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Christopher Walsh covers Alabama football for BamaOnline, 247Sports, and is the author of 18 books.
Obviously CPB and CNS were/are great evaluators of talent but the benefit of not having the 85/25 rule was significant. My memories are mostly from the 70's and back then the rest of the SEC was rarely competitive with us. If we lost games in the SEC it was an upset. The fact that CPB could sign gobs of players did not mean others could not do the same but it in effect kept a lot of players away from the competition because they could not attractthe players they wanted. Players wanted to play for CPB back then more than players want to play for CNS now. CPB could stockpile top talent and take chances on late bloomers/projects.
So in a nutshell, CNS has not only those national programs you mentioned to deal with but also the SEC which in most cases are better than the national teams anyway. He also has to do it under parity type scholarship limitations.
Isn't great that as Alabama fans we can argue about who is better of two of the greatest college coaches ever and not only that but enjoy the fact that one is still here and does not appear to be retiring anytime soon?
I disagree that Saban inherited anything Coach Bryant built. Alabama was a storied, national championship caliber program before Coach Bryant got here. I'm certainly not going to diminish what Coach Bryant did here, but I don't think Saban is somehow reaping what Coach Bryant sewed. He has pretty much single-handedly revived this program from the dead.
Luciano and Bamatusks have it pretty much nailed.
He's the best considering that not only is he winning championships with the 85/25 rule but he's also doing it in the most competitive conference. The SEC has never been better than these last 10 years! Best of all time!!
Things to consider:
1. Saban will most likely coach for another 3-5 years and in that time will most likely win at LEAST 1 more title. So on the low end he should finish with 5 national championships. (Although 6 is a more likely IMO). That makes him the unquestioned #1 or #2 CFB of all time with Coach Bryant. In my opinion he's the best already with 4. If he gets to 5 or 6 the debate is over.
2. The University of Alabama has had two of the best coaches in the history of sports (not just football) at the helm of its program. Let that sink in.
My Crystal Ball Prediction:
3. I think Saban will retire after he finishes his 10th season at Alabama at the age of 65. That means he will coach 4 more seasons. We will win the title this year (2013-14) and one more before he retires in the 2016-17 season. He finishes with 6 National titles and the unquestioned best college football coach of all time. Kirby Smart will be hired as Head Coach at age 41 and many will lobby hard for Saban to be Athletics Director. Saban will decline and live a peaceful life on the lake in GA. In 10 seasons as HC at Alabama CNS will have won 5 titles. Kirby will coach for 20 years at Bama (2017-2037) and will win 6 National titles of his own in addition to the 5 he won as an assistant (11 total). Auburn will continue to toil in mediocrity.
"The (All In) Family"
If CNS was able to sign as many as he wanted, then the other great coaches of today would be able to do the same thing. It's a restriction on every program not just one. Bryant played under the same rules as the other coaches I his time, he was just better at it.
Sounds like a plan to me.
Yep. Make no mistake, Bryant would dominate in today's culture too. Saban would also dominate back in Bryant's hey dey IMO. It can be argued that it was harder to win a title back then.
2009, 2011, 2012 Champs
Look at the 85 scholarship limitations and the additional loss of scholarships due to probation prior to Saban. The SEC was/is much tougher when Saban arrived in 2007 vs Bryant in '58. Saban had a much tougher rebuilding job.
It's much harder to win a title today.
1 plays 2. How is it harder?
Not if you were going against somebody else that was exceptional and signed all the good players and developed them in a outstanding way...then it's easier today.
There are some things that made the environment harder, depending on what kind of position you were in. For Bryant specifically, integration was a huge deal. The football team won championships in 61, 64, 65 and got screwed out of one in 66 despite playing with an all white team and sending the best talent in the region up north or out west. That's basically the only reason Bear had a few down years in the 68, 69, and 70 and was immediately a force again when the team integrated in 71.
This post was edited by manbearpig7 10 months ago
I was unaware that Bryant was the only coach back then who had no scholarship restrictions. Seems like it would be harder to rebuild when nobody else at the time had any restrictions. He came to Bama when his instate rival was defending NCs and the program had won something like 7 games in 3 years. I think his road was plenty tough.
Pre AP (beginning-1942) - Knute Rockne 105-12-5, 4 NC
Classic (1943-1980) - Paul Bear Bryant 323-85-17, 6 NC
Modern (1981-present) - Nick Saban 159-55-1 4 NC (and counting)
Never Gets Old
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