, because of the tradition of the game, is important, so it didn’t take long to figure that out.”

I’m not around the current Alabama players every day like Nick Saban is. But I know that Alabama has only one player from the state of Tennessee — reserve linebacker Josh McMillon. The same is true for Tennessee, with only linebacker Gavin Bryant of Jackson, Alabama, playing for the Vols.

But I do know lots of fans. And I can’t name a single Alabama fan under the age of 70 who considers the Tennessee rivalry even in the same class of importance as the Iron Bowl.

Am I wrong about this? Is there a single Alabama fan in Mobile who cares more about beating Tennessee than Auburn? I’d love to hear from you.

For Threaded Fasteners, I’m Randy Kennedy with Nuts and Bolts of the Game.