From 1995 to 1999, Nick Saban was the head football coach of Michigan State. He amassed a record of 34-24-1, and though he went 0-3 in bowl games he had the Spartans in the top 10 to end the 1999 season.

And then he up and left.

Since he left he has won four national titles. One with LSU, and three with Alabama and is obviously in contention for a fifth in this year's College Football Playoff.

Most Spartan fans have plenty of different reasons and theories as to why he left. The money was too good, LSU's tradition is much better, the weather is better in Baton Rouge, MSU lives in the shadow of Michigan, and so on.

At that time, Michigan was a top program in the country sitting in the top 5 at the end of 1999, so that last point actually was a bit of a fair point. In fact, Saban even made mention of that point during his exit process.

When asked about his time at Michigan State and why he left the school this juicy detail was uttered.


If you didn't visit that link above it's an archived Chicago Tribune story and Saban is quoted:

""At Michigan State we were never No. 1," Saban said. "It was always Michigan this or that. (In) Ohio it would be Ohio State. In Indiana it's Purdue. Chicago, it's every other school in the Big Ten. In the East it's Penn State. Wherever you go you're looking at someone else when you're recruiting, trying to convince someone you're up there.""

But he has no recollection of it. Interesting.

For what it's worth to the other conspiracy theorists out there, Saban is also quoted in that Tribune story.

""Security is always important to you and to your family," Saban, 48, said Tuesday in Baton Rouge, La. "But it's not the reason I came here. I liked the challenge of this football program... I think there is great tradition.""

Regardless of what happened, the past is in the past and Michigan State will look to not only get revenge on their old coach in a national semifinal but also avenge a lopsided 49-7 loss earlier in the decade during bowl season.

New Year's Eve can't come soon enough for the Green and White.