Nick Saban — what a bum.
Believe it or not, that’s what some really nutty Alabama fans were saying in 2007 — Saban’s first season at the school — when the Crimson Tide lost not once, not twice but six times. Everybody who was anybody beat the Tide that year, including Georgia. Was Saban the same guy who’d won a national title at LSU? Or was he the fish out of water who’d flopped in the NFL with the Dolphins?
It’s kind of funny to think back on it.
Oh, and Georgia hasn’t beaten the Tide since. To be clear: 0-7. To be clearer: 0-8 after Monday’s college football championship game in Indianapolis.
Why pick Alabama? It’s not just that Saban and the Tide are working on their seventh national title (Saban’s eighth) together. It’s not just that Saban is 25-1 against members of his coaching tree and 4-0 against the Bulldogs’ Kirby Smart. It’s not just that Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young, world-class pass rusher Will Anderson and so many other great players roll with the Tide. And it’s not just that Alabama already beat Georgia — by 17 — for the SEC championship.
There’s no “just” when it comes to the Tide. It’s all those things above and more, all the time.
Sure, beating them can be done. Clemson has pulled it off twice on the playoff stage. Texas A&M — led by former Saban assistant Jimbo Fisher — did it in October. The Bulldogs are talented enough to beat anybody and still ticked off about what went down in Atlanta.
Easy? No. But the bum does it again, 31-27.
And here’s what’s happening:
Bears at Vikings (noon, Fox-32)
What’s at stake? Merely everything. OK, fine, nothing. But you know what, Matt Nagy? Feel free to go out with a bang anyway.
49ers at Rams (3:25 p.m., Fox-32)
The Niners can win their way into the playoffs (though a Saints loss or tie would also get them there). The Rams can lock up the NFC West title. And Matthew Stafford can say, “I still can’t believe I got the hell out of Detroit.”
Panthers at Buccaneers (3:25 p.m., Ch. 2)
With a monster game, might Tom Brady have a chance to steal the MVP award from Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers? Either way, take the under on receiving yards by Antonio Brown.
Bulls at Mavericks (6:30 p.m., NBCSCH)
Will banged-up star Luka Doncic play? Easier for the Bulls to notch a 10th straight win if he doesn’t, but definitely more fun to see the guy out there doing his thing.
Chargers at Raiders (7:20 p.m., Ch. 5, Peacock)
It’s win-and-you’re-in — for each team — in the final game of the NFL regular season. Can’t draw it up any better than that, can you?
Alabama vs. Georgia (7 p.m., ESPN)
Don’t believe those SEC braggarts who say the Tide’s and Dogs’ second-stringers could make it to the playoff. They might be able to win the Big Ten West, though, if we’re being completely honest.
CBB: Illinois at Nebraska (7:30 p.m., BTN)
The Illini (Ayo who?) are off to a 4-0 start in Big Ten play for the first time in 12 seasons. Oh, relax, we were just kidding with the Ayo thing.
CBB: Valparaiso at Loyola (8 p.m., CBSSN)
Princeton alum Ryan Schwieger could be out conquering the world. Instead, the graduate transfer is leading the Ramblers in scoring. Some guys just have it all.
Nets at Bulls (9 p.m., ESPN)
The Nets might not be ready to admit it, but this has the makings of a heck of a rivalry. We should probably start making a list of all the things we dislike about New Jersey.
WBB: Northwestern at Illinois (7 p.m., BTN)
Seniors Veronica Burton and Courtney Shaw have the Wildcats rolling. They go for a 14th straight “W” — whoa, that’s a lot — in this head-to-head series.
Canadiens at Blackhawks (7:30 p.m., NBCSCH)
You can throw out the records when these teams play. For real, though, please throw out the records.
Warriors at Bulls (6:30 p.m., ESPN, NBCSCH)
Now this is entertainment with a capital “E.” Especially if the Bulls don’t let Steph Curry and Co. hand them another capital “L” like that 26-point blowout in November.
CBB: Michigan at Illinois (8 p.m., FS1)
The Wolverines have fallen so short of expectations thus far, you almost have to feel bad for them. But seriously, folks.
Man City vs. Chelsea (6:30 a.m., Peacock)
The second-place Blues absolutely must have this one if they’re going to have any chance of catching top-of-the-table City. At least that’s what our soccer-mad friend in the hipster scarf tells us.
NFL wild-card games (3:35 p.m., 7:15 p.m., TBD)
We can’t tell you who will be playing, where the games will be or what networks they’ll be on. Other than that, we’ve got you covered.