Nick Saban and Alabama are not scheduled to be at SEC Media Days until Wednesday, but that didn't stop SEC Network analyst Paul Finebaum from getting in a hot take about Saban.
Monday morning, just hours before SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was scheduled to start SEC Media Days with his opening speech, Finebaum jumped on ESPN's "First Take" and questioned Nick Saban's legacy if he doesn't make the College Football Playoffs this season.
"Nothing is going to take away what he's accomplished," Finebaum said. "And for those who don't follow this closely, he's won six national championships at Alabama since arriving in 2007, he won another one at LSU. But if he is in the same league as somebody who at the end of this season won three, that's a big hit on his legacy."
Georgia's Kirby Smart has won back-to-back championships and is looking to make it three in a row this season. With Georgia's recent success combined with the struggles Alabama has had the past two years, there is tremendous pressure on Saban this season.
Last year Alabama arguably had the most talented team in the country but fell short of making the College Football Playoffs, putting doubts about Saban's legacy in the minds of college football analysts like Finebaum. This season Alabama will be without Bryce Young and Will Anderson, as well as replacing two coordinators, not to mention going into the season without a starting quarterback, but the pressure is still on Saban. Anything less than a College Football Playoff appearance would be considered a failure.
"The defense let him down," Finebaum said of last year. "There were mental lapses across the board, they had 17 penalties in the Texas game, I think they had just as many against Tennessee."
Penalties and defense to close games out were the reason Alabama lost two games last year by a combined four points, both on the last plays of the game. If Saban can sharpen his defense and clean up the penalties this season, there is no reason he and Alabama can't be back in the College Football Playoffs again.
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