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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8. 2016 (14-1) Lost in CFP National Championship

Alabama had the No. 1 defense in the country in 2016, but Clemson had the No. 1 quarterback in the country. Though Deshaun Watson didn’t win the Heisman Trophy, he proved that there was nobody better with his incredibly clutch performance in the national championship game to knock off the Crimson Tide and avenge the loss 364 days prior. 

The SEC wasn’t quite as stout in 2016, LSU was only No. 15 in the country when they met, Auburn was just No. 16 in the country for the Iron Bowl, and Florida was No. 15 heading into the SEC title game. 

The Crimson Tide cruised through the conference on a collision course with Clemson, but this time Watson outdueled Jalen Hurts and hung 21 fourth-quarter points on the No. 1 defense in the country to clinch the title. We all remember how it ended. 

Even in defeat, the 2016 team was one of Saban’s best and produced four first-round picks in the 2017 NFL draft, and four more in 2018.