Opinion | Nick Saban is not ruining college football


Alabama head coach Nick Saban surveys the field before the SEC championship game on Dec. 4, 2021.

Blake Byler, Contributing Writer

Sports are remembered by dynasties.

From Michael Jordan’s Bulls and Steph Curry’s Warriors to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s Patriots in the NFL, the greatness of dynasties helps shape how fans know and love different leagues across sports. 

In college football, that dynasty has been Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Saban has been at Alabama for 15 years. In those 15 years, he has won six National Championships, eight SEC championships and has produced four Heisman Trophy winners. Since the College Football Playoff era began, Alabama has made the CFP seven of the eight years. Alabama has appeared in the national championship in six of the last seven seasons.

This sheer dominance on the gridiron, as well as the recruiting trail, has caused fans to grow tired of Alabama. Fans argue that the lack of parity is killing the sport. Fans and media personalities alike are calling for drastic measures to be taken to ensure future parity across college football.

“Alabama going four-deep with four- and five-star players at every position isn’t a level playing field. Lowering the scholarship limit tempers the transfer portal with schools being more selective and players being more inclined to stick it out with their current opportunity,” Green Bay CBS sports anchor Matt Reynoldson wrote on Twitter.

Fans say they don’t feel enjoyment in watching the season or the championship because the outcome is “too predictable.” The fact of the matter is that people tune in to see if Alabama will lose.

In the 2021 season, Alabama’s game was in the top two in ratings nine out of 14 weeks, according to Sports Media Watch. Additionally, Alabama’s SEC title game victory over Georgia was the highest-rated college football game of the season prior to bowl games. Even in national championship games in which Alabama appears, the ratings average over 25 million viewers according to Sports Media Watch.

Alabama acting as a “Goliath” for the rest of the college football world to try to topple makes for a compelling narrative. Fans of other teams dream of how they can become the next dynasty of the sport, starting with beating Alabama. 

“Some kids dream of playing for Alabama, I dreamed of beating Alabama,” Texas A&M defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal told Tailgate in a recent interview.

While some fans may disagree due to age-old Bama fatigue, viewership has not been deterred as team after team attempts to knock Alabama off its throne.

Alabama has created a standard of excellence that other teams in the country strive to achieve. When the bar is set as high as Alabama has raised it, opposing teams go to new lengths in order to do everything they can to compete.

Facilities across the country have vastly improved in order to keep up with Alabama in recruiting. This has led to many different teams challenging Alabama for the top-ranked recruiting class like Georgia and Texas A&M. Athletic directors at schools have stopped settling for mediocre coaches and are looking for the best candidates to compete with Alabama. 

The parity has been lacking in recent years, but that’s not Saban’s fault. It’s the current College Football Playoff format in totality. There’s no doubt that expansion is on the horizon. This could lead to the upsets fans are craving.

“That’s my biggest concern about the future of this sport,” 247Sports college football analyst Josh Pate said. “One day Nick Saban will retire. I just wonder how much of the sport will have been dynamited into oblivion for people who, at the end of the day, were unwilling to cope with greatness.”

What’s true is that Saban has created a new standard for the rest of college football. A standard that will only make programs better as they try to emulate the greatest coach and dynasty in the sport’s history. 

The rest of college football had to stop settling for mediocrity, which creates a better product on the field as a whole. Meanwhile, fans will still tune in to the national championship game on Jan. 10 as always. Alabama looks to win its seventh title in 13 years, and Georgia attempts to finally shift the power in college football.