The dynasty that will not die

The Alabama dynasty won’t be over until Nick Saban decides it’s time to head off to the lake. (Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress)

By MIKE HERNDON

I almost did it earlier this season. I almost wrote about an Alabama team in decline.

This may be the worst offensive line Nick Saban has had since 2007, I thought. My hands hovered over the keyboard, prepared to type the keys that would share that this defense was, dared I say it, mediocre.

This is not, I nearly wrote, a championship team.

But I didn’t. Something stopped me. Maybe I was just tired. Or maybe it was the years of previous evidence in which Alabama had bounced back from seemingly being exposed in losses and won national titles anyway. Maybe it was the foolishness of those who rushed after each one to proclaim the Bama dynasty dead.

Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee said it after the Kick Six in the 2013 Iron Bowl. Clay Travis said it after Alabama lost to Ole Miss in 2014. (You’ll have to take my word for it. I’m not linking it because he doesn’t deserve the click and you should never pay the slightest bit of attention to anything Clay Travis says.) Colin Cowherd and Joel Klatt said it after another loss to Ole Miss in 2015, with Klatt laughably adding that the Tide had “a Nick Saban problem.”

What every other college football program would give right now to have that problem.

Outrageous hot takes are an unfortunate reality in sports commentary these days. For some of the most high-profile “personalities,” it’s their entire schtick. And even columnists who aren’t looking to be outrageous are going to have a bad take every now and then. It comes with the territory when you’re paid to give your opinion.

But sooner or later, people are going to learn that predicting the end of the Alabama dynasty is a losing proposition as long as Saban remains on the sideline. Saban is a problem all right — for everybody who has to try to beat the Crimson Tide.

I still think this Alabama offensive line is lacking. I still think the middle of the defense is soft. I think this Alabama team can be had. On paper, Georgia should be able to exploit those weaknesses. But when it was all over in Atlanta last month, the paper read 41-24 Alabama.

Perhaps the most enduring attribute of Alabama’s program – more than all the five-star recruits and first-round NFL talent – is its ability to learn from its mistakes, to adjust and grow after losses, to correct whatever went wrong or at least minimize their exposure from it. They’ve done it again this year. And it shouldn’t surprise any of us if, despite their apparent weaknesses, they beat the Bulldogs again on Monday and carry off another national championship trophy to go with all the others.

Regardless of what happens Monday, Alabama’s dynasty won’t end until Nick Saban retires, and not a minute before.



Categories: College football

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