The Alabama football, Nick Saban era has produced dozens of great victories to go along with five national championships. Let’s look back at the 25 greatest games.
It is never possible to fully appreciate any accomplishment without looking back to where and when the quest began. To fully appreciate the 25 greatest games of the Nick Saban era of Alabama football, requires understanding the state of the Alabama football program at the end of the 2006 season.
Full appreciation of that point in Alabama football time forces an even further step back. Back to the ten years when Alabama football languished, seemingly lost in the college football wilderness. Gene Stallings walked away from Alabama football because his employer did not understand or care what championships mean to Alabama football. The University of Alabama administration was not fully committed to the requirements necessary for a championship tradition.
Stallings left disappointed but handled the exit graciously. What followed was a floundering program, rudderless in direction. There is room for debate about who later saved Alabama football. Most point to Mal Moore. He was certainly the man whose elevation to Athletic Director in 1999 brought with it the knowledge to build championships.
Moore inherited Mike Dubose as head Alabama football coach and he hired four head coaches while he was A.D. As Dubose was before them, three of those four hires were unsuccessful. One of them, Mike Price, never coached a game at Alabama. Another one, Dennis Franchione, shamefully exited after abruptly abandoning his players. Dubose and Mike Shula were not up to the task.
The record in those Dubose-Franchione-Price-Shula-Kines, 10 seasons was 67 wins and 55 losses. The toll on Mal was high, personally and professionally. In late winter 2006, he had one last chance to resurrect the football program at the school he loved.
Mal wanted a coach with a championship pedigree. Mal made a run at Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban. Both said no. Mal did not give up. He was due some luck and he got lucky twice. A near-deal with Rich Rodriquez fell through. He kept working on Saban and found an ally in Miss Terry.
When the definitive history of the Alabama-Saban Dynasty is written it should read, Mal Moore and Terry Saban saved Alabama football.
And yes, Nick deserves a lot of credit too. Let’s go back to the 2007 season and relive Nick Saban’s 25 Greatest Alabama football games.