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Failing to make CFP in 2023 could affect Nick Saban’s legacy per Paul Finebaum

Nick Saban runs on the field for Alabama in fourth quarter of Rose Bowl versus Notre Dame
Tim Heitman - USA Today Sports

Alabama football and Nick Saban will take the podium Wednesday for SEC Media Days in Nashville, Tenn.

After watching the University of Georgia capture back-to-back College Football Playoff National Championships, people are wondering if Saban can hold off Kirby Smart from becoming the new standard of college football. College football fans are ready to crown Georgia as the new king, but Crimson Tide supporters are not prepared to see its program give up the title.

RELATED: Paul Finebaum would choose Kirby Smart over Nick Saban due to “better operation”

Reporters from across the landscape have questions documented for Saban, but a national media pundit sees the upcoming season as the most important one for the 71-year-old’s career. ESPN’s Paul Finebaum said Saban must make the CFP in the fall.

Finebaum said Saban’s legacy will be affected if Alabama misses the CFP for a second straight year.

“Yes, you have to,” Finebaum said Monday to ESPN about whether Saban will be viewed in a different light if the Crimson Tide misses out on the CFP for a second straight year.

“Nothing is going to take away from what he has accomplished, and for those who don’t follow this closely, he has won six national championships at Alabama since arriving in 2007. He also won one at LSU, but if he is in the same league as someone who has won three at the end of this season, that is a big hit on his legacy. I think you also have to question Saban for what happened last year. He had the best team in the country going in. They were nearly unanimous and at the NFL Draft, in case anyone was not paying attention, let me refresh your memory, he had the best offensive player and the best defensive player. Will Anderson on defense, and the Heisman Trophy winner from two years ago, and the No. 1 overall pick in Bryce Young on offense. He still could not get it done with that. The defense let him down, there were mental lapses across the board, they had 17 penalties in the Texas game, I think they had just as many against Tennessee, and some of the coaching was subpar too. I have never seen a Nick Saban team get scorched in the final minute of a game like it did against Tennessee. One more thing about Alabama, two new coordinators. One has been there a couple of times, Kevin Steele on defense, but Tommy Rees comes over from Notre Dame. They don’t have an established quarterback, and think about this for a second, the last four quarterbacks were Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, and Bryce Young.”

RELATED: Kirby Smart disproves Nick Saban’s notion of defenses not able to stop offenses in today’s game

Coach Saban let go of Pete Golding and Bill O’Brien before their contracts were finished to hire Steele and Rees.

People are not expecting Alabama to win it all in the fall, but the players and coaches are focused on a championship.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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