When you think of great college football programs your mind may head different directions. You have programs with great traditions, lots of Heisman winners, national championships. But there’s one program in particular that has been unstoppable for as long as we can remember, the Alabama Crimson Tide. It’s rare to see long term dynasties in college sports because of constant player changes, but Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban has managed to keep the ball rolling.
Legendary Alabama Coach Nick Saban
Nick Saban has been Alabama’s coach since 2007, but he had a long coaching history before that. He started off as a Graduate Assistant at Kent State before becoming a linebacker coach there. He had many defensive gigs with schools such as West Virginia, Ohio State, and Michigan State. His first head coaching job was at Toledo. Saban had 4 more coaching jobs, 2 in college for Michigan State and LSU, and two in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.
After being hired by Alabama in 2007, Saban led the team to a 6-6 record and a win at the Independence Bowl. Saban would have instant improvement on his second season with Alabama posting a 12-2 record and a loss in Sugar Bowl, despite the bowl game loss, the program was trending in the right direction. In his third year with the Crimson Tide, Saban led the team to a perfect 14-0 record including a National Championship, the team was led by Heisman winner Mark Ingram.
Former Alabama Running Back and Heisman winner Mark Ingram
The team’s record would fall to 10-3 the following year ending with a win in the Capital One Bowl. In 2011, the prolific career of AJ McCarron began. He had the looks and the skill, and he led his team to a 12-1 record and a National Championship in his first year as a starter. In 2012, Alabama would win its third National Championship in 4 years and have a repeat. McCarron led the Tide to a blowout win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and former Heisman candidate Manti T’eo. In 2013, the last year of McCarron’s career at Alabama, he lost the most games he’d lost in a season with the team, posting an 11-2 record and a loss in the Sugar Bowl.
Former Alabama Standout, AJ McCarron
In 2014, the first year of the College Football Playoffs, Alabama was looking to take the National Title again, and all looked good they went undefeated into the playoffs and faced Ohio State and Cardale Jones, who was the third string quarterback at the start of the season. Bama got upset, and ended their season with a loss in the semi final. In 2015, Alabama would post a 14-1 record and finally grab the National Title over the Clemson Tigers. The Tide were led by Heisman winner Derrick Henry.
Former Alabama Running back and Heisman Winner Derrick Henry
Alabama would look to repeat next year behind true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts and big, explosive running back Bo Scarbrough. The Tide went undefeated through the season and met Clemson in a rematch. The Tide would not be able to hang on and would lose in the rematch.
Current Alabama Quarterback, Sophomore Jalen Hurts
This year, Alabama posted an 11-1 record, and despite the lack of a conference title, have made the College Football Playoff. They’ll face Clemson in yet another rematch in the semi finals. There are a lot of questions going into this playoff for Alabama. Can Saban add to his legacy? Is this team legit? What does the Tide have to lose this year? And the biggest question: is Alabama still the king of college football?
No matter what happens this year I think we can all agree Nick Saban has had an amazing career with Alabama. He’s accumulated an overall record of 125 wins and only 20 losses, an overwhelmingly positive win loss ratio. He’s also managed to go 72-13 in the SEC, making Bama the clear powerhouse of the conference for his tenure. Saban has won four National and Conference Titles with the program and has won one coach of the year award (he won another with LSU), 5 SEC Titles, and 3 SEC Coach of the Year Awards.