Like it is:

Here's one game Saban's destined to lose

By: Wally Hall
Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Alabama NCAA college football coach Nick Saban talks with the media at his weekly press conference, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, at Naylor-Stone Media Suite in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, (Vasha Hunt/AL.com via AP)
Alabama NCAA college football coach Nick Saban talks with the media at his weekly press conference, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, at Naylor-Stone Media Suite in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, (Vasha Hunt/AL.com via AP)

In this column, the names have been changed to protect the not-so innocent.

In the SEC, the favorite conversation is no longer whether anyone can beat Alabama and Sir Nick Saban, but who's on the hot seat.

Coacheshotseat.com, which is probably just someone's subjective opinion, lists the top 30 coaches whose jobs are supposedly on the line.

Of those 30, six are from the SEC and four are from the Western Division, which may have something to do with the inability to beat Alabama.

Monday afternoon, a ripple of excitement and anticipation went through the newsroom of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and, understand, the editorial staff is complete with fans not only of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville but also of Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, Kentucky, Missouri (several in fact) and LSU, and that's just from the handful of people yours truly knows.

A lot of trash talk goes on in the newsroom.

No one has gotten more grief than an Ole Miss graduate we simply will call Shea. The fall of the righteous Hugh Freeze has been like Hades frozen over for Shea. Shea, like all the fans, remains loyal and faithful, and he was not the first in line to get into the pool for which coach won't be back next year.

It was a blind draw, and all 14 SEC coaches' names went into a hat -- OK, it actually was a tin pan with a tight lid, and each player drew a name. Whoever drew the name of the first SEC coach to no longer head his program is the winner.

No doubt, many soon visited coacheshotseat.com to see whether their coach was there.

That website lists Kevin Sumlin as being on the fourth-hottest seat in the country, Arkansas' Brett Bielema fifth, LSU's Ed Orgeron eighth, Missouri's Barry Odom 10th, Tennessee's Butch Jones 17th and Auburn's Gus Malzahn 27th.

Malzahn has done a very good job with the Tigers and owns a victory over Saban, but the Tigers Nation may be the most fickle in the world of perspiring arts.

In the 10 years Saban has been at Alabama, the Razorbacks and Volunteers are 0-10 against him. Mississippi State, Florida, Texas A&M (with Johnny Football at quarterback), Georgia and South Carolina have one victory. Ole Miss has two, while LSU and Auburn have secured three victories with eight and seven losses, respectively -- or really, not so respectively.

Ole Miss' Matt Luke isn't listed on that website, but he's an interim coach, which is a much-hated title by everyone who wears it.

Anyway, a little after 2 p.m. the 14 people who would have been willing to gamble a quarter (as in 25 cents) -- if there was any monetary involvement -- gathered around Papa Walt's desk for their draw.

Obviously, no one wanted Saban. It would take some tragic accident for the most powerful man in Alabama to give up his kingdom. My thought was that after him, no one should want Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, Florida's Jim McElwain or Bielema.

Sure, some fans are unhappy with Bielema because in the past three games against FBS teams the Hogs have scored zero points and given up 70 in the second halves combined. But the season is young, and Bielema's future is not subject to public opinion but that of Athletic Director Jeff Long, who hired him.

The best names to have would be Sumlin, Odom and Luke, and sure enough those were the ones with the lowest odds. Sumlin was drawn by Philip, Odom by Steve and Luke by Doug.

There was a little irony when the LSU fan -- who we'll call David -- drew Orgeron, who David isn't happy with after the throttling by the MSU Bulldogs on Saturday.

And the unlucky player who drew Saban's name, let's call him Wally.

Sports on 09/20/2017

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