Alabama won the NCAA Football National Championship Monday night. The success was expected as the Crimson Tide, led by head coach Nick Saban, have now won six national titles over the past 12 years.
Saban is making a habit of hoisting national championship trophies skyward. With Monday’s 52-24 victory over Ohio State, he equaled the total of national titles won by Bear Bryant, the revered University of Alabama football coach. Add Saban’s 2003 title at LSU which he left after the following season to try his hand in the NFL, and no coach in major college football has won more. It should be noted that it took Bryant 25 years to win his six titles at Alabama.
One reason Saban has maintained success over a decade now is his ability to adapt to the times. In his younger days, Saban was all about defense. Alabama now possesses the most prolific offense in the country. In fact, Saban’s air power was so daunting that an Alabama wide receiver, DeVonta Smith, this month became the first wide receiver in nearly three decades to win the Heisman Trophy.
I can not think of a reason why Saban’s title count will come to an end any time soon. He is under contract at Alabama for another five seasons. History tells us that will equate to a couple more championships.
The accumulation of titles has led to talk of how Alabama’s domination of college football is harming the game. How only the Crimson Tide and a few other schools are the lone programs that have a chance to win a national title.
I am not sure what can be done to break up the stranglehold the likes of Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State have on the game.
The NCAA could change recruiting rules in an effort to spread the talent around the country. Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State annually get the best high school recruits. All three just reload on a yearly basis. College football could reduce team scholarship limits from 85 to 75. This would prevent elite programs from hoarding the best players, spreading the talent around more evenly.
Some think that increasing the playoff field from four to eight teams would make the higher ranked schools to win three games to capture a title. Doing this would also boost their exposure and appeal to recruits.
Of course, if Saban retired there could be titles out there for other coaches to win. But why would he do that. Saban is still winning titles and is scheduled to make more than $10 million this contract year. If he retired, there’s a good chance Alabama’s dynasty would level off after a few years.
I looked up the following. In its last season before Saban, Alabama finished 6-7. It was back in 2006, the end of a 10-year period in which a different team won at least a share of the national title every year, including Florida, Texas, Southern California, Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State and Tennessee.
Since 2006, it has all been Saban and Alabama it seems.