Sure, he could try and rattle off an Oklahoma Bud Wilkinson-type winning streak to add to his resume. The feat was impressive for Wilkinson, but not necessary for Saban. The game has changed and it’s tough enough to go undefeated in one season, something we haven’t seen a team do since 2013.
Another title? Sure. That would put Saban in a league of his own in terms of titles won, but if you ask most college football fans about the hierarchy of coaches Saban is already atop that list simply because of the evolution of the game and how much harder it is win to win now compared to even 20 years ago.
So, what’s left? What is there to prove and to whom do you prove it to?
The race to become the greatest coach of all time has now become one man against himself. Saban has nothing left to prove. He resurrected a program in Alabama that by Alabama standards was a total failure. The Tide hadn’t won a national title since 1992 when Saban showed up in 2007, their longest drought since Bear Bryant’s last title in 1979. Seventeen years Alabama fans waited before being atop college football again. Saban delivered that and more.
Now, Saban isn’t even in a race with time. At 66, Saban has become more open to public access. Alabama is using its coach in recruiting videos such as “Bama Cuts” to show a side of Saban that most have only heard about. Even as the game evolves around him, Saban evolves with it, which is easily his greatest character trait as a coach. You don’t coach this long with this much success without knowing how to evolve and doing so before it’s too late. Saban is battling himself at the top of this board. No one else is even close. It’s a one man race and we’re all just on standby waiting to see how Saban will out-Saban himself next.
How will he do it?
A fifth consecutive appearance in the College Football Playoff? A record setting seventh national championship? An all-freshman team that he leads to a national championship? You laugh, but would anyone put it past him to be able to pull it off?
Nick Saban is the only one who can answer these questions and he doesn’t have the time or patience to actually do so. He’s too busy securing a 2019 recruiting class as well as building a 2020 class behind that. It’s not even a question that he has to answer, the proof is on the field.
With every win, playoff appearance, and title, Saban continues to distance himself from the Saban the year before.
So, what does Saban actually have left to prove? I guess we’ll see it when it happens.
(You can follow Justin Nails on Twitter @JustinNails)
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