Nick Saban sat atop the college football mountain for the fifth time in January after Alabama took down Georgia in the 2018 National Championship Game, but that wasn't the end of his team's fight to be anointed the country's best.
UCF, which went undefeated and beat the one team that took down Alabama in Auburn, proclaimed itself the true national champions, even going as far as giving national championship rings to players after winning the Peach Bowl.
However, while Saban has "a tremendous amount of respect" for UCF's accomplishment last season, he dismissed the notion that the program's success devalues the Crimson's Tide title.
"If you honor and respect the system that we have, (despite) some of the imperfections that you understand that the system has, then you wouldn't do something out of respect for the system that we have. I guess anybody has the prerogative to claim anything," Saban told USA Today's George Schroeder.
"But self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it. And there's probably a significant number of people who don't respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves."
Saban isn't alone. Former UCF head coach Scott Frost, now in charge of Nebraska, said earlier this month that he would've "had a hard time getting behind" his former team's claim.