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Nick Saban Facing Some Criticism For How Long He's Playing His Starters

Nick Saban crossing his arms.

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on during warm ups prior to the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against the Washington Huskies at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Alabama should have its game against Ole Miss well in hand. Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide lead 59-24 late in the fourth quarter.

It is hard to second guess Nick Saban, with what he's done with the Crimson Tide. One can very reasonably argue that he's the best college football coach of all time.

That doesn't mean he's infallible, though. Tonight, he's catching a bit of heat for leaving his starters in well into the fourth quarter.

It wasn't until the Tide's most recent drive, which began with just over five minutes left in the game, that backup quarterback Mac Jones led the second string onto the field. Tua Tagovailoa led Alabama on a final touchdown drive to get to 59 points that ended with just over seven minutes left in the game.

For those who have Alabama -37.5, the effort is likely appreciated (even if the Tide may fall short of covering that spread). That is definitely not at the top of Saban's mind, though.

Others don't love that he had the Alabama starters out there so late, risking injury in what was clearly garbage time.

Luckily, it doesn't sound like there were any major issues, aside from an injury to Henry Ruggs much earlier in the game.

Tagovailoa was incredible, completing 26-of-36 throws for 418 yards and six touchdowns. He ran for a seventh score, and was responsible for every offensive touchdown scored by the Crimson Tide.

Alabama will move to 5-0 ahead of next weekend's bye.