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Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama, Nick Saban make Colin Cowherd, Joel Klatt eat words

There are some flaming hot sports takes that stand the test of time and others that fail so bad you have to question credibility of all involved parties.

Top-ranked Alabama’s recent hot streak on defense and overall dominance this season brings us to this unforgettable soundbite from Colin Cowherd and Joel Klatt — two Big Ten homers at Fox Sports 1 — after the 2015 season.

Cowherd and Klatt sealed the coffin on the Crimson Tide’s dynasty in September 2015 after Alabama’s 43-37 road loss at Ole Miss.

“In life, you’ve got to be able to pivot and I don’t think Nick has been able to pivot particularly well,” Cowherd said. “I always thought it was a boring dynasty. I liked USC’s and Texas. I sincerely believe it’s over. They’ll win a bunch of games, but it’s over.”

“It is,” Klatt said in agreement. “Now they may get another class in here that may do something special because (Nick) recruits very well (but it’s over). They have a Nick Saban problem at Alabama. They pay Kirby Smart and Nick Saban north of $8 million. And in the last 14 games they’ve given up 40 points four times. They haven’t adjusted.

“This is what’s so crazy — he’s turned Alabama into an old Big Ten defense. It’s a big, slow, lumbering defense. They’ve got some serious problems there. I think it’s over. There are better programs out there right now than Alabama and Ohio State is one of them.”

Yikes.

Since that memorable segment, Alabama is 50-2 with two national championships. And that “big, slow, lumbering defense” has pitched eight shutouts during that stretch, including two this season over nationally-ranked competition.

Was Cowherd and Klatt’s DOA assertion the worst take … ever?

Top-ranked Alabama (11-0) is a 24.5-point favorite in this weekend’s Iron Bowl and is the overwhelming favorite to win the national championship, which would mark Saban’s sixth since 2009 and break Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant’s record for titles.

Klatt mentioned in his reasoning that if Saban landed a star quarterback, there was a chance the Crimson Tide could keep pace, and man, have they ever with Heisman frontrunner Tua Tagovailoa. Alabama’s sophomore sensation has 31 touchdowns and two interceptions in his first campaign as the full-time starter and has given the offense a nearly unstoppable new wrinkle this fall.

“We’re pleased with the way Tua has played,” Saban said this week. “I think that any player that you talk about, no one is perfect. I do think that Tua has sort of the mindset of trying to make every throw a good throw, make every read a good read. I think he hopes for that. I think he is a perfectionist to some degree. And I think players like that certainly close the gap on being able to perform well relative to the expectation of what we want them to do play in and play out.

“So I think he’s become more consistent in that regard. He’s made a lot of good throws. He’s made a lot of explosive plays. I think it’s going to be important we continue to do that because we’re going to play against better defenses, and when we play against better defenses we need to be just as productive in terms of our ability to run the ball, have balance on offense and to make explosive plays.”

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