TUSCALOOSA - Shuffling papers in his office, University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban was at a loss for words.
"You know...people used to hate me. I used to promise people I'd never leave, then I'd leave. I used to lie to recruits and tell them I'd never leave. We would make room for new recruits by giving upperclassman medical scholarships and benefits to leave the program.
"What the hell am I supposed to do now for hate? Touch a ten year old and then pushhim off a scissor lift?! Jiminy Christmas...it's getting tough around here!"
Saban is referring to new accusations that Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky had inappropriate relations with underaged boys and Notre Dame's issues with a student's death during inclement weather.
The 2011 off-season also put Saban on the outside of the 'most hated' list. Iowa struggled with accusations of drug use by its players. A Miami booster ran a ponzi scheme worth millions of dollars. North Carolina players accepted cash, Ohio State had improper contact with boosters and people selling memorabilia...the list goes on and on.
But the list is giving Saban new ideas.
"I'm going to hit this out in one shot," pleaded the feisty Saban. "I figure I can run a tattoo parlor filled with young boys that are licensed tattoo artists. We'll let players sign memorabilia, sell it for cash, use the cash for steroid purchases, let one of the young boys tape our football practices as a reward for his hard work, and then have my players push him off a scissor lift during a roid rage? No? Too harsh? Too light...come on! I need advice!"
Saban was under harsh criticism for his handling of leaving Michigan State for LSU in late 1999. He did the same when he left the Tigers to coach the Miami Dolphins in 2005. His years of lying and conniving have made him one of the most hated men in college football...but that seems to be no more.
"We live in a new world. I can only do so much. Maybe I should leave for Notre Dame or something? Coach a CFL team? Rob a bank? This stinks."
Saban and Alabama will take on Mississippi State next Saturday...and you can bet the healthy Saban will be present.