ESPN’s Paul Finebaum: It’s Going to Get ‘Far More Difficult’ for Nick Saban to Win Championships at Alabama

by Chris Haney

The 2022 college football season is still months away, but we’re already in midseason form as far as storylines go. Last week, Alabama head coach Nick Saban made accusations against Texas A&M and head coach Jimbo Fisher, and the Aggies’ coach fired back in response. As the conversations continue about the changing landscape of collegiate sports, ESPN radio show host Paul Finebaum has weighed in on Saban and Alabama’s future.

Since Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007, the Crimson Tide have dominated college football. Over the last 15 years, the coach has led Alabama to six national championships. ‘Bama has a full-on dynasty and has almost won an average of a title every other year.

As one of the preeminent voices of SEC football, Finebaum is often called upon to talk college football. He recently joined ESPN’s First Take to discuss all the latest headlines. Of course, that definitely includes last week’s drama between Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher. The First Take hosts questioned Finebaum about the current state of college football along with new NIL deals and more. The radio host believes Alabama’s stronghold over the game will start to slip away because of the new regulations.

“You have Jimbo Fisher, who came close a couple of years ago to the playoff, now moving up in the rankings. Kirby Smart, who had more draft choices a couple of months ago, a couple of weeks ago I should say in Vegas than Alabama. So, I think it’s going to get more difficult,” Finebaum said of Saban and Alabama’s future. “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.”

Alabama’s Nick Saban and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher Trade Verbal Jabs

As mentioned, during an event in Birmingham with Alabama’s Nick Saban last week, the head coach called out two other programs. Saban said that Texas A&M and Jackson State have used the NCAA’s new Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) rules to “buy” recruits.

Saban specifically stated that Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies “bought every player on their team.” He added that the Crimson Tide “didn’t buy one player.” Bama’s head coach also said that top recruit Travis Hunter chose to sign for head coach Deion Sanders and Jackson State because “they paid a guy a million dollars.” Those comments didn’t sit well with either coach, and it didn’t take long for Fisher to fire back.

In a press conference held the following morning, Texas A&M’s head coach went on a 10-minute rant defending his program. Fisher called it a “shame” and “despicable” that he even had to address Nick Saban’s comments.

“It’s a shame that we have to do this. It’s really despicable. You’re taking shots at 17-year-old kids and their families,” Fisher said. “You can call me anything you wanna call me, [but] you ain’t calling me a cheat. I don’t cheat and I don’t lie. I learned that when I was a kid, if you did, your old man slapped your side of the head. Maybe somebody should have slapped him.”

“Some people think they’re God. Go dig into how God did his deal, you may find out about the guy a lot of things you don’t wanna know. You build him up to be the czar of football, go dig into his past,” Fisher added during his fiery presser.

This feud doesn’t look like it’ll die down anytime soon. College football fans are already circling October 8 when Texas A&M visits ‘Bama for what will be must-see TV.