For as long as I’ve been watching college football (The BC-Notre Dame Holy War in 2009), Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide have been dominating the world of college football. If we’re being technical, their dominance began a year earlier, in 2008, when the Tide’s run of 12 straight seasons attaining a #1 ranking began. So essentially, for as much of my life as I actually remember watching, Alabama has been the standard of college football (albeit Clemson is catching up in recent years). I’ve never been one to hate dynasties, and even if Bama manhandled my Irish in the 2013 BCS National Championship, I can respect the string of success Saban has enjoyed. So without further ado, here are three of the most impressive statistics from the Saban era.
3. Always #1
I hinted at this statistic above but come on? 12 straight years, the Tide have been ranked #1 during the season. That’s absurd. In each of those twelve seasons, they’ve finished in the top 10, with eight of them falling in the top 5. Their consistency and constant presence within the top 10 is one of the most impressive feats of the Saban era. That level of dominance in the modern era is unprecedented – no team can match that.
2. Big Game Saban
To be the best, you have to beat the best and that’s exactly what Saban has done. A lot. He’s 6-1 in SEC championships, 6-3 in the College Football Playoff, and 3-0 in BCS National Championship Games. Combined, that’s a 15-4 record in the biggest games of the season against the best teams. They’ve won some of those games in simply dominating fashion – beating LSU 21-0, Notre Dame 42-14, Missouri 42-13, and Florida 29-15, 54-16, and 32-13. They don’t just beat the best teams. They slaughter them.
1. 91-game winning streak vs. unranked teams
This stat and streak – until it was broken – will always seem absolutely ridiculous to me. This just doesn’t happen. The longest previous streak was 72, which was in itself extremely impressive. Clemson has lost to Syracuse and Pitt in the past few seasons. Ohio State lost to Purdue by 29 points and Iowa by 31. LSU lost to Troy. It’s part of the deal – crazy upsets happen. Unless you’re Nick Saban. Then they just don’t. Alabama’s last loss to an unranked team was to Louisiana-Monroe on November 17, 2007. All their SEC games against unranked teams? All the cupcake opponents? Trap games? No upsets. Absolutely absurd. You can basically mark at least 8 wins on the schedule at the beginning of the season with 100% confidence. You shouldn’t be able to that. But that’s the Nick Saban guarantee.