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Nick Saban named a finalist for AP Coach of the Year

After ending the 2017 season without a national coaching honor, Nick Saban is potentially in position to snatch three awards this year. As he has the University of Alabama in the College Football Playoff for a fifth consecutive time, the 67-year-old is one of three finalists for Associated Press Coach of the Year.

News came on Sunday afternoon via the publication, with Saban joining Josh Heupel of Central Florida and Brian Kelly of Notre Dame as a nominee. 

In his twelfth season with the Crimson Tide, Saban has an offense that’s totaled the most points in his tenure (623) at an average of 49.7 points a game.

Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is his most recent Heisman Trophy finalist, becoming the fourth signal-caller of the Saban era to record a 3,000-yard passing season (3,353).

The native Hawaiian accounts for 37 touchdown passes to four interceptions, while his 42 total scores set a single-season school record.

Behind Tagovailoa, Alabama turned in at least 50 points in eight regular season games and collected 60 points versus two Southeastern Conference opponents.

The program stands 100 points shy of tying the 2013 Florida State team (723) for most points scored in a season. 

Defensively, the Tide has allowed 14.8 points per game. 

Saban coached the group to two shutouts against LSU and Mississippi State, while allowing one team (Arkansas) to total at least 30 points. Alabama enters the CFP ranked 10th in college football for total defense (295.4 ypg) and seventh in sacks with 42. The six-time national champion has mentored an Outland Trophy winner and unanimous All-American in defensive tackle, Quinnen Williams and a consensus All-American in safety Deionte Thompson. 

Along with the AP, Saban is a finalist for Bobby Dodd and George Munger national coaching honors. He is going after his sixth national title in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and seventh overall in his coaching career.

The winner of the AP Coach of the Year award will be announced at noon.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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