Top five college football games from Week 1

Nick Saban has a new contract. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

In what has become an annual ritual, the Alabama board of trustees approved a new deal for Saban that runs through February 2030. Over the course of that deal, he will earn an average of $11.7 million per year. (Well, at least until this deal is broken and a new one is established 18 months from now.)

Earlier this offseason, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart signed a contract that would pay him an average of $11.2 million per season. Saban, now 70, is once again the highest-paid coach in the sport. And he is still an absolute bargain.

I’ve written this column, or something like it, over the years. Those words came long before the coaching market shifted gears. Saban was a steal at $4 million, $7 million, $10 million and certainly now.

At Alabama, Saban is 178-25 and a staggering 103-16 in the SEC during his time in Tuscaloosa. Since their debut season in 2007, the Crimson Tide have won 12 or more games in 11 of 14 years, which is remarkable.

Saban teams have appeared in the national championship in nine of their 15 seasons, winning six titles. This statistic, more than any other, is hard to fathom.

This year, Saban may add to this number. Alabama is the favorite to win the College Football Playoff at +175. His team is also -145 to win the SEC.

It has produced Heisman winners and enough trophies to fill the ever-evolving football complex. But all the accolades seem to pale in comparison to the impact he has had on the school.

Sign-up rates and other non-soccer metrics are what really underscore Saban’s value. He’s not just the best college football coach to ever walk a sideline or yell red-faced at an official: He’s one of the best business decisions in college athletics history.

Alabama will open the season against Utah State on Saturday. The Aggies were a team of quality and history in 2021, winning 11 games. Saban’s team is a huge 39.5-point favourite.

The Buffet: The five best games of the weekend

1. No. 2 Ohio State (-17, 58.5) vs. No. 5 Notre Dame

It is a large number, and it has increased in the last seven days. Yes, the most exciting game of Week 1 has a spread north of two touchdowns. If you’ve read the previews on this very website so far, you know how I feel about the Buckeyes. And the more I hear about the defense, specifically the defensive line, the more excited I get. For Notre Dame, I’m curious to see what we get with the offense. Sophomore Tyler Buchner, a former four-star recruit, is talented. Still, this will be a challenging environment to thrive in early on. While Notre Dame’s offense will have its work cut out for them, the defense must find a way to slow down Ohio State QB CJ Stroud. Good luck.

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