SEC Network's Paul Finebaum suggested there was a "changing of the guard" now that Georgia's Kirby Smart has led his Bulldogs to back-to-back titles with a blowout 65-7 win over TCU in the National Championship Game Monday night.
Finebaum argued during Tuesday's ESPN "First Take" broadcast that Alabama has "slipped" ever since Smart left the Crimson Tide for his alma mater in 2016.
"I'm living in the real world, and you guys want to talk about Nick Saban. How has he done without Kirby Smart as his defensive coordinator?" he asked. "He beat Kirby Smart and won a title in COVID, but the program has slipped. We are not talking about falling off the face of the Earth. We are talking about a fraction, and right now, a fraction means everything in college football. We just got through watching a 58-point win by Georgia."
"[I]n no way am I writing Nick Saban off, but just simply saying are seeing a changing of the guard, and that matters. The fact that we are even talking about somebody possibly being better today than Nick Saban is a major paradigm shift. He owned this sport, Keyshawn. You know that. He doesn't own it anymore," Finebaum added.
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