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Bowden on Saban, Bama: ‘I don’t know if I see an end to it’

University of Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Saban stands next to Coaches' Trophy after team beat Notre Dame in NCAA college football 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game in Fort Lauderdale AP

As we noted in the one-liners last night, Nick Saban received his third Bobby Bowden Coach of the Year award Sunday for the third time in four years. Not coincidentally, Saban has led Alabama to three BCS championships in four years.

“I’m mighty proud that Nick Saban has won this award again, and so deservedly,” Bowden said at the banquet’s press conference. “I don’t know if I see an end to it.”

It’s an interesting comment from a coach that knows greatness.

“I think it’s amazing what’s happened three of the last four years, but I tell you something, it’s easier to get to the top (than) stay there,” Bowden explained. “The amazing thing is so far — and I say so far because I know it and he knows it — it can end any minute.”

When Saban and the Tide knocked off Notre Dame earlier this year 42-14 to win back-to-back BCS championships, the word dynasty immediately came to mind. Probably because it was already planted there; media and fans alike were beginning to speculate before the game  what another championship would mean to Saban and his team in the discussion of greatest championship runs of all time.

One thing I always try to point out is how difficult it is to win one championship. So much has to go correctly: talent, chemistry — both players and coaching — schedule, and even a little bit of luck. Even “the process” can only go so far.

To win two titles in a coaching tenure is amazing. To win three in four years in this era of the 85-scholarship cap when talent is so dispersed is almost unheard of. Where does Saban rank among the greatest college football coaches of all time? Where does this Alabama program rank as the greatest of all time? It’s tough to place it without the help of time, but the fact that the two are already in the discussion should say something.

So when does it end for Alabama? Barring a major outside influence, such as Saban leaving the program or a major NCAA punishment, it doesn’t look like the train is slowing down, especially with the Tide hauling in a top-rated recruiting class this year.

Oh, sure, it’ll end eventually. All great runs and dynasties do. And Alabama won’t win a national championship every year, either. To expect otherwise is unrealistic. But it’ll be well-equipped to compete as long as Saban is coaching.

“He’ll have his hands full next year, people don’t understand that. When he loses a lot of people, and the chemistry and everything is so important, you know? Can he get the chemistry again of ‘let’s go after the boys?” Bowden said. “It’s a task, and I’m being honest with you, if I was an Alabama man I’d rather have it in his hands than anybody else I can think of.”

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26 Responses to “Bowden on Saban, Bama: ‘I don’t know if I see an end to it’”
  1. whoisthatteam says: Mar 4, 2013 10:51 AM

    It’s easy to stay there when the SEC scheduling department is filled with bama grads. In the “temporary” schedule adjustment LSU has to play Georgia and Florida while Ala gets to play Kentucky and Tennessee. Matter of fact, Ala has the easiest schedule in the SEC.

  2. be4bama says: Mar 4, 2013 10:52 AM

    And let the haters’ post begin 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

  3. deadeye says: Mar 4, 2013 10:57 AM

    It’ll end when Saban retires. It’s not unrealistic to think Bama could get another couple of national titles in the next five years.

    Bowden was foolish for guiding FSU into the ACC. Saban is proving the best way to win NTs is to dominate in the top conference.

  4. barneysbullet says: Mar 4, 2013 11:14 AM

    What do you mean talent is dispersed? Yeah, maybe all the boys are dispersed.

    The men go to Alabama…and yeah, I’m pissed and jealous about it.

  5. mehtoolazy says: Mar 4, 2013 11:43 AM

    if you’re taking notes, here’s how it goes: in the offseason, the scheduling department is full of Bama grads. once the season begins, if we’re doing well, the ranks of the referees are full of Bama fans. if we make a good bowl game, it’s because the voters are Bama lovers.

    whatever it is, our success can always be attributed to our grads, or fans, or something other than the fact that our coach brings in great athletes and teaches them how to play the game well.

    incidentally, where the sam hell were all those Bama grads in the SEC office when we had Mike Shula? Ray Perkins? did you see how many times Kenneth Darby ran right up the middle?

    just as Bobby said, we’re up right now, and we’ll be down again. and maybe, random haters from the internet, it’ll be your team on top. wouldn’t it be just spectacular if you could enjoy it without listening to people say you cheated?

