"People talk about how the most difficult thing is to win your first championship," he said. "Really, the most difficult one to win is the next one, because there's always a feeling of entitlement."
Rest assured, that feeling won't last long in Tuscaloosa.
While Saban insisted he was "happy as hell" and "has never been prouder of a group of young men," it was hard to tell. He was already talking about reporting to the office Wednesday morning and getting started on next season.
"One of these days, when I'm sitting on the side of the hill watching the stream go by, I'll probably figure it out even more," Saban said. "But what about next year's team? You've got to think about that, too."
So, in short order, he'll be talking with underclassmen about entering the NFL draft, making sure everyone goes back to class on schedule, and getting started on that next depth chart.
"The Process," as he calls it, never stops.
"We're going to enjoy it for 24 hours or so," Saban said.
No. 2 Alabama quieted the top-ranked Irish on the very first drive — so much for waking up the echoes — and could've started the celebration at halftime, heading to the locker room with a commanding 28-0 lead.
The Tide (13-1) pushed it out to 35-0 midway through the third quarter on the third of McCarron's four touchdown passes, a 34-yarder to Amari Cooper with a defender nowhere in sight.
When Everett Golson finally scored for Notre Dame (12-1) with about 4 minutes remaining in the third, it snapped a scoreless stretch of nearly two full games — 108 minutes and 7 seconds — by the Tide.