For all the jokes people make about Nick Saban and his Process, what he is doing clearly works. Before Saban’s tenure at Alabama, no college football team in the poll era had ever won five championships in nine seasons, or now six in 12. They’ve also won seven SEC titles since he’s been there and five since 2014. College football has never seen anything like it in the modern era. It’s completely unrivaled.
Normally, I loathe their success. After Clemson they are the last team I want to make the playoff every year. But, as they just added yet another title to this run, I felt I would set my feelings aside and just appreciate what they have done. The big stats I have already given in the paragraph above. Here are several others, many of which are not well known:
—Alabama hasn’t lost to an unranked team since 2007. They have 95 consecutive wins. The old record was 72.
—Alabama has been favored in 79 consecutive games, and 151 of the last 152. Only a road game at Georgia in 2015, where they were 1-point underdogs, broke the streak. Alabama’s 79-game streak and their 72 game streak prior are the longest two streaks in history. And they belong to the same dynasty. Florida St. from 1997 to 2001 was favored in 54 straight, the third longest streak.
—The last two times Alabama was not favored in a game, they won the SEC Championship by 19 (over Florida in 2009) and by 28 at Georgia in 2015. In the latter game they led 38-3 with ten minutes left in the third quarter. Truly one of the more embarrassing lines in Vegas history.
—Alabama hasn’t lost to an SEC East team in literally over a decade.
—Since 2015, Alabama has more playoff wins (8) than they do total losses (6).
—Alabama has more championships the last twelve years (6) than they do losses to teams outside of the SEC (4).
—Since 2008, Alabama has wins over non-SEC Power Five schools by the following scores: 52-24 (National Championship), 31-14 (Playoff Game), 42-3, 35-16 (Bowl Game), 51-14, 24-6 (Playoff Game), 52-6, 38-0 (Playoff Game), 35-10, 41-14, 42-14 (BCS Championship Game), 62-13, 49-7 (Bowl Game), 24-3, 37-21 (BCS National Championship) and 34-10.
—Alabama since 2009 has wins over other SEC teams by the following scores: 63-3, 66-3, 51-3, 59-0, 52-0, 52-0, 48-7, 45-10, 41-9, 45-7, 39-10, 52-21, 48-17, and 41-0
—The Crimson Tide since 2009 has wins on the road vs. SEC teams by the following scores: 52-3, 55-17, 62-7, 58-21, 59-0, 49-0, 42-10, 52-7, 41-10, 42-14, 44-13, 65-31, 29-0, and 38-7
—Alabama since 2009 has wins over ranked SEC teams by the following scores: 52-24, 49-10, 38-10, 42-13, 38-7, 31-6, 41-24, [and, in the SEC Championship] 32-13, 42-13, 54-16, and [in the National Championship], 21-0.
—The previous four lists constitute nearly 60 Alabama victories, out of about 150 games vs. Power Five Schools, in conference and out. Which means about 40% of the time, Alabama is not only winning, they are winning by multiple touchdowns.
—Here is the cumulative point differential Alabama has vs. the other 13 SEC Teams since 2008 (Some of you fans from West teams may want to not look):
Mississippi St. 416-101
Ole Miss 531-252
Texas A&M 377-202
South Carolina 88-64
—Since 2008, Alabama has as many 12-win seasons (ten), as the rest of the SEC combined.
—Alabama has seen 33 players get drafted in the first round of the last 12 NFL Drafts, by far the most. Saban has coached a 1st Round pick at every non-specialist position at Alabama.
—In the 2017 Championship Game vs. Georgia, Bama was struggling offensively and was down 13 in the second half. As my brother Ashley quipped, “Saban then went recruiting from his own bench” and Tua Tagovailoa (53 pass attempts all year) and DeVonta Smith (7 receptions all year) as freshman came in and won the game. Alabama has 5-stars backing up 5-stars everywhere.
Rivals have lined up to take their best shots at Saban and Bama, and a few have found success. But it’s as short-lived as a firecracker. Gene Chizek beat Alabama in 2010 and won the BCS Championship. He was fired two years later. Les Miles started off 3-3 vs. Saban. But then lost four straight and was fired in 2016. Guz Malzhan beat Bama in ’13, ’17 and ’19. He also was just fired. Ole Miss got to Bama in back-to-back seasons (2014 and 2015). Since then Bama has won five straight by an average of 33 points, including 66-3 and 62-7. Texas A&M got to Bama in their first SEC year (2012). Since then they’re 0-8. And Kevin Sumlin was fired.
Ed Orgeron, after LSU won 46-41 in Tuscaloosa last year, passionately boasted about how they were going to start whipping Bama in recruiting and on the field every year. The result this year? A 55-17 Tide beatdown in Baton Rouge (it was 45-14 at halftime). There are miles of difference in beating Bama and dethroning Bama. And the other 13 SEC schools are currently paying out over $100 million in coaching buyouts. Because Bama’s insane standard is destroying everyone else’s patience, psyche and rationality1.
Alabama is the team everyone wants to be. But there is only one longterm dynasty in college football. Even when they do not win in a given year, they always come back the next.
Because the Process works. And that is the inevitable nature of this historical run.
- Clemson can say they’ve punched Bama in the mouth and didn’t back down soon after. But they still need a few more years of sustained greatness to be this kind of dynasty. They can, but this year was a reminder of how hard it is to be Bama. ↩