Along with his LSU National Championship, Nick Saban has now won five national titles at Alabama. Which ones had the best seasons based on schedules and performances?
Daily Five: Ranking Nick Saban’s 5 Bama National Titles
5. 2011 (12-1)
There were two sides to the 2011 team. It was Nick Saban’s most dominant defensive team – allowing just 106 points, with only Georgia Southern coming up with more than 14. But the schedule wasn’t great, and there wasn’t and SEC Championship win to be a part of the mix.
Beating LSU In a revenge game in the BCS Championship was amazing – the Tide lost 9-6 earlier in the year – and dropping a great Arkansas team 38-14 was fantastic, but there was a problem – the rest of the schedule was just okay.
Unlike the College Football Playoff champs on the list, this one one just 12 with a mere six victories over teams that finished with a winning record.
4. 2017 (13-1)
The Crimson Tide didn’t win the division or conference, and they might have struggled in wins over mediocre Mississippi State and Texas A&M teams, but the College Football Playoff run changed the final narrative.
Beating the No. 1-seeded Clemson team 24-6 was breathtaking, and taking down SEC champ Georgia for the national title was impressive for so many reasons. However, there wasn’t much sizzle to the team – the great wins weren’t there until the end.
3. 2012 (13-1)
The 29-24 loss to Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M might have been the season’s most interesting moment, and there weren’t the great schedule wins like there were in 2009 and 2015, but it was a strong year highlighted by the epic 32-28 win over Georgia for the SEC Championship. Throttling unbeaten Notre Dame 42-14 in the BCS Championship changed the narrative – it was a strong team, but it had its struggles.
Saban’s first national title in Tuscaloosa was also his only perfect season. The Tide beat ten teams that finished with winning records and had only two close calls – surviving Auburn by five, and Tennessee in a 12-10 fight.
Getting through Tim Tebow and Florida in a 32-13 SEC Championship win was the true kickoff to the run of Alabama dominance, and trouncing Texas in the BCS Championship sealed it.
This turned out to be Saban’s best season thanks to a special collection of amazing wins.
Of the 14 wins, 12 of them came against teams that finished with a winning record, including impressive victories over Wisconsin and Georgia. A 43-37 loss to Ole Miss early on in the season was blown off the rest of the way in dominant win after dominant win.
The Tide outscored teams by almost 300 points, rolled by Florida in the SEC Championship, destroyed Michigan State 38-0 in the Cotton Bowl, and survived a thriller over Clemson for the national title.