Iron Bowl Matchup: Alabama’s Nick Saban vs. Auburn’s Gus Malzahn

To help prepare for Saturday’s 81st annual Iron Bowl, BamaHammer.com will spotlight a critical Iron Bowl Matchup each day. Today’s matchup is Alabama coach Nick Saban vs. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.

To help prepare for Saturday’s 81st annual Iron Bowl, BamaHammer.com will spotlight a critical Iron Bowl Matchup each day. Today’s matchup is Alabama coach Nick Saban vs. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.

Of all the matchups possible this week for the Iron Bowl, none is more critical – or lopsided – than the one residing on the sidelines at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Nick Saban is unquestionably the best college football coach in America right now, and is making a case for earning the right to be called the best of all time. Saban’s five national championships (four at Alabama, one at LSU) are unparalleled in the modern era, and have Saban being compared to legends like Paul W. Bryant and Bud Wilkinson.

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Saban was the first coach to win a national title at two different schools, and is only the second coach in SEC history to win league titles at two different schools (Bryant did so at Alabama and Kentucky).

Saban’s dominance over the SEC is especially pronounced. He has a 117-18 on-field record in 10 seasons at Alabama, six overall SEC titles and 11 SEC Western Division championships in 15 seasons coaching the Tide and LSU Tigers.

Malzahn has seen modest success as a head coach. Before Auburn, Malzahn served one season at Arkansas State and recorded a 9-3 record. He was hired to replace Gene Chizik as head coach at Auburn for the 2013 season – and led the Tigers to the BCS National Championship game his first season on the Plains. Relatively modest records of 7-6 in 2014 and 8-3 in 2015 followed.

Before Arkansas State and Auburn, Malzahn was an acclaimed offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach – beginning at Arkansas after a stint in high school and continuing on at Tulsa and Auburn.

The Crimson Tide and Tigers will meet for the 81st time in series history Saturday (2:30 pm CT, CBS), with Alabama owning the all-time advantage, 44-35-1. Most recently, the Tide claimed a 29-13 victory in Auburn to clinch the SEC Western Division title and close out the 2015 regular season schedule.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 8-6 in his career against Auburn, including a 6-3 overall mark while with the Crimson Tide and a 3-1 record at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

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