Nick Saban feeling pressure, open to leaving Alabama for Texas

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Here we go again. The agent for Alabama head coach Nick Saban told two representatives of Texas that Saban would only consider leaving the Crimson Tide for the Longhorns, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

"Sexton confirmed that UT is the only job Nick would possibly consider leaving Alabama for, and that his success there created special pressure for him," former Texas regent Tom Hicks wrote in an email discussing a January phone call with Saban's agent, Jimmy Sexton.

The email was obtained by the AP through an open records request.

Sexton spoke with Hicks and current regent Wallace Hall days after Saban won his second consecutive BCS championship at UA, his third in the past four seasons.

Sexton is widely regarded as one of the most powerful figures in college football because of his roster of prominent clients, including Saban, South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, Florida's Will Muschamp, and Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, among many others.

Saban has publicly ruled out any such move, while current UT head coach Mack Brown has cooled speculation about his future by going 5-0 to open Big 12 play, putting the Longhorns in control of their own destiny for the conference title and Fiesta Bowl berth.

But as long at the Saban-to-Texas rumors are out there in the ether, Sexton has leverage to get his clients massive raises. The chancellor of UA, Dr. Robert Witt, called Saban's $5.5 million yearly salary "the best financial investment this university has ever made" in a 60 Minutes feature that aired this past Sunday, and the Crimson Tide would certainly match or top any offer UT could put on the table.

Could Saban become the first $10 million-a-year man in college football? A UT-UA bidding war could certainly make it happen, which would put other coaches in line to see significant salary bumps as well.

And Sexton would be there, laughing all the way to the bank.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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