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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4. 2017 (13-1) CFP National Championship

The 2017 Alabama Crimson Tide may have been Saban’s most balanced team. While the 2009 and 2011 teams dominated with defense and the 2020 had an overpowering offense, the 2017 team had it all, except a quarterback. Well, until the second half of the national championship game. 

In 2017, Bama was first in opponent points per game with Minkah Fitzpatrick, Raekwon Davis, Rashaan Evans, Ronnie Harrison & co. allowing just 11.9 points per game and just 4.0 yards per play. 

On offense, Jalen Hurts started every game including the loss to Iron Bowl loss to Auburn that kept the Tide out of the SEC Championship. Hurts’ unit averaged 250.6 rushing yards per game, but just 193.4 yards through the air which ranked 91st.

Then, Tua Tagovailoa took over in the national title game to unlock the loaded receiving corps that featured Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, and a true freshman DeVonta Smith.