Kaitlan Collins never hesitates to wear her love of Alabama football on her sleeve on CNN shows, especially this week while co-hosting the network’s morning news show “New Day.”
The Prattville native and University of Alabama graduate, now CNN’s chief White House correspondent, discussed a few stories focused on the Crimson Tide, starting with Nick Saban’s new mega-deal announced last week this makes him the highest paid coach in college football.
Saban’s new contract is worth $93.6 million. He will be under contract through the 2029 season and will earn $10.7 million in the first year of the deal and $12.7 million in the final year. He will be 78 when this agreement expires.
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CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez, who played basketball for Northwestern, joined the show to breach the contract. Collins’ “New Day” co-host John Berman quickly chimed in to point out his fandom.
“Kaitlan Collins in Alabama’s number one superfan on Earth, whose screensaver on her phone is Nick Saban,” he said, Jimenez noting her Twitter background photo also includes Saban. Collins showed his phone to the camera to confirm.
Berman then asked if college coaches should make that much money.
“When you look at the amount of money these football programs bring to these schools, so many people want to go to these schools just to be around Nick Saban, to play for Nick Saban, and even as a student to go. at Alabama games,” Jimenez said. “I think that also shows where the priorities are if you’re a state employee or a state institution you’re going to put all that money on Nick Saban Obviously, you have to believe it’s worth it, otherwise you’d put it somewhere else.
Then Collins stepped in.
“And not only do I don’t think he’s overpaid, but I think he’s underpaid,” she said. “And it’s not just the six national championships and the eight SEC championships that contribute to my thinking, look at enrollment in Alabama…it was 24,000 students…it’s now 38,000 students. The number of students from out of state has also skyrocketed, obviously they pay higher tuition. It makes college so much money that if you look at a balance sheet, it makes sense.
“And maybe it’s not what everybody likes or what everybody thinks is the most intellectual thing for a university to pursue, but it attracts students and it boosts morale, and that in makes a really exciting campus to join. I had a great time there. It’s underpaid in the sense of the ROI they get for what it brings to the school. And that’s also a coach very invested in player development, it’s not just their four years there, it’s the whole thing that means so much to him.
During Friday’s edition of “New Day,” CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten also joined Collins and Berman with to discuss college football teams that have a shot at winning the national championship this year and which teams are trending on Google among fans across the country.
The start of the season, which Collins called “my favorite time of the year,” and although she said she knew what she thought of Alabama’s chances at another championship, they asked to Enten the actual projections. The numbers, based on ESPN data, show Alabama has a 30% chance of winning it all. Enten clarified.
“Of course, that means a 70% chance that someone other than Alabama will win the national championship,” he said. Under the tide were Ohio State with a 27% chance, Georgia with a 24% chance and Clemson with a 10%.
“A big question is people love to hate Alabama because they’re so good,” Collins said, moving on to ask Enten about college football-related search trends. “Who would America want to see win?”
Over the past 30 days, Alabama is number one overall for top searches for college football teams by region, according to Google Trends, with Oregon dominating the West, Iowa the Midwest and Penn State the North-east.
Collins went on to say that one thing that surprised her when she moved from her home state to Washington D.C. was that the world planned its Saturdays around college football. “I was a bit devastated and questioned my life choices,” she joked. Enten went on to explain where college football ranks among the most popular sports in the country. According to Ipsos KnowledgePanel, the NFL remains the most popular with 51% of American adults weighing in, followed by professional baseball and then college football.
Enten then shared college data that showed the Midwest actually trailed the South by 41% to 40% as the biggest college football fan in America, with West third and Northeast fourth.
The Data Reporter then followed Collins by sharing the college football programs that have the most national championships in history, saying Yale led the pack with 18, noting that they hadn’t won a title since. 1927 and that Alabama had 16. Collins then modified the large table. writing an 18 next to Alabama’s total. “According to Alabama, but I’m going to the official NCAA site.”
Watch the segment on Saban’s contract below, and watch the data report discussion here.