Alabama Football: Arguably the greatest record in college football

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

Alabama football has many records. Arguably the most impressive team record is, wins against unranked opponents.

One Alabama football record does not get the attention it deserves. It is the Alabama Crimson Tide win streak versus unranked opponents. The current number of 95 straight wins over unranked opponents is an FBS all-time record.

The previous record of 72 wins, was shared by the Miami Hurricanes (1984-1985) and the Florida Gators (1989-2000).

To an extent, consistency is an undervalued attribute in individuals and teams. Media glamor and fan fervor are tied more to winning championships. Another slap against the Alabama football record is a national attitude the Crimson Tide runs up wins against lesser foes. Elite teams do that every college football season because so few teams match them evenly.

The Tide’s consistency against unranked opponents proves the long-term effect of the best coach in college football. Every season, top teams go down in trap games, often against unranked competition. Understanding how exceptional Alabama football has been under Nick Saban is as simple as looking at another eight, top college football programs.

The last Crimson Tide loss to an unranked team was in 2007. Lowly Louisiana-Monroe came to Tuscaloosa and left with a win. Nick Saban’s first Alabama football team was coming off two, close losses to LSU and Mississippi State. The 2007 Alabama Crimson Tide should have been motivated to dominate the Warhawks. The Tide was not, and the 21-14, Tide loss was no fluke.

The best thing that happened that Saturday afternoon in Bryant-Denny is the Crimson Tide finally hit bottom. No doubt, Nick Saban feasted on the opportunity to use the loss as a learning tool. Now, approaching 4,750 days later, Saban’s frequent message about taking every opponent seriously keeps reaping rewards.

Last Losses to Unranked Teams by Other Top Programs

  • Auburn Tigers – The most recent loss to an unranked team is this season when the Tigers lost to South Carolina. In 2018, Auburn had two more, in losses to Mississippi State and Tennessee. Going back to 2007 would show many more.
  • Florida Gators – The Gators lost to unranked Kentucky and Missouri in 2018. During the 2017 season, the Gators had five losses to unranked teams, LSU, Texas A&M, Missouri, South Carolina and Florida State.
  • LSU Bengal Tigers – In the 2020 season, LSU has three unranked losses to Mississippi State, Missouri and Auburn.
  • Georgia Bulldogs – The most recent Bulldogs’ unranked loss came in the 2019 season to South Carolina.
  • Oklahoma Sooners – Four times in the last four seasons, the Sooners have unranked losses to Kansas State and Iowa State.
  • Notre Dame Fighting Irish – The 2016 season was the last time the Irish lost to an unranked team. Notre Dame was 4-8 that season with unranked losses to Virginia Tech, Navy, Stanford, North Carolina State, Duke and Texas.
  • Ohio State Buckeyes – The Buckeyes lost to an unranked Purdue team in 2018.
  • Clemson Tigers – Dabo’s Tigers lost to an unranked Syracuse in 2017. That season, Cuse finished 4-8.

All stats in this post were obtained from the tremendous source for sports history, Sports Reference.

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Other top teams from the last 10-or-so seasons could also be compared. The result would not change. Measured by winning streaks against unranked teams, no college football program compares to the Alabama Crimson Tide.