Alabama football: Will 2023 Crimson Tide be the last of Nick Saban era?

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama football has long been regarded as one of the greatest of both the past and present, and legendary head coach Nick Saban deserves a lot of credit for that.

Saban has manned the helm of the iconic program since 2007, making him the longest-tenured head coach in the SEC and one of the longest-tenured in the entire Power Five. The longevity comes with good reason as, apart from his first year in Tuscaloosa, he has never seen a record with less than 10 wins in that span.

But something that matters more than all of that is Saban’s success at the national level, which is easily where the bulk of his legacy with the Crimson Tide lies.

With seven College Football Playoff appearances and six national titles under his belt (not including the one from his days at LSU), Saban is widely regarded as the greatest coach in both the history of Alabama football and the history of college football as a whole. As a result of such an outstanding résumé, Bama fans hold a rather high standard for their team every year — a standard that it has lately failed to meet.

In the Tide’s last two seasons, there have been multiple regular-season losses, needlessly close games and falls just short of greatness, none of which fans want to see often. Combining those concerns with the might of this upcoming 2023 slate leaves Bama in even less comfortable of a position.

I’m already on the record as having said that the schedule awaiting Alabama is far from its easiest. In fact, the schedule is so tough that I officially warned fans about next season potentially not being the one that sees their Crimson Tide get back on top.

With that in mind, along with the fact that the 71-year-old Saban isn’t getting any younger, the question has to be asked: Would a disappointing 2023 run (or at least disappointing by Bama’s definition) be enough to make the college football legend walk away from the sideline for good?