Alabama Football: More than a decade of incredible consistency

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

For more than a decade, Nick Saban’s Alabama football teams have won with unrivaled consistency. Consistency not just measured by National Championships but by full season schedules.

A recent tweet jogged memory. The memory of the ‘so much’ Nick Saban has achieved with Alabama football. It said, not since 2007, has the Crimson Tide lost to an unranked team. That is no small thing.

Preparing players and teams for big games is not easy. Getting them up for lesser opponents is much harder. Talent disparities alone are enough to win most of those games. But winning all of them is an underappreciated achievement.

In Nick Saban’s first season, Alabama football lost to three unranked teams. In that six-loss season, the Crimson Tide lost to unranked Florida State, Mississippi State and Louisiana-Monroe. College football pundits claimed the Tuscaloosa loss to ULM loss proved Alabama football, as a national power, was no more.

Looking back the ULM loss probably did not shock Nick Saban. He knew full well the depth of Crimson Tide deficiencies. Fans were shocked but we should not have been. The November before, in 2006, Sylvester Croom brought his Bulldogs to Tuscaloosa. A 24-16 Crimson Tide loss was no surprise. Fans had grown to expect losses. What did shock was how MSU won. You needed to be in Bryant-Denny to see it clearly, but the Bulldogs physically whipped the Tide for four quarters.

That is what Nick Saban inherited. To turn it around after just one 7-6 season remains one of Saban’s big achievements. Going back to the 2008 season, the 17 losses have always been to ranked teams. Twice the Tide has lost to the No. 1 team, both times it was LSU. Three times it has lost to No. 2 teams, Florida, Auburn and Clemson.

Another loss came against a No. 3 Clemson team. The Tide lost to Auburn at No. 4 and No. 6 and to Ohio State at No. 5 and Utah at No. 7. The Crimson Tide also lost to No. 11 Ole Miss, No. 11 Oklahoma, No. 12 LSU, No. 15 Ole Miss and No. 15 TAMU. The remaining two losses came against No. 16 Auburn and No. 19 South Carolina.

Alabama football fans expect to win every big game. When the Tide fails, the losses are hard to accept. They should never be acceptable. But also, the amazing consistency of Alabama football under Nick Saban should never be ignored.

Next. In coaching records, few compare to Nick Saban.. dark

Keeping that run of no losses to unranked teams alive is important. Not as important as winning championships, but the two are not unrelated.