Alabama got its man Wednesday, or at least one of the men in its not-so-little black book of potential coaches.
Nick Saban, who today officially becomes the Larry Brown of football, left the Miami Dolphins flopping like fish out of water to accept the head coaching position of the Crimson Tide. He rejoins the SEC West just two years after forsaking LSU for the NFL.
It all happened in curious fashion. Saban issued denial after denial about his interest in the 'Bama job, so many that the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Internet site has a timeline of statements from the coach that should be required reading for Crimson Tide fans.
Did he want the job, or didn't he? Wouldn't it be refreshing if just once a coach came out and said, "Sure, I'll listen. Alabama is a storied program with some seriously deep pockets, and I'm a total control freak who wants to get back to telling players when to go to sleep at night."
Why couldn't Saban have said he was interested? It's not like the Dolphins players could have decommitted and signed with another AFC East team. It's not like the boosters would have gotten upset. And it's not like fans in Miami will miss him after this year's team went 6-10.
At least the hiring of Saban removes much of the egg on the face of the Alabama program. The egg got there as the Tide went through a round of speed dating trying to find someone to replace Mike Shula, a poor hire to begin with who was overwhelmed by the machine in Tuscaloosa.
Saban is exactly what Tide Athletic Director Mal Moore promised the faithful all along, a "proven winner." He won a national title at LSU in 2003, and his five-year tenure in Baton Rouge included two SEC titles and a 48-16 record. No less than 28 of his Tigers were taken in the NFL Draft.
Make no mistake: Saban will win at Alabama. He'll win big. It once again will be OK to talk about national titles in Tuscaloosa, and it won't be hyperbole.
And winning cures a lot of ills. Heck, Shula won 10 games in 2005 and got a contract extension. Turns out not to be the brightest move in history, but most schools overreact to winning seasons.
Now the question becomes how well Saban will fit with the Crimson Tide. He's a control freak to the nth degree, and he won't put up with the meddling done by the traditional power brokers near the program. That will be just fine with those who feel the good ol' boys should go the way of VCRs and dial-up, but we all know some of the bigger boosters won't be going quietly.
Tide fans always have outsized expectations for head coaches. Not only do they want proven winners, but they want someone who shakes hands and kisses babies. They want a guy who is just as good at the booster barbecue in Anniston as he is calling blitzes on Saturdays.
And that's not in Saban's DNA. It may not be a coincidence that Saban and surly start with the same letter.
So win he must. And even if he does, Alabama will have to look over its shoulder. Saban is on his 13th coaching job since 1975, and he has never stayed longer than five years in any given stint - including eight jobs in which he was there two years or less.
Listen closely, Tide fans. As soon as you hear, "I guess I have to say it: I'm not going to be the (insert school name here) coach. I shouldn't even have to comment on this. I think I've said this over and over again. What (insert school name here) does with their position is their business," it's time to bust out that little black book again.
For more coverage of the Alabama Crimson Tide, check out BamaOnLine.com.