Cubelic: CFB's changing landscape will force Nick Saban to retire sooner than expected

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban hasn't been pleased with college football's implementation of name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals, and in his effort to make an argument, he singled-out another SEC program and ignited a rivalry. During an event on Wednesday, the legendary coach accused Texas A&M of buying every player in its lauded 2022 recruiting class. Saban apologized for his rant on Thursday, and said he reached out to Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher.

Before the apology, Fisher ripped his former colleague during an impromptu press conference, calling Saban a "narcissist" and his comments about their recruiting process "despicable." NIL policies have caused headaches across the nation -- NCAA rules prohibit a school or its employees only from paying players directly for NIL rights -- and with a changing landscape, SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic believes that Saban may retire sooner than expected.

"I think Saban's having a hard time with some of where college football is and where college football is going. And I can absolutely see it pushing him away earlier than maybe he anticipated," Cubelic explained to The Zach Gelb Show on Thursday. "I don't know if that's after this season, two-five years from now. A year and a half ago, I would've told you he'd give you five more years, easy.

"Now, would I be floored if he decided he's done after this season? Not at all. Just because of how much change is coming. And let's not pretend he hasn't benefitted from some of the things... If you were to ever step on the gas, fully with NIL, who knows exactly where they'd be... I don't think there's any doubt this has pushed fast-forward on when Saban will step away from coaching."

The entire football conversation between Cubelic and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow The Zach Gelb Show on Twitter @ZachGelb and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.