Monday Night, when Alabama and Clemson square off, Nick Saban is coaching for a lot more than a National Championship. He is not coaching for his job, or any other job. Oddly enough, he is coaching for his 100th win at Alabama. More importantly though, he is coaching for a new legacy. The legacy as the coach of the greatest run in College Football history and that is no exaggeration.
Now, win or lose, what the University of Alabama has accomplished since the beginning of Nick Saban’s second season is phenomenal. It is history in its own right, but if the Crimson Tide win, you must call them the most dominant program you have ever seen. There is nothing that comes close. Unlike USC in the 2000’s, Nebraska in the 90’s, and Miami in the 80’s, Nick Saban will have longevity.
Miami had 3 different head coaches for their 4 Championships from 83-91, so who do we credit for that? Tom Osborne won 3 National Championships in 4 years at Nebraska, but it took him 22 years before he reached that point. USC was dominant from 2002-2004, but only won a single “undisputed” National Championship. Even if you credit them with 2, they dominated the Pac-10 at a weak point in the conference’s history. That does not rival what Nick Saban has done. In fact, there is nothing post World War II that rivals Saban. You have to go all the way back to Notre Dame (1943-49) to see anything comparable.
This is greatest College Football dynasty of our lifetime and possibly ever. If the Crimson Tide beat Clemson on Monday, then they will have four national championships in 7 years. That is practically unheard of in the modern era of sports, especially in College Football. In this new age of college football, where recruiting starts in the 7th grade and players often visit teams hundreds of miles away from their home, this level of excellence does not make sense. It should be more competitive than ever, but let’s face it, since 2008 it has been Nick Saban’s world and everyone else has just been living in it. The Tide have not lost to a team ranked outside of the AP top-20 since the Iron Bowl in 2007. All the while, Nick Saban is reeling in 5-Star recruits and spewing out NFL prospects at levels that are reminiscent of “The U” in their hay-day.
You could say Nick Saban does it all. He does so much that he has built a machine more dominant than Bear Bryant, Bo Schembechler, or Woody Hayes ever dreamed of. He is doing it in the “Quarterback Era” without ever having a superstar under center. He wins championships with game managers in a time where everyone thinks you have to play without fullbacks and score 40 points a half. Nick Saban is keeping it simple and all you can do is respect it. It is the definition of staying true to form.
The way he is winning is so different from everyone else that you could say there is a mystique that comes with this Alabama football program. Every year we expect the dynasty to come to an end.
We say “this is the year someone from the SEC dethrones Bama”. What we need to start saying is “will anyone from the SEC ever dethrone Nick Saban?”.
All we can really hope for is that athletic directors quit trying to find the coach that will, because they will not. Your only hope is having Cam Newton, a Kick-Six, or the most NFL talent-laden rosters College Football has to offer. In other words, good luck with that. All College Football can do is hope that some NFL team with a decent quarterback gets smart and offers Nick Saban the job, because there is no other way to defeat this giant. Just be glad you get to witness.
In a way, I hope Nick Saban wins Monday and then takes a job in the NFL. That way there is no blemish on his run at Alabama. He would finish with just under an .850 win percentage over 8 years. It would be a story book ending. Saban has given us just a little less than a decade’s worth of winning. It would only add to his legacy for him to vanish, maybe that is what it will take to makes us truly value it. Honestly, how anyone could ever dominate a sport so much, in its most competitive period of time? There have been so many great coaches in College Football history and not to take for granted or disrespect any team from the past, but there is nothing quite like the present. Especially when you are discussing who is on top of College Football. And if you ask me, Nick Saban is the definition of being on top of the sport and you would be hard pressed to find better.