Given Nick Saban’s run at Alabama, it’s easy to say he’s one of the best college football coaches ever. But Joel Klatt of FOX Sports is saying that his run is even more impressive than Bill Belichick’s.
Klatt, appearing on FS1’s Undisputed, mentioned that because of the rigors of the modern game and the constant cycling out of players, his run of four national championships in the last nine seasons at Alabama is even more impressive than the five Super Bowls Belichick has won.
“Nick Saban is the greatest coach in our sport’s history. Period,” Klatt said. “Just like I think Belichick is the greatest coach in NFL history because it’s harder to dominate now than it ever has been at the pro level and the college level.”
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) August 4, 2017
Skip Bayless then brought up that Belichick has won all five of his Super Bowls with Tom Brady at the helm, which takes away from some of the recognition that Belichick should get. But Klatt retorted that having Brady actually makes things easier.
“Which makes Saban even more impressive, because he’s had to do it over cycles and cycles and cycles of recruits,” Klatt said.
There are two different arguments here. The first being that Saban is the best coach in the history of college football. While he might not have the championships of Bear Bryant or more wins than Bobby Bowden, no coach has done a better job of racking up championships in a shorter period than Saban. He’s won the last three SEC titles and lost two SEC games in that span. He’s made the College Football Playoff every year. While Urban Meyer and Dabo Swinney are doing their best to keep it close, Saban’s resume is superior to his contemporaries.
As for the Belichick conversation, that’s a little more nuanced. While they each have championships, Saban has had more control over his roster because he doesn’t have to deal with a salary cap. And while Belichick has no doubt benefited from having Brady, it was Belichick who developed Brady from a sixth-round draft pick into the greatest quarterback of all time. It’s also fair to point out that when Saban was coach of the Miami Dolphins, neither of those teams made the playoffs, though he went 2-2 against Belichick.
Saban will get a chance to prove his coaching ability again in the opening game of Alabama’s season, when the Crimson Tide take on Florida State on Sept. 2. Alabama was ranked No. 1 in the coaches poll, while Florida State was No. 3.