Column: This one was all about Nick Saban

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The game, Nick Saban insisted rather testily the day before, was never about him. Said it wouldn’t define him as a person or as a coach, no matter what happened on the field.

Sure felt a lot like it Monday night.

Two national titles in three years? Saban can check that one off his list of unfinished tasks.

Coach a defense so smothering it pitched the first shutout ever in a national title game? Put a check beside that one, too.

Winning an unprecedented three BCS titles? Yeah, that, too.

And how about beating the coach who took over for him when he left LSU? No matter what Saban says publicly _ and it’s never much _ that had to be the sweetest part of the whole night.

There is an undisputed king among coaches in the undisputed king of all conferences. He wears Alabama red, and if this continues, `Bama fans will be talking about him in the same breath as the great Bear Bryant.

Sorry Nick, but on this night the game was all about you.

Not the kicker who somehow managed to get five field goals through the uprights. Not the defense that stopped LSU at every turn and didn’t allow the Tigers to get past midfield until midway through the final quarter.

Just the coach with the sour disposition who starts his day by watching the Weather Channel with his wife for 30 minutes.

He built a powerhouse at LSU, only to take a misguided trip into the NFL. He returned to restore Alabama to what most Crimson Tide fans believe is its rightful place in college football’s hierarchy.

And after beating LSU 21-0, he actually smiled.

“It really isn’t about me,” Saban insisted once again. “It’s a lot more than that.”

In a game that had all the drama of a junior high scrimmage, Alabama was clearly the best team on the field and Saban was the best coach on the sidelines. He gambled early with a fake field goal, had his quarterback throwing deep on first down, and left the rest to a defense that allowed LSU only 92 yards the whole night.

By the time it finally came to an end, half a stadium of LSU fans had somehow disappeared into the New Orleans night. The other half belonged to Alabama, and they stayed and cheered their coach as he accepted the national championship trophy once again.

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