Alabama Football: Crimson Tide dominates 20-year ‘Best Teams’ list

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

What follows in this post is about the accomplishments of Alabama Football. It covers a period of the last 20 years. Not coincidental to the Alabama Crimson Tide story is the fact that in 17 of those 20 years, Nick Saban has been the Alabama head coach.

Many coaches, players and staff members are responsible for what Alabama has accomplished in the 20 years. More than dozens of them deserve special credit for what the Alabama Football program has achieved. Arguably, by far the most credit should be given to Nick Saban.

Reviewing the history of SEC Football head coaches, going back to 1933 and through the 2022 season, the SEC has had 180 head coaches. Only seven of them coached more than 20 seasons in the SEC. Nick Saban is No. 7 on the tenure list with 16 Alabama Football seasons, plus five seasons at LSU. At the top of the list is Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant with 25 Alabama Football seasons, plus eight seasons at Kentucky.

Jumping to recent history, what Alabama Football and Nick Saban have achieved is extraordinary. For those doubting the claim, consider the best college football teams of the last 20 years.

The company OpenAI provides an answer tool called ChatGPT. The list below was the answer to a question of who were the best college football teams of the last 20 years. The list is in chronological order, rather than a ranking of the teams. A total of 10 teams are on the list and three of them are Alabama Crimson Tide teams. No other program has more than one team.

  1. 2001 Miami Hurricanes
  2. 2002 USC Trojans
  3. 2005 Texas Longhorns
  4. 2008 Florida Gators
  5. 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide
  6. 2013 Florida State Seminoles
  7. 2015 Alabama Crimson Tide
  8. 2018 Clemson Tigers
  9. 2019 LSU Tigers
  10. 2020 Alabama Crimson Tide

All the teams on the list were National Champions. Alabama football fans will find it noteworthy that certain other National Champions did not make the 10-best list. Alabama’s 2009, 2012 and 2017 National Champions are not in the 10-best. Neither are National Championships won by Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson and Auburn.

Alabama Football and ‘What If’

For Alabama fans, it is also interesting to consider some ‘what ifs’.

  • In the 2008 SEC Championship game, Alabama led Florida going into the fourth quarter. In Saban’s second Crimson Tide season, the program had no business contending for a National Championship, but the Tide put a serious scare on the National Champion Gators.
  • In November 2019, Alabama lost by five points to LSU’s best team ever. Alabama fans will forever ask how that game would have ended had Tua Tagovailoa not played it on one leg.

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Crimson Tide fans can savor the history, but of utmost interest is when will the Alabama Crimson Tide have another one of college football’s best teams.