After Alabama crushed LSU once again, everyone is wondering whether the Crimson Tide will once again win the national championship, and if there’s anyone in the College Football landscape capable of putting up a fight.
The last 12 seasons show something interesting: The national champion in all but one season has always been Alabama, or a team that beat Alabama en route to the title.
Alabama won six games that season, but had to vacate them due to athletes from several sports, including football, receiving improper benefits as a result of a failure in the distribution system of textbooks to student athletes from the university. The national champions that year, Florida, beat Alabama 28-13 in late September, en route to their first title under Urban Meyer.
Nick Saban’s first year in Tuscaloosa also included vacated wins. The team won 7 overall, including the Independence bowl. The national champions, LSU, won in Bryant-Denny on November 3 41-34, kicking off a four-game losing streak for the Tide, something that seems impossible now. So does an LSU win over Alabama.
Saban’s 2nd season was a lot more familiar to the Crimson Tide dominance today. They went 8-0 in the SEC but finished 12-2, losing to Florida, on their way to a 2nd title in 3 years, in the conference title game. They were also stunned by Utah in the Sugar Bowl.
Champions. The first title in the Saban era, going 14-0.
Alabama were the number one team in the nation through the first 5 weeks, but then came a loss to South Carolina in Columbia. The Crimson Tide finished the season 10-3, with one of their losses coming in one of the more memorable Iron Bowls (the Cam-Back), losing to Auburn 28-27. The Tigers went on to beat Oregon in the BCS title game.
A national championship year for Alabama, albeit controversial due to the all-SEC title game. Alabama lost during the regular season to LSU, but the voters+computers formula pu them above Oklahoma State and in the title game, in which they crushed LSU 21-0.
Another national title (#3 under Saban), going 13-1, beating Notre Dame in the BCS title game. Their one loss came against Texas A&M during the height of the Johnny Manziel craze.
Heading into the Iron Bowl, Alabama were undefeated, looking destined to play in another BCS title game. But then came the Kick Six game at Auburn, and they were out, followed by losing to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. Auburn went on to lose to Florida State in the last BCS title game, the only season since 2006 in which the champion wasn’t Alabama or a team that beat Alabama.
The first season with the College Football Playoff. Alabama lost in the regular season to Ole Miss but still won the SEC West and beat Missouri in the conference championship game. In the Sugar Bowl, acting as the semi final, the heavily favored Tide lost to Ohio State, the latter going on to beat Oregon and win the first CFP title.
Ole Miss beat Alabama in the regular season again, but once more it didn’t stop the Tide from winning the SEC (beating Florida in the SEC title game). In the College Football playoff, they shut out Michigan State followed by a terrific 45-40 win against Clemson to win national title #4 under Saban.
8-0 in the SEC, 14-0 up until the final. The championship game? Again, Alabama vs Clemson, only this time the Tigers from South Carolina won 35-31.
Another controversial Alabama championship due to their inclusion in the College Football Playoff without winning their conference, but Ohio State did it before them, and Alabama did go on to win the championship (despite losing in the Iron Bowl), crushing Clemson in the semi final and beating Georgia 26-23 in overtime in another all-SEC final. Saban title #5.