8 things could have derailed ‘Bama’s championship, and Nick Saban overcame them all

Colin Cowherd talks Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide after Alabama beat the Georgia Bulldogs to win another National Championship.

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COLIN COWHERD: A lot of good football coaches out there. And to me, the three things that make a good football coach-- recruiting, even in the NFL, personnel/recruiting, game planning-- Do you create great game plans? And the third thing is adjusting. And you'd be amazed how many guys are great coaches, and they're not good at the adjusting thing. Nick Saban's great at all three. He's A plus recruiter, A plus game planner, A plus adjuster.

The one thing I'll say is not every great coach is a great recruiter. Not every great coach was the best game player. All great coaches can adjust. A great coach can adjust when things go sideways. When water's coming through the boat, every great coach can adjust. Pete Carroll is a great adjuster. Bill Belichick, great adjuster. Nick Saban, last night, put on a clinic of how to adjust. Last night was a clinic.

There were so many things that went wrong for Alabama, last night. First of all, the game was in Atlanta. The crowd was 70-30 Georgia. It was a little bit like a neutral field/road game. That wasn't ideal. Number two, they fall behind 13-0 with a quarterback that's not really a vertical passing threat. Uh oh. Uh oh. Bama's way better playing ahead than behind with that quarterback. The third thing that went wrong, they missed two field goals. One of them a complete gimme late to tie it. Number four, they had a review go against on a touchdown. It could have easily been overturned. The Georgia kid had his heel on the sideline. I'm glad the refs let it happen. I really am. Like don't take away great plays. But that could have easily, easily, gone Alabama's way. You've watched these officials. It didn't.

Number five, they put a freshman quarterback in at overtime. He makes-- They put him in at half, but in overtime, he takes the worst sack a player's ever taken in overtime. It was a great player. He's the next Russell Wilson. But it was a horrendous play. The sixth thing to go against him, he had a player collapse on the sidelines. You don't think that's unnerving? They had a young man collapse on the sidelines. Number seven, they had a player get into a fight on the sidelines, apparently with a coach. Number eight, they lost their left tackle early in the second half.

Folks, they had eight things not go their way. But when Bama trails in games, time seems to sit still. Because here's Saban throwing the kitchen sink, coaching to the minute, to the play. He was not one of those old guys with his arms crossed. He's yelling at players. He's yelling at kickers. He's yelling at quarterback. He's got a coordinator. He's yelling at assistants. My friends, that is coaching. That is adjusting. Nick Saban's 65. He's got the energy of a 32-year-old. He was coaching his butt off, last night. Because he had eight things that didn't go his way.

I mean, everybody is saying this morning, "Well, obviously you'd have to replace the quarterback at half." Well, a couple of years ago, Les Miles obviously should have replaced a quarterback at half, and he didn't. Obviously, Oklahoma should have gone for it in overtime against Georgia with fourth and 1.5 with the best offensive line in football and Baker Mayfield and a crappy defense. They didn't do it. Obviously, with eight minutes to go last night, Georgia shouldn't have gone conservative. And they did. You tell me it's obvious they should have made that halftime adjustment. A lot of things are obvious. Andy Reid only gave Kareem Hunt the ball five times in Kansas City in the second half. It's obvious that Andy Reid, a good coach, should have given him the ball more. But a lot of coaches don't do the obvious.

Alabama had a ton go wrong, last night. It was a partial road game, lost their left tackle, bench there's 25 and 2, last year, conference player of the year quarterback. There was a player collapsing on the sideline. A player got into a fight on the sideline. They missed two field goals, one a chip shot late. And they just figured out how to do it. And everybody sees Nick Saban as rigid, unbending. Yet he was so fluid, last night. He was so willing to listen to his coordinators. He was so willing, on the fly, to make things up. I thought it was his best coaching effort of all time. I've watched every national championship for Alabama. Sometimes, they've just had the better team. Last night was world class coaching.

Great quarterbacks can win like Drew Brees Sunday with no running game. Great coaches win when everything goes wrong. Eight different issues which could have capsized Bama. And there is Nick, every stinking play in the second half, barking at this, barking at that. Trainers, doctors, coordinators, coaches, punters, kickers. That was Nick Saban's greatest moment, by far. And he's a great coach. That's what coaching is. A lot of guys can recruit. A lot of guys can game plan. Not all of them can adjust. Bill Belichick, down 28-3 at half. That's a legendary coach. That stuff, last night, by Alabama was amazing.

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