The Spread, Week 3: An L For An L

This weekend, Alabama and Texas A&M meet for a much-anticipated follow-up to last year’s thrilling game, a surprise Aggie upset that put Johnny Manziel on the map, for better or worse. Okay, definitely for worse.

Alabama is loaded again this year and still coached by Nick Saban, the Dark Lord of College Football. It’s no secret that Saban is a great coach, but he is especially adept at revenge. In fact, if there’s one thing that makes Nick Saban happy (if that is indeed an emotion he is capable of experiencing), I’d bet it’s beating the tar out of a team who bested him in their previous meeting.

I’ve examined Saban’s career as a head coach, from Michigan State through the present day (he was only at Toledo for a year, so there were no revenge opportunities), and I have found that Saban has a career Revenge Percentage of 71%. This is pretty good, considering his early MSU days were not kind to him. If you ignore his time with the Spartans, that number jumps to a staggering 88.2%, as he has lost just two revenge opportunities since the year 2000. With Alabama, he is currently at an impressive 87.5% (which would increase to 88.9% with a win this weekend).

But enough about those SEC jerks, what about our own favorite and least favorite coaches?

While Urban Meyer would first have to lose a game at Ohio State before he could avenge said hypothetical loss, it’s not a bad idea to check into his history with such things, just so we’re prepared. And it’s no surprise that I have good news: Meyer has a career Revenge Percentage of 80%, with only two losses ever, both at Florida (one to Nick Saban). This is a reflection of two qualities that have made Meyer such a successful coach: he doesn’t lose much and his teams tend to improve, especially from his first year to his second.

On the flip side, there’s Brady Hoke, who has done more than his fair share of losing. One need only look at his days at Ball State and San Deigo State to see that success does not come as easily for That Coach Up North. Neither does vengeance, as Hoke’s career Revenge Percentage sits at a mediocre 51.5%. A bright spot for Wolverine fans: He is 3-0 at UM so far, including last weekend’s victory over Notre Dame. It may be difficult for Hoke to maintain that perfection for long though, with revenge games against Nebraska and Ohio State (and possibly South Carolina?) still to come this season.


  1. Chris Kuhner says

    If Bama can run up the score they will definitely be running up the score. You know Saban has been scheming all spring/summer on ways to frustrate ole Johnny and the Aggies.

  2. As I watched A&M upset ‘Bama (funny how you remember these things. I was finishing up dinnner with the fam at City BBQ) I thought, man they are going to kill Manziel next year. Not beat them by 3 touchdowns, but literally do enough physical harm to his body that he gives up the ghost.

    I don’t know if it happens or not, but I have a feeling someone takes a cheap shot on him and it comes back to haunt them.

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