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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13. 2014 (12-2) Sugar Bowl loss

Remember when it seemed like Hugh Freeze had Saban’s number, well 2014 was a big reason why. Ole Miss, with Bo Wallace at quarterback, knocked off Bama early in the season, but the rest of the country also suffered losses and the Crimson Tide climbed back to No. 1 for the inaugural College Football Playoff. 

That year, Alabama was fourth in run defense, but in the CFP semifinal, the Crimson Tide drew Ezekiel Elliot and Ohio State. With third-stringer Cardale Jones at quarterback, the Buckeyes put up 42 points behind Elliot's 230 yards, and two touchdowns on just 20 carries. 

A performance like that against Bama’s defense is uncommon, but then again, Elliot was an uncommon player. Still, that disappointing performance in the playoff lands the 2014 team at No. 13 on this list.