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By Simon Evans
MIAMI, Jan 8 (Reuters) - University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban secured his status as one of the greats of college football on Monday, guiding the 'Crimson Tide' to their third national title in four years with a crushing 42-14 victory over Notre Dame.
In the same Sun Life Stadium where he endured a brief, fruitless and unhappy experience as an NFL head coach with the Miami Dolphins, Saban tasted college football glory for the fourth time having won earlier in his career with Louisiana State University (LSU).
For the second year in a row, Alabama dominated the national championship game, following up their 21-0 win over LSU last year with an even more convincing display.
Since the BCS Championship game was introduced in 1998 no team has won back-to-back titles but Saban was wary of talking in historic terms.
"I don't think words like 'dynasty' are really words I'm much interested in," said Saban after the game.
"We are interested in accomplishment and consistency in performance and we want to continue to try to do that in the future. Those (words) are for other people to talk about," he said.
"I think it is pretty special what we've accomplished, what the players accomplished and the coaches. One of these days when I'm sitting on the side of a hill watching the stream go by, I'll probably figure it out even more.
"But what about next year's team? You've got to think about that too".
Those are ominous words for Alabama's rivals and it would be a brave person who bets against Saban constructing a third consecutive championship team.
As always Saban was visibly passionate throughout a game in which, as usual, his team was superbly drilled and physically and technically superior to opponents who were unbeaten in their 12-game regular season.
The win is sure to prompt speculation about whether Saban, who had two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, in 2005 and 2006, might now try a second spell in the professional game.
While there will be NFL owners wondering how they might tempt Saban away again from the remarkably successful program he has developed in Tuscaloosa, for now Saban was content to reflect on just what an outstanding team he coached this year.
"I feel great for our players, fans, administration and the people of Alabama," he said.
"Our guys maintained their focus and played through the adversity of winning during a tough season and difficult schedule," he added.
"People talk about how the most difficult thing is to win your first championship. But really the most difficult is to win the next one, because there is always a feeling of entitlement," he said.
"I've never been prouder of a group of young men for what they were able to do." (Reporting By Simon Evans; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)