No debate: Saban's Alabama dynasty is in subtle decline
Nick Saban did everything he could do, but he lost the debate, too. He turned into a tout and still came up short. After failing to coach Alabama into the SEC Championship Game, he couldn't coax the Crimson Tide into the College Football Playoff.
Can't blame a GOAT for trying, although many people did, as if any other coach in the country would turn down the opportunity to put in a good word for his 10-2 non-division winner at the 11th hour.
If there is a legitimate objection to Saban's late politicking, it's to his central argument, not his appearance on Fox during halftime of the Big Ten Championship Game. He suggested that Alabama deserved a playoff spot because it would be favored over any of the other contenders in a head-to-head matchup.
That fact may have been on his side, but the truth is, hinting that oddsmakers should have influence on the process was not Saban's finest hour.
Unlike 2017, when Alabama lost its last regular-season game to SEC West champion Auburn but still landed the fourth and final playoff spot, this committee did not award bonus points to the Built By Bama brand. Undefeated SEC champion Georgia earned the No. 1 spot, followed by undefeated Big Ten champion Michigan. Despite suffering its first loss in the Big 12 Championship Game the day before, TCU checked in at No. 3. Despite losing its last game at home to Michigan by three touchdowns, one-loss Ohio State was handed the dubious honor of having its bucknuts handed to it by Georgia as the No. 4 seed.
Call it the painfully perfect ending to Saban's frustrating and ultimately unfulfilling 16th season at Alabama. One stop short times two along the way. One spot shy in the end. The playoff takes only four teams, for the time being, and Alabama finished fifth. So close to another shot at Georgia. So far from being able to prevent Kirby Smart and company from going back-to-back in his sixth and seventh seasons at Georgia, as Saban did in his fifth and sixth seasons at Alabama.
Did Kirby kill the king when Georgia defeated Alabama 33-18 last January to give him his first victory over Saban and the Bulldogs their first national title in 41 years? It's too early to order an autopsy, but let's take a look at the state of the beating heart on the chart.
Read the rest of Kevin's analysis of the state of the Saban dynasty. Only in The Lede.