Nick Saban on College GameDay with Pat McAfee and Lee Corso Credit: ESPN

88-year-old Lee Corso has made it clear he has no plans to retire from ESPN College GameDay (or his main job pushing pencils).

However, his eventual replacement may already be in the works.

The NY Post’s Andrew Marchand noted in Monday’s Sports Clicker newsletter that former Alabama head coach Nick Saban ending up on GameDay is a “no-brainer.” That’s according to a source “with knowledge of ESPN’s thinking.”

Marchand also noted that while Corso remains on the show, he “will likely just do the prediction mascot head segment come next fall.” If that’s the case, that opens up a seat at the table immediately.

The timing certainly would be right. Few people represent the SEC better than Saban and the SEC’s new deal with Disney kicks in next season. The iconic 3:30 SEC game of the week is leaving CBS for ESPN and ABC. While GameDay routinely visits SEC schools during the season, it stands to reason we could see a slight uptick in that coverage based on the arrangement.

Whether or not Saban does become a regular on GameDay, ESPN has been seeding the possibility for a while now, purposefully or not.

We already know that the Alabama coach infamously had preliminary discussions in 2014 about retiring and joining GameDay, though nothing came to fruition. In the years since, the seven-time national champion coach has joined the GameDay crew several times for national title broadcasts, including last year when he got a first-hand taste of the Pat McAfee experience.

Saban has also become a fixture on The Pat McAfee Show, appearing weekly during the college football season.

After announcing his retirement last week, GameDay’s Rece Davis stopped by McAfee’s show to discuss what’s next for Saban and made it clear that he wanted to remain a fixture in the college football world, with broadcasting as the most logical next step.

“He did speak quite a bit about wanting to be an advocate for the good of the game, whether that was to help find some parameters,” Davis said on The Pat McAfee Show. “He really emphasized, and he really wanted it known — the NIL, transfer portal stuff — that did not chase him out of coaching. I think he managed that pretty well over the last few years. But what he says is for the sport to be sustainable so that it’s good for the players, that there needs to be some type of framework. And if he can be involved in any way doing that, he wants to continue to have a voice.

“I think that we know he’s really interested in broadcasting because he’s really good at it. You guys see that every week when he joins (PMS).”

Davis and Saban then did a sit-down interview shortly thereafter, and the GameDay host almost seemed to know something about what was next for the coach.

“I know there’s some opportunities out there for me somewhere,” started Saban.

“I can think of one, but, go ahead, sorry,” said Davis, chuckling.

“I’d probably like to do that, but somebody told me once, you can’t start a broadcasting career when you’re 80,” responded the 72-year-old.

There’s been no official indication that Saban is GameDay-bound next season, but it certainly feels like there’s officially enough smoke out there to start looking for the fire.

[NY Post]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.