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Nick Saban has an impeccable in-season rematch record in pro, and even better in college

Nick Saban on the sideline for Alabama versus Ole Miss
Photo by CrimsonTidePhotos

Nick Saban has seen it all across his career. From last-second touchdowns, multiple overtime games and coordinators leaving before championship games, there isn’t much that Saban hasn’t already experienced.

With Alabama preparing for its in-season rematch against Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, it’s once again another unique setting where Saban not only has experience but a history of success.

Throughout his career at both the college and pro level, Saban is 7-2 overall when it comes to rematches in the same season. During his 2005 season as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Saban lost the first time he played each of his division opponents (the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and New England Patriots), only to circle back around and beat all three during the rematches.

But more importantly (and relevant) is his success running it back in-season at the college level where he has won every single rematch.

In 2001 with LSU, the Tigers lost to Tennessee in Week 3 26-18 and then turned things around in the SEC Championship game and defeated the Volunteers 31-20. Moving on to 2003, Saban and the Tigers ironically squared off against the Bulldogs during Week 4 and took home the 17-10 win at home. The teams would later meet in the SEC Championship once again but this time Saban’s squad took it up a notch and won 34-13.

But most famously, Saban and Alabama played LSU twice during the 2011 season with the first matchup being deemed “The Game of the Century” as the Crimson Tide fell to the Tigers 9-6 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama later turned things around and saw a much different result against LSU the second time around in a dominating 21-0 win in the national championship game.

At the college level, Saban’s teams have certainly shown more intensity during the second game of the same season series. His LSU and Alabama teams combine for an overall point differential 0f plus 53 points in rematches with an average margin of victory of 17.6 points.

Despite the convincing list of data, there are still a few flaws in the hypothesis.

In all of his in-season rematches in college, Saban has had at least two months in between each one of his rematches and none of his first meetings with each team have come as late as the SEC Championship Game.

Alabama was able to win convincingly in the form of a 41-24 beatdown over Georgia back in early December, but this time around the Crimson Tide are significantly more beat up on both sides of the ball.

Whether these factors prove to make any sort of impact will remain to be seen on Monday Jan. 1 when Alabama kickoff against Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship.

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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