Nick Saban has spent the 21st century building arguably the greatest dynasty in college football history at Alabama, but all good things must come to an end.
Paul Finebaum thinks that the Saban era is getting there. Just not right now.
“Yes, it’s closing slightly," Finebaum said of Alabama's national championship window.
"I think he’ll win this year. He’s the favorite, and I think he has the best team. He has the two best players. But I think it gets more difficult after he holds up the trophy this year, because he has so much more competition, and the topic of the day — NIL — is the reason."
Alabama still the favorite
Alabama is the current favorite to win the College Football Playoff at most books, with an average of 2/1 odds in the national championship projections.
But there are a few new dynamics around the sport, and in the SEC, that could signal the potential end of the Saban era at Alabama.
“You have Jimbo Fisher, who came close a couple of years ago to the Playoff, now moving up in the rankings," Finebaum said. "[You have] Kirby Smart, who had more draft choices than Alabama.
"I think it’s going to get more difficult. You have competition from out West in Lincoln Riley, who I think is going to start dominating the Pac-12.
"So, I don’t want to say that it’s over for Nick Saban, but I think it’s going to get far more difficult to win championships. Right now, he’s been winning them at a pace of about every other year.”
Saban has won six national championships at Alabama since arriving in 2007, including three CFP titles, and holds the sport's record for seven in his career.