Like I Said, Don’t Bet Against Nick Saban

Nick-Saban-FoundationFour national championships in eight years. That’s remarkable. Three titles in the past four years at Alabama. That’s a dynasty.

On Monday I wrote that I never bet against Nick Saban in a National Championship game. It’s just silly.

“His teams are always prepared and laser-focused. Alabama is deep, experienced and used to the gigantic stage it’ll play on tonight. Notre Dame’s last national title came in 1988 and they’re undefeated. Kudos to them for that, but that’s where the back-slapping ends.”

Yes, I just quoted myself.

I thought Alabama would win handily, 31-17, but I didn’t think the Crimson Tide would dominate the game from start to finish. From the opening kickoff, it was obvious Notre Dame was in trouble. Quarterback AJ McCarron passed with ease and running back Eddie Lacy sliced through the vaunted Fighting Irish defense like a hot knife through butter. At first glance I thought I might have been watching Oregon’s high-octane offense. Notre Dame looked slow, couldn’t tackle and was on its heels. It didn’t get any better after that.

14-0 after one quarter. 28-0 at halftime. 35-7 after 3 quarters. 42-14 after 4. Alabama simply dismantled Notre Dame’s overmatched defense. The Tide rolled up 529 total yards and achieved the ultimate in balance: 265 rushing yards and 264 passing yards. Alabama’s defense was stout too, overwhelming Notre Dame’s young quarterback Everett Golson.

That brings me back to Saban.

The Saban “process” has played itself out in grand fashion since he arrived at Alabama in 2007. He recruits quality people and players. He programs their minds to fit into his organization. The players buy everything he sells.

I think it’s now fair to say Saban has surpassed legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant, the standard by which all Alabama coaches are judged. Bryant won six national championships in 24 years in Tuscaloosa. Saban has three in six years at the helm. Only three other coaches in the history of college football have won four national championships. If Saban stays put and coaches at Alabama another 10 years, who knows what he can accomplish. Saban is only 61 and he’s the best coach in the history of college football. I invite arguments.

We’re witnessing a coaching genius at the top of his profession doing great things.

Can Alabama win three in a row? I never bet against Nick Saban.


  1. I think it’s too early in his career to deem him the greatest. He and Bear coached in different eras, but Nick needs to win for an extended amount of time. His stay at Alabama is his longest in one place (6 years) so he needs to settle down with a program. Heck, Pete Carroll was on the road to greatness with those USC teams…but is he considered one of the greatest ever? Time has a funny way of leveling things out. That being said, and as an Alabama alum, I hope Nick hangs around for awhile at the Capstone. We can’t understand what goes though his mind, what motivates him and what makes him happy. The man is just wired differently. Alabama fans just need to savor the “now” because it’s doubtful any team will see this “process” in the near future. Just my .02.

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