5-at-10: What Nick Saban meant to say Tuesday, Dodgers religious intrigue

Alabama head coach Nick Saban yells instruction during the first half of Alabama's A-Day NCAA college football scrimmage, Saturday, April 22, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

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Lord Saban speaks

So the SEC meetings are happening in Destin, Florida, this week. As Paschall as covered extensively in the last couple of days, a lot of folks are wringing their hands over the SEC schedule moving forward with the league adding Texas and Oklahoma in coming years.

Personally, I think Kirby Smart is spot on with his quote about how overrated this whole conversation is. And of course Kirby doesn't care whether he plays eight or nine conference games, he's got better players than everyone else. (Side note: Georgia's schedule in 2023 is not going to be confused with a "Murderer's Row" any time soon. Is at Tennessee Georgia's only real chance at losing a game this year?)

Here's more from Paschall on some of the topics du jour (hmmm, soup of the day, that sounds good, I think I'll try that) from Destin. You know the rules.

But the biggest takeaway for me was Nick Saban at the podium doing typical Nick Saban things.

First this caveat. I am an Auburn grad, but I love Nick Saban. I think he's the best to ever do it at the college level, and that includes all major sports. Better than Coach K, just as successful as Wooden in a much more competitive time. Same with Bear, and Auriemma and Summitt.

He's the college GOAT. (Here's where Intern Scott sends me the email about the UNC soccer coach who went something like 12,000, 403-2-5, but that's apples and pineapples and we all know it.)

So while you'll never see me waving a Crimson anything, my respect, admiration and appreciation for the accomplishments of Lord Saban are deep and true.

So he gets to the podium, hair and Coke bottle perfectly placed, and goes off on NIL.

"Yeah, I have no problem with that. Unionize it, make it like the NFL," Saban told reporters in Destin. "I mean, if it's going to be the same for everyone, I think that's better than what we have now. Because what we have now is we have some states and some schools in some states are investing a lot more money in terms of managing their roster than others, and I think this is going to create a real competitive disadvantage for some in the future. And it's also going to create an imbalance in the competitive nature of the sport, which that's not good for the sport."

OK, on the surface that quote is socialist and complete and total B.S.

Competitive disadvantages in the future? Uh, Coach, you — and your program — have been exploiting competitive disadvantages since the very beginning.

As for the hypocrisy, the players' answer to unionization should be we will take a salary cap and work under a CBA with equal pay as soon as the coaches accept a similar model.

I do not think Saban believes half of the gobblity-gook in that quote.

Well, Crash, what do you believe? "Well I believe in the ... wait. Family show.

But for Saban, I believe he is speaking to his boosters. Directly.

Let's put this into the coach-speak translator, and how we believe Saban hopes the Crimson masses heard the above quote:

"Yeah, I have a big problem with NIL, because I developed a fool-proof system here of getting the best players in the country, convincing them that if they busted their hump for me and did not get upset when I belittle them or make them play special teams as freshmen, they would make it to the NFL and make millions. Now, they can make — and some expect — hundreds of thousands on the front end and if they are asked to play special teams, they hope in the portal. This sucks.

"Moreover, my huge recruiting advantages of success and springboard to the league are now being overshadowed by cash. I am not against an uneven playing field, but I want it to be tilted to my advantage. Miss Terry did not marry a fool, people.

"So here's the deal. I'm 71. I have a résumé so stacked even that fat-faced Auburn grad in Chattanooga worships me. And if you Bama Backers want me to do this another five years or so, you better pony up, because look around.

"Texas is coming, and they will spend whatever it takes. THE Ohio State has something like 12 million alums and will spend whatever it takes. Tennessee just paid $8 million to a back-up QB. Oregon has Nike money. Texas A&M will, who am I kidding as long as Jimbo's there those fools and their money will soon be parted anyway.

"Moreover, Auburn's desperate and we know they will burn money in the streets if it means winning. Side question: How much could that Cam Newton command in the NIL age? Egad, he got a $180,000 offer from those broke folks at Mississippi State, imagine what Jimbo and A&M would pony up for that monster.

