The emperor has new clothes.
This was the scene Thursday at the Southeastern Conference media days in Hoover, Ala., moments before the arrival of Nick Saban.
"Loiterers and signature seekers made the lobby of the Wynfrey Hotel look like the infield at Talladega. The only other arrival that would cause this buzz would be the ghosts of Bear Bryant and Dale Earnhardt walking through the revolving door," writes Wendell Barnhouse of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Then the moment arrives: "An escort that would make the Secret Service proud whisked The Next Bear through the fans and past the paparazzi. This is Southern Football, folks. And no fans are more fervent and devoted than Alabama's."
Yes, Saban can draw a crowd. But Barnhouse wonders if Crimson Tide fans aren't setting themselves up for a big fall.
" 'Bama fans are so desperate for their football program to become nationally relevant that I sincerely hope they're not investing their emotions in a false idol. I find Saban to be neither believable nor credible. He's a coach who has been coached on what to say and how to say."
Then Barnhouse asked the $4 million question. "Last December, you were adamant that you would not be Alabama's coach, yet here you are today. Can you explain why or why not integrity should be an issue for recruits and their families considering the events two weeks before you took the Alabama job.
"His answer, basically, was that he sticking to the story that he didn't mislead or lie when he said he wasn't interested in leaving the NFL for a return to college football. Saban ended his 361-word answer with, 'Maybe we could have handled it a better way.
"The word 'integrity' was not addressed in the answer."