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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12. 2008 (12-2) Sugar Bowl loss

In 2008, the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled through the regular season a perfect 12-0, the first perfect SEC record since 1994 under Gene Stallings. Saban had rejuvenated the program in just his second year, but the team ran out of gas down the stretch. 

Alabama was the No. 1 team in the country heading into the SEC championship game against No. 2 Florida, but the Tide fell 31-20 at the hands of Tim Tebow. Then, Saban drew Utah in the Sugar Bowl, and defense wasn’t the same and gave up 31 points again in a 31-17 loss. 

It was clear that Saban had built a contender, but he had to put the finishing touches on it, which he did in 2009 with an undefeated championship run.