"Where was I? Oh yeah, and worst of all, if Kirby gets the Georgia NIL collective humming on all cylinders before we have a $20 million recruiting salary fund, well, we're not going to catch Georgia. And I've not going to be here to watch it unravel.

"I'm in as long as you're in and make this happen. And remember a decade ago when I pitched a fit about spread offenses and hurry-ups? And then after saying it was a player-safety issue, adopted those same offenses and kicked everyone's backside for a decade?

"This is the same thing. Only, to spring the SEC catch phrase, it just costs more."

California baseball debate

So there's some strange story lines coming out of baseball stadiums in California right now.

And no, this has nothing to do with the Vegas-odds-on favorite to win the World Series, your Atlanta Braves, needing a win today to avoid being swept by the Oakland A's, who are now 12-45 after back-to-back wins over Atlanta.

This is centered further South in Dodgertown, where future Hall of Fame pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams are speaking out against the Dodgers' decision to invite the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to Dodgers Stadium on June 16 as part of Pride Month.

Here's what Williams told reporters: "I believe it is essential for the Dodgers to reconsider their association with this group and strive to create an inclusive environment that does not demean or disrespect the religious beliefs of any fan or employee," Williams said. "I also encourage my fellow Catholics to reconsider their support of an organization that allows this type of mockery of its fans to occur."

The Dodgers invited the Sisters to be honored as "Community Heroes" but got a load of backlash from conservatives and canceled next month's ceremony. That decision created a ton of backlash to the backlash so the Dodgers reversed field again and re-invited the Sisters, who accepted.

Kershaw had a similar stance on mocking someone else's religion earlier this week.

Side question here: If the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence made fun of any other world religion that is not centered on Jesus Christ, they would be lambasted right?

If you went into drag and mocked Hindu or Islam, there would be an outrage right?

How is Williams' stance for Catholicism any different? Thoughts?

This and that

— Hooah, to quote Al Pacino in "A Scent of a Woman." Pacino, 83, is expecting his fourth child. His oldest daughter is 33 — four years older than Noor Alfallah, his current girlfriend and his next baby momma. For a little more context, Alfallah has been previously linked to elder statesmen celebs like Mick Jaggar and Clint Eastwood. She must like their life experience, huh?

— Do not get bogged down by this headline "Jack Nicklaus on a Memorial without LIV Golf's Brooks Koepka, Cam Smith: 'I don't even consider those guys part of the game anymore.'" Just don't. It's not salacious, but this article with Jack before Jack's tournament this week is worth your time. That Jack made $33.33 in his first PGA event is even more mind-boggling when you remember that every professional player who missed the cut at Augusta this year made $10,000.

— Interesting update on Sage Steele's "free-speech" lawsuit against ESPN and Disney, which is involved in a higher profile "free-speech" lawsuit against the state of Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

— Former Tennessee right-hander Ben Joyce is already in the show. He made his MLB debut last night with two Ks in an inning of relief for the Angels. Yeah, when you throw 102-plus (he was clocked at 102.2 last night) you don't tend to stay in the minors very long.

Today's questions

Which way Wednesday starts this way:

Which is your best guess for how long Nick Saban coaches at Alabama: Five more years (or more) or he'll be gone before 2027?

Which is the bigger threat to college football as we know it: NIL, the portal, continued expansion of the playoff/Power Five conferences?

Which school, in the next three years, will spend the most in football recruiting?

Answer some Which Ways, ask some Which Ways.

As for today, the final day of May, let's review.

Walt Whitman would have been 204 today.

The criminally underrated Tom Berenger is 74 today. Lea Thompson is 62 today, and considering she can trot out "Back to the Future," "All the Right Moves," "Red Dawn" and "Some Kind of Wonderful" she has a very strong 1980s Rushmore.

Man, Clint Eastwood is 93 today. Wow, what a career.

What's Clint's Rushmore of non-Westerns? Go.