Sallee: Time Is Running Out For Nick Saban

If Nick Saban intends to solve Dabo Swinney and Clemson, he needs to do so quickly

Tiki and Tierney
January 09, 2019 - 1:21 pm

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Barrett Sallee predicted that Clemson would beat Alabama for the national championship Monday. He did not predict Clemson would win 44-16.

“I did not foresee the absolute bludgeoning that Clemson gave Alabama,” the CBS Sports college football writer said on Tiki & Tierney. “Although I did think all year long that Clemson was the best team in college football and was going to win the national championship.”

Clemson actually trailed Alabama 16-14 early in the second quarter. Then the Tigers hung 30 unanswered on the Tide, as Nick Saban had no answers for Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

“He had Tua rattled from the outset,” Sallee said. “They had no idea what plays to call. Mike Locksley was completely in over his head. They got in (Tua’s) head. There’s no doubt.”

Where Saban goes from here, nobody knows. Alabama is still a powerhouse, of course, but Saban has lost his last two national championship games against Dabo Swinney – this one in embarrassing fashion.

“I just don’t know where he can go,” Sallee said. “They got out-personnel-ed by Clemson. They got out-coached by Clemson. They have a system of coaching there that is designed for short-time coaches, whereas Clemson has benefited tremendously from staff continuity. So Alabama is left sort of wondering right now what happens. This is going to be a little bit more challenging. It’s going to be the biggest challenge of Nick Saban’s Alabama career because there’s not an obvious answer staring you in the face. 

“What is staring you in the face is a team in Clemson that’s won two of the last three national championships and a coach in Dabo Swinney who’s won the last two national championship games (and) squared off against the best in the business in Nick Saban. So there’s no answer there, and if Nick Saban is going to find one, he better do it quickly – because Clemson is not going anywhere. And in terms of age, time is running out.”