Brian Kelly Throws Subtle Shade At Nick Saban Over SEC’s Proposed 9-Game Conference Schedule

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LSU coach Brian Kelly and Alabama’s Nick Saban have been two of the most successful coaches in recent college football history.

Saban is the straw that stirs the drink that the is the Alabama dynasty. While Kelly spent a over a decade turning Notre Dame back into a national title contender.

Saban’s Crimson Tide demolished Kelly’s Fighting Irish, 42-14 in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game. Bama also took off Notre Dame, 31-14, in the 2020 College Football Playoff semifinals.

But now Kelly is in Baton Rouge and the, erm, tide may be turning.

The Tigers went 10-4 in Kelly’s first season, including an impressive 32-31 overtime victory over Alabama. And while Kelly and Saban are friendly, that didn’t prevent the LSU coach from throwing some shade in Saban’s direction in a recent interview with ESPN.

Saban, whose opinion carries as much weight as any in college football, recently criticized the SEC for its new schedule format that locked Alabama into matchups with Auburn, Tennessee and, you guessed it, LSU.

Brian Kelly Takes Differing Opinion Than Nick Saban On New SEC Schedule

Kelly, however, has a different view of the situation.

“I’ve been in this for three decades, and no disrespect to any of the other schools that we play outside of the SEC, but they just don’t excite me,” said Kelly, who is entering his second season at LSU. “I want to play the best. I came down here to the SEC because I wanted to play against Alabama. I want to play A&M. I want to play Auburn, the great teams, and in our new scheduling we get to play Alabama every year, Ole Miss every year and A&M, and that’s really why I came down here. I want to play those games, and I think playing nine SEC games is great for your schedule, and it prepares you for the opportunity to play for a championship but also play for the national championship.” – via ESPN

The new format would see the Tigers face Bama, Texas A&M and Ole Miss each season. By nature, it’s hard for SEC West teams to avoid a brutal schedule.

But it’s clear Kelly, at least publicly, has a much different view of things than Saban.

With an expanded College Football Playoff soon to come, the schedules may not matter nearly as much. But for now, Kelly isn’t passing up the opportunity for an easy PR win over his rival coach.