Alabama football: Ranking every team of the Nick Saban era

Almost every team that Nick Saban coached at Alabama was great, but which of his 17-year run in Tuscaloosa was his best?
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and running back Derrick Henry
Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and running back Derrick Henry / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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On Wednesday, Nick Saban shocked the college football world by walking away from the sidelines. His final game was a loss at the Rose Bowl, but that won’t be the lasting memory of the greatest coach of all time. 

Instead, Saban will be remembered by Crimson Tide fans for his six championship years, and for never having a losing season in his 17 years in Tuscaloosa. After his shaky 2007 campaign, Saban set a standard that may never be matched, especially not over 16 years of championship contention. 

Every Alabama team from 2008-23 was great, but which was Saban’s best group? Where do his near-misses rank, like the 2016 team, or this 2023 group? So, I decided to rank every Alabama team of the Nick Saban era, and it was no easy task, besides figuring out which team was his worst.

17. 2007 (7-6) Independence Bowl win

Nick Saban was coming off a failed attempt to make it in the NFL and started his first season at Alabama with a 7-6 record that included a loss to Louisiana Monroe at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Some skeptics didn’t believe he was the right fit for the job. I think it’s safe to say he proved those doubters wrong.