By John Boyle
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who briefly coached in the NFL, made headlines this week when he said on the Dan Patrick Show, “Alabama, gosh, they look like they could beat a couple of those NFL teams that I’ve watched on Sundays.”
This is not a new debate, nor it is it a very intelligent one. Even the worst NFL teams have players on their bench, heck their practice squads, who would dominate at the college level. And while a team like Nick Saban’s current squad at Alabama is loaded with NFL talent, those players are still developing, and even the best college teams still rely on plenty of players who will never sniff the NFL.
So why are we even talking about this, particularly on a blog devoted to Seattle sports? Ah, glad you asked. You see, back with his teams at USC were winning national titles and producing boatloads of first-round picks, Pete Carroll used to hear people say that his teams could hang with the NFL bottom-feeders.
“I wasn’t buying it,” Carroll said when that old topic came up Wednesday. And Carroll still isn’t buying it today.
“That’s interesting, because I was confronted with that at times, and the falsehood is to think that could ever take place,” he said. “It ain’t even close. It is not even close. Alabama’s got a great team and Nick is a fantastic coach, but when match up the interior lines against NFL teams, on either side of the ball, it wouldn’t even be close.
“In the development, those young guys in their lines, most of his guys are going to play in the NFL—our guys were all winding up having a chance to play—but at the time that you’d play them when they’re still in college, they’re not ready for it, in my opinion. I used to say that, ‘Don’t kid yourself, there ain’t no way.’ It’s not the receivers, it’s not the running backs, it’s what would happen up front that would be tremendously shocking to a college team.”