Why Is Alabama vs. LSU Also Called the Saban Bowl?

    The Saban Bowl determines a ton in college football. Let's break down what it is and why it's so important to the Alabama vs. Louisiana State game.

    When the Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers meet, one man stands at the center of everyone’s attention. The Saban Bowl carries tremendous weight in a given season thanks to Alabama head coach Nick Saban. It’s a simple explanation that brings plenty of importance to the game.

    What is the Saban Bowl?

    We all talk about Saban being the best coach in college football, and for good reason. His seven national championships are the highlight of what’s been a legendary career, and his journey to this point has created plenty of storylines. It’s also the foundation of the Saban Bowl.

    Saban began his head coaching career with the Toledo Rockets, where he turned them into a 9-2 team. That performance vaulted him to the Michigan State job, where he led the Spartans to a 34-24-1 record in his five years in East Lansing. After a 9-2 finish in 1999, LSU commanded his services.

    MORE: Nick Saban’s Salary, Contract, Net Worth

    A team hurting for success at the highest level, the Tigers fanbase hoped that Saban could help them rise to the top of the SEC. LSU hadn’t won a national championship since 1958 and hadn’t won the SEC since 1986. Saban put an end to the droughts and put the Tigers back on the map.

    After finishing 48-16 in his five years in Baton Rouge, Saban took his talents to the professional level when the Miami Dolphins came calling. That time in Miami affirmed that he belonged in college, and he hasn’t looked back since then.

    Alabama hired Saban in 2007, and the Tide dynasty began just two years into his tenure. The Tide have 15 consecutive double-digit win seasons since his arrival and notched six more national championships during that time.

    Simply put, LSU’s trying to beat their former head coach to prove they’re fine, even flourishing, without him. Alabama looks to add to its legendary legacy that continues to grow.

    Why is it important?

    This rivalry goes back to 1902 and recently has largely determined which team wins the SEC (they’ve combined to win it 11 times since 2007). While Alabama has dominated the series, the hype surrounding the game gets to extreme levels every year.

    Saban is 16-6 against the opposition (4-1 with LSU and 12-5 with Alabama) coming into the 2023 season, so it’s safe to say which team has the advantage every year. If you have Saban, you typically win.

    One or both teams have had national championship aspirations, and a loss generally takes them out of that race (except for in 2012). The kids playing in the game are typically recruited by both schools, and some have a chip on their shoulders based on how their recruiting plays out.

    There are so many implications with the Saban Bowl. Championships, legacies, draft stock, and so much more are on the line in this game. Of course, Saban is the driving force behind it. When you win, people watch, and he’s made an impact on two schools that demand the attention of the college football world every year.

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