Nick Saban tried his best to avoid talking about his program being a modern-day dynasty in the lead-up to No. 2 Alabama's BCS National Championship Game versus No. 1 Notre Dame.
After the Crimson Tide throttled the Fighting Irish 42-14 on Monday night at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., that's exactly what it is—and Saban is the architect.
As far as college football coaches go, Saban is in a world all of his own.
Saban has won three of the last four national titles, and four in his last eight years as a college coach. In the age of scholarship limits, multimillion-dollar recruiting budgets and so much competition within his own conference, that's legendary.
The reason is simple—he's a master of preparation.
Give him extra time to prepare a defense, and he's going to succeed more times than not. Since coming to Alabama in 2007, he's 15-4 when given two or more weeks to prepare for an opponent.
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has the dual-threat capabilities to give opposing defenses fits. He isn't Johnny Manziel, as we saw on Monday night. But he's talented.
With time to prepare, though, Saban's defense had Golson looking lost from the moment he stepped on the field—just as Saban did when the season started at Cowboys Stadium, when the Crimson Tide demolished Michigan 41-14.
That's a testament to coaching more than anything else.
Getting 18- to 22-year-old young men to be disciplined with anything is difficult. Getting them to play with the discipline of 30-year-olds is extraordinary, but Saban has done it successfully and consistently ever since his second year in Tuscaloosa.
In the hours of pregame programming leading up to the game, ESPN ran a story on the two BCS National Championship Coaches, what they take pride in and what they find "fun." Saban's answer was simple—"winning."
He's been having a lot of fun lately, thanks to his ability to recruit top-tier talent to Tuscaloosa, get them to buy into his system and recognize that his way is going to get them to the next level.
"The process" is what it's known as. That process produces results that no other coach in America has achieved in this era, and likely won't for a long time now that the era of the four-team playoff is on the horizon.
He doesn't coach against other teams—he coaches against "perfection."
Is Saban on the same level as legendary Alabama head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant? Statistically, it's no contest.
Bryant won 13 SEC titles and six national championships in Tuscaloosa.
But Bryant coached in a different time, and at the very least, Saban has put himself in that conversation.
That's a pretty solid legacy Saban has built for himself, and the best may be yet to come.
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