  6. florida727 says: Mar 4, 2013 11:48 AM

    I’m a Gator fan, but I have nothing but the utmost respect for Saban and what he’s done at Alabama. I know at lot of people will disagree with this, but I think it’s good for college football. For their fans, the good is obvious. They get bragging rights. For the rest, it’s good because what they have is what we’re after. We’d all like to be in their shoes, and that’s what we chase after. Like Bowden said, easier to get there than stay there. Getting there is the fun part. Anybody that ‘hates’ is just jealous. We all wish our respective teams would have won 3 of the last 4. But since we haven’t, we should respect ‘Bama, give them the credit they deserve, then hit the workouts so we can beat them next time around. Lot of people gunning for you, Nick :)

  7. ttalarico says: Mar 4, 2013 12:05 PM


    I’m a ND fan and was at the NC game and I couldn’t agree more with florida727. It’s refreshing to see an intelligent post for a change.

    Go Irish!

  8. jimbo75025 says: Mar 4, 2013 12:54 PM


    Alabama vs UT is a yearly rivalry game that goes back to the 20’s. UT is down-way down right now, but was it “convenient scheduling” when UT was in the top 5 every year?

    As others have noted-everything is a cycle. I’m sure a few years ago everyone was happy to see Vandy on their schedule the next week, now not so much.

    I am not even a Bama fan, but I am capable of watching and appreciating unlike some people.

  9. Duke says: Mar 4, 2013 1:56 PM

    It won’t end until Saban hires someone named Jeff. But until then, enjoy the ride.

  10. redbearwoodall says: Mar 4, 2013 2:25 PM

    Saban’s a pretty good coach, but plenty of coaches would’ve won the title with that team. In fact, I bet it would’ve been an upset if Alabama hadn’t won the national title this year, even if Saban was replaced by damn near any other coach whose team had a winning record. Alabama is just insanely stacked with talent, everybody wants to play there. They get the cream of the crop and everyone else gets the scraps. I don’t know why that is, but that’s the way it is. You’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise.

  11. 11inthebox says: Mar 4, 2013 3:09 PM


    College football is all about talent and you’re right, Alabama is loaded with it. That’s because Nick Saban is the best recruiter in the game.

    A good recruiter has a gift for it. Pete Carroll was a fantastic recruiter at USC. So was Lou Holtz at Notre Dame. From ’88-’90, Notre Dame was the most talented team in the country.

    Some guys just have a knack for connecting with people. Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Saban is one of those guys.

  12. tommy57 says: Mar 4, 2013 3:36 PM

    Many of the positive comments directed toward Saban are similar to those directed at Joe Paterno at one time although, that seems like a very long time ago.

    Be careful, those worshiping at the Saban altar. People are not always as they appear.

    Our heroes can sometimes disappoint us.

  13. mrlaloosh says: Mar 4, 2013 3:50 PM

    Gee Tommy57, I hope you’re not typing that from the Penn State showers.

  14. irishdodger says: Mar 4, 2013 3:57 PM


    Great post. Nice to know there’s a Bama fan on here w/ perspective. Saban is the best coach of this generation & as long as he’s there, he’ll have Bama in the NC picture. IMO he gets credit for building both LSU & Bama to what they are now. I’d hate to be the next coach to follow Saban. I would say Bama fans should be on suicide watch when Saban decides to leave, but seriously; with at least four titles during his tenure (with more to come), its enough to keep Bama in the conversation for a good while longer regardless of a some down seasons,

  15. deadeye says: Mar 4, 2013 4:40 PM

    People are not always as they appear.

    Our heroes can sometimes disappoint us.


    This is the smartest comment in this entire thread. And it’s a sound warning against the hero-worship of ANY sports figure.

  16. 11inthebox says: Mar 4, 2013 4:54 PM

    So calling Nick Saban a great coach is akin to “hero worship?” Really?

    That’s the problem in sports. Everything has to be so simplistic.

    O.J. Simpson was a great running back, one of the best ever. And he’s a murderer. But in order to keep it ‘simple,’ he has to be one or the other?

  17. superfbfan says: Mar 4, 2013 6:01 PM

    As long as he continues to run a semi-pro team the run will continue. All the so called college experts continue to ignore how he kicks or runs guys off his team…and no, not everyone operates like this. Bottom line, saben has found a way around the 85 scholarship limit and it a competitive advantage. Oh btw, when is the last time a ‘bama player failed a school issued drug test?

