Nick Saban on UCF's championship claim: 'Not the same as actually earning it'

Alabama head coach Nick Saban was “fine with” UCF’s January claim to a national championship before the Crimson Tide’s run to the College Football Playoff National Championship.

After months of UCF hammering home the point with banners, rings and a national championship police car (whatever that is) commemorating college football’s only undefeated team in 2017, Saban appears to have changed his tune.

Nick Saban calls for ‘honor and respect’ for the system

Saban spoke with USA Today for an article published Tuesday and took a more candid approach about his thoughts on UCF’s bold claims.

Per USA Today Sports:

“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. 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.”

Wow. “Self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it.” And the dig about people not respecting people who make those proclamations. That is serious shade in peak Saban form.

Saban says Alabama has earned all its titles under his watch

Saban was also savvy enough to cut off at the pass any critics ready to pounce on Alabama’s 17 national championships, some of which are of the self-claimed variety.

“That’s not how it’s done anymore. All the national championships that we won, we had to play somebody to win them. And we got in the game because of the season we had.”

It’s that kind of anticipation and preparation that makes Saban one of the best to ever man a football sideline.

More from Yahoo Sports:
Tim Brown: Why Cano’s suspension isn’t shocking
Cowboys star wants to be ‘rapper who happens to play football’
Here’s the reason why no one will beat Golden State
New Panthers owner may re-ignite NFL’s Trump feud