Alabama is once again college football’s national champion, and the conversation around the GOAT of the program — and sport — is becoming even louder.
Nick Saban has his seventh national championship and his sixth at Alabama. He has a career record of 265-65-1, with a 165-23 record with the Crimson Tide. He has created a machine in Tuscaloosa, one that hasn’t lost more than two games in a season in the last decade.
Bear Bryant — with six national championships (all at Alabama) and a 323-85-17 career record — has long loomed as the most popular answer for college football’s greatest coach, but the argument at this point seems to be whether Saban has already surpassed him, or is merely on the verge of doing so.
One of Bryant’s own descendants, grandson Marc Bryant Tyson, seems to think Saban is already there, judging from his appearance on “The Paul Finebaum Show”:
His son plays for Nick Saban, and his grandpa was Bear Bryant...great conversation today with Marc Bryant Tyson who gave his take on the Greatest Of All Time debate: pic.twitter.com/dDeUZmcHQP
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) January 14, 2021
Tyson’s thoughts on Saban vs. Bryant:
“He’s won six titles in 12 years. This is, by far, the greatest run in college football history. And then the fact of the coaching changes that he had; he’s won it with six offensive coordinators. I mean, that’s unbelievable, and he’s lost seven or eight people off his staff every year, and he just continues to win.
“To then top it off this year, being the Coach of the Year in the hardest year ever in college football, I would just kind of say — and to a similar answer that Papa said after beating Ohio State and Woody Hayes when he was asked, ‘Well, who’s the greatest coach?’ or whatever — I’ll say that Saban is the GOAT of all time, but Papa wasn’t bad himself.”
Hard to argue with that.
Of course, GOAT debates will always be subjective in any sport; it’s not like Bryant partisans don’t have a leg to stand on in this argument. Both Saban and Bryant are certainly the greatest of their respective eras, but comparing eras comes with turbulence. Athletes were different, cultures were different, rules were different.
That’s not to say Saban can’t make arguing against him even harder over the next few years, though.
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