We've seen the rings, the parade, the banners, and the championship bonuses handed out at the University of Central Florida and nearly everyone under the sun has commented on their claim as national champs but we had still yet to hear from Alabama's Nick Saban on the matter. You know, the guy who led the Crimson Tide to an overtime win against Georgia in the College Football Playoff's national championship.
“If you honor and respect the system that we have, (despite) some of the imperfections that you understand that the system has, then you wouldn’t do something out of respect for the system that we have,” Saban told USA TODAY Sports. “I guess anybody has the prerogative to claim anything. But self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it. And there’s probably a significant number of people who don’t respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves.”
There's no question it's ignited it's fair share of twitter wars and annoyed the masses in the state of Alabama. While it's obvious Saban isn't a fan of the claim, he does recognize what the Knights were able to accomplish last season.
“We’ve only had one undefeated team, and that is really hard to do,” Saban said. “So I have a tremendous amount of respect for their team and what they were able to accomplish. … And they can make every claim that they should have been in the Playoff. I get that. But we have a system, and it’s not fair to the people who went through the system and earned their way playing really, really good teams — I mean really good teams — and really tough games. It’s not quite fair to them for somebody else just to decide to (claim a national championship).”
Saban paused, then continued:
“It has no impact or significance on my feeling of what our team accomplished,” he said. “I mean, I’m so proud of the adversity they overcame, the togetherness that they had to have, the work that they put in, you know, and the resiliency that they showed throughout the season to overcome injuries, the resiliency in the Georgia game to come back to win. These are characteristics that, I don’t care what anybody else says or does, it would not fundamentally affect what I feel about our group of players and what they’ve been able to accomplish.”
Alabama claims 17 national championships, including some that are disputed and that argument will be thrown around plenty, but at the end of the day, that was a different time. A time when championships were handed out by polls and other rankings systems and plenty of controversy ensued. Now, in an era where the national champion is crowned after a four team playoff, there is usually little debate about who the national champion is and more debate about who should have been allowed in. Only time will tell how the system changes but for now, the arguments will continue to fly between the faithful fans of Alabama and UCF.
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