  18. ldbmountaineer says: Mar 4, 2013 6:05 PM

    I just wish we had the money to bring him home to win one for WVU

  19. snaxdsp says: Mar 4, 2013 8:01 PM

    As long as they cheat they’ll stay in top

  20. normtide says: Mar 4, 2013 8:22 PM

    Whoisthat- During LSU’s two title run, Bama had 2 seasons where 7 out of 8 league opponents had bye weeks before we played them. I don’t recall tiger fans crying about inequities then. It cycles. I would like to say, I know many LSU fans (my wife is from West Monroe, with family also in slidell and shreveport) and most don’t whine. They take on all opponents, and usually brag about their SOS.

    Flotida727- I remember a time I felt the same way about the gators. Late 90’s when you were beating us in the SEC CCG. Something like almost half the CCGs have been Bama vs UF, and y’all have the winning record.

    Tommy- As I posted to PSU fans, it isn’t our fault when our heroes fail us. I don’t want to live in a jaded world where I always expect the worst in people. Hope is or greatest strength.

    Superfbfan- The absence of evidence proves nothing. I have no proof that you never killed anyone, does that make you a murderer?

    Bama may never win another title, this run will end. I love the movie quote, empires crumble, their are no exceptions. I don’t think you have to win a title to be a great team, Oregon is an example of that. People act like Bama has always been this way. Ten years ago we were a middle of the pack team. I will just enjoy this run while it lasts. Who knows what tomorrow brings?

  21. txnative61 says: Mar 5, 2013 12:56 AM

    Every year a few games turn on a few key plays, as Bama had with LSU, Texas A&M, and Georgia last season. The players on the field either make those plays, or don’t regardless of the quality of game plan or coaching. The intangibles required to excel every year are not contained in scouting reports or easy to recruit for. Add that everybody is planning their teams and season just to beat Alabama, and logic suggests more of these games will go against them regardless of Saban’s qualifications. Bowden knows whereof he speaks. Still, it’s a good problem to have.

  22. louhudson23 says: Mar 5, 2013 5:42 AM

    The idea that talent alone was the reason Alabama wins is patently ridiculous. Watching these Tide teams is to see true excellence.Discipline,intelligence,hard work(you say that x 3), near flawless execution and trusting in the man beside you are the hallmarks of these teams. There is no shortage of talent in the world. Winners are much harder to come by. This coach has the ability to bring everyone together with a common goal,devise and successfully implement a winning strategy through cohesive action on the part of his players and coaches. And that ,Javedeon Clowney ,is what makes Nick Saban so special. IF all it took was talent,then Mr. Clowney would be sporting a ring or two himself,instead of sitting home reading his own headlines.Instead,he has immense talent and soon to be a lot of money. But he will most likely never know what it is to play the game at the level required to win consistently at the highest level. Teamwork,intelligence,hard work,near flawless execution and trust.

  23. florida727 says: Mar 5, 2013 11:12 AM

    #ttalarico, thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated.

    #normtide, since 1992 when the SEC first held a conference championship game, Florida and Alabama have met in ONE-THIRD of the title games, 7 out of 21 games. (Side note: the first 2 were at Legion Field in Birmingham.) You’re right, Florida has won 4 of the 7. Overall, Florida is 7-3 in SEC title games (3-0 when we’re NOT playing you guys :)), and Alabama is 4-4 (which surprised me when I saw that). It is a heck of a rivalry, but you guys definitely have bragging rights recently. FYI, LSU has the best winning percentage in conference championship games, having won 4 out of 5 (80%).

  24. suprmous says: Mar 6, 2013 2:24 AM

    Whoisthat, Baby I’ve got 3 bros who played for Bama and I’m a dyed in the wool LSU fan and you have no clue as to what it’s like around my parents’ dinner table when we all get together but I can tell you this tho there’s a lot of football talk there’s a lot of respect shown for our respective teams between the 3 and myself. When it comes to whinin Lord help me if I should because I us know I won’t get any from the others. As I said they’ve got respect for LSU just like I’ve got respect for Bama, tho they played durin the days of the Bear. If you really want whiners you won’t find many along the SEC route IMO but I can be wrong.

  25. Deb says: Mar 7, 2013 7:01 PM

    Sorry I wasn’t around for this one, but congrats to Nick on the Bowden award. Excellent comments, for the most part. Great talent–which begins with great recruiting–and great coaching are the keys to Bama’s current success. It will last as long as we have the premier coach in the college game and/or as long as he remains at the top of his game. I hope that will be for many years to come. But all good things must end eventually. This too shall pass.

  26. lakesidegator says: Mar 11, 2013 2:42 PM

    Bask in the shadows, Bobby.
    Back into the shadows.

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