Alabama Football: Why Nick Saban Will Not Go Down as the Greatest Coach Ever
Saban is one of the greatest coaches in Tide history, as well. In fact, he's the only Tide coach ever to have his statue commissioned during his tenure at the Capstone. (For that matter, it was commissioned during the early part of his Tide career.)
Saban will be one of the greatest coaches ever to grace the sidelines of a college football field. This article will highlight reasons that he could be considered the greatest and the reasons that the rest of college football will not recognize him as such.
There is infinite room in the comment section for your opinions on the matter. Feel free to drop a point or two after the show.
Pro: National Championships
Saban became the first coach ever to win national championships at two different FBS schools when he led the Tide to its 2009 crown. For that, he is in a class by himself.
After a measly five seasons at the Capstone, he has two national championships to his name. That's a championship percentage of 40. (Although it's 66.7 over the last three years.)
In order for Bear Bryant to have kept up with Saban's pace, he would have had to win 10 during his time as head of the Tide. (Technically, he did, but you have to count absolutely any championship awarded by any system at all.)
If Saban wins four more, he will be at the top of the list for national championships with seven.
Con: Winning Percentage
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Saban has a career record of 141-54-1 in college football so far. His record at the Capstone is a staggering 50-12.
With his Tide win percentage at 80.6, his overall percentage stands to do nothing but rise while he's in Tuscaloosa. (It's currently at 71.9.)
While this looks great for his legacy at Alabama, his work is more than cut out for him. In order to pass Knute Rockne (at 88.1 percent), Saban would have to win 271 games without losing even one. (Record being 412-54-1 for his career at that point.)
Saban would have to stay coaching until week five of the 2030 season without losing a single game. That would be 18 straight national championships, and Saban would be 79 years old.
Stats don't tell the whole story, of course, but Knute Rockne is a huge coach to surpass on that winning percentage list. (Naturally, there is an asterisk by Rockne, as he only coached 122 games over 13 seasons.)
Of course, Saban would only have to win 237 more games to pass Bobby Bowden on the all-time wins list. That would be manageable by the year 2033 if he averaged 10 wins per season. At his current average of 10, that seems slightly possible.
*All stats on this page modified to reflect the five vacated wins from 2007.
Con: His Nickname
Saban "The Savior" is known for resurrecting programs that are ghosts of their former glory. He did it with LSU in 2003, who hadn't won one since 1958 before he resurrected the Tide in 2009 following a 17-year championship drought.
You may be asking, "Why is this a con?" The reason is simple: If the program hadn't seen glory days in the first place, Saban wouldn't have been able to resurrect them.
Saban is standing atop the heap of current college football coaches. The issue with his rise to the top of all-time coaches is that he has to overcome the records of the coaches that built college football into what it is today.
Saban can earn his spot near the top of all-time college football coaches by simply winning four more national championships. Championships are not the whole story, though. Consensus recognition is necessary for a title such as the greatest of all time, and Saban will not receive that from other programs.
He will continue being a dominant force, and will likely be the best coach of the 21st century. The best of all time will be debated until the end of college football.
Nick Saban will work his way into that debate, make no mistake about that. Winning the debate, however, is an order that even Saban may not be able to fill.