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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2. 2009 (14-0) BCS National Championship

In just his third season at Alabama, Saban already climbed back to the pinnacle of the sport. At the beginning of his run, Saban built his teams around defense and the running game, and the 2009 backfield was loaded. 

Mark Ingram ran for 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns on his way to the Heisman Trophy while Trent Richardson added 751 yards and eight more scores. Greg McElroy was the perfect game manager for the offense, but the dominant defense is what made the team special. 

The 2009 defense allowed 11.7 points per game and just 244.1 yards of total offense which was second best only to TCU. Rolando McClain led the unit in tackles while future first-round pick Marcell Dareus had 6.5 sacks from the interior of the defensive line. The defense averaged 2.2 turnovers a game and Mark Barron led the way with seven interceptions. 

The seeds are a championship team were planted in 2008, and the 2009 team immediately bore fruit for Nick Saban, his second national title and first at Alabama.