As the Crimson Tide look to get their 5th National Championship in 9 years is the time of Nick Saban finally winding down. This would be his 6th NC, tying him with the legend Paul “Bear” Bryant, and would start the conversation of what’s next?! At the age of 66 it would make sense for Nick to ride off into the sunset with another NC but what if they lose? What if he wants to break Bryant’s record not just match it? What if he wants to be like Bill Snyder?
First we will look at wether the ghost of Bryant looms over Nick Saban like some fans believe it does. I have gone back and forth on this but I don’t think this is as big of a deal as most people may make it out to be. In the eyes of most Nick has already surpassed anyone to ever do it on the college level and has absolutely nothing left to prove. The fact that he has Championships with two different teams (LSU and Alabama) also helps with that argument. So although I think he wonders about it sometimes, he is more likely still coaching for the love of doing it and not having other interest to fill the void left by leaving coaching. Along with that if you have met an Alabama fan over the age of 45 then you know that no man will ever replace The Bear on their power rankings.
So let’s look at why he may retire no matter what the outcome is Monday. I look at the loss of coordinators and other coaches that are great recruiters. (Mario Cristobal, Kirby Smart, Jeremy Pruitt, and more.) That has shown in Alabama’s ranking this year in recruiting, which isn’t bad by any means but they have no chance of getting to #1 and for a Saban team that’s unheard of. Secondly I look at his personal life as he is now a grandfather and the pressure from his family may soon take over. What man in his late sixties wouldn’t want to retire with his mountain of money and watch his family grow. Lastly I look seriously at the SEC and the growing competition, for years Saban almost single handily sent the conference into a whirlwind trying to keep up. Not only on the field but also in facilities, recruiting and respect. Finally I believe the competition is catching up with Georgia and Auburn as the obvious foes. Texas A&M, Florida, Tennessee and LSU are on the way back as well and could start to help the conference get back to the dominance of the early 2000’s.
And after all of that rambling I still think we will see Nick on the sideline to start the 2018 season against Louisville. Lamar Jackson won’t be there and the rest of the out of conference schedule is frankly a joke. In the SEC they get A&M and Auburn at home and Tennessee and Missouri in the cross division games. So look for the Tide to once again be in consideration for the Playoff again as long as Nick does continue. As for my thoughts on the game Monday night…Come back on Monday morning for that.