MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The term dynasty gets thrown around in sports a lot, but for the Alabama Crimson Tide, a victory in Monday’s Bowl Championship Series national championship game would cement the team’s legacy in history.
Alabama’s going for its third national championship in four years and trying to become the first team in the BCS-era to win back-to-back national championships. The last back-to-back national champion was the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 1994-1995 seasons.
Nebraska also captured three championships in four years, but one was split with the Michigan Wolverines.
But in the BCS-era, with scholarships limited and increasing parity across the board in college football, what Alabama is trying to pull off would put the program on an even higher level than it already occupies in college football history.
An Alabama victory would give the Tide its 15th National Championship and give head coach Nick Saban his fourth overall national championship, all during the BCS-era. Ever since Saban took over and got his recruits into the program, Alabama has almost been unstoppable.
“To be honest, I think this team has kind of exceeded expectations,” Saban said Sunday. “If you look at all the players we lost last year, the leadership that we lost … I’m really proud of what this team was able to accomplish.”
Saban’s fourth national championship would put him on the same level with the greatest coaches ever in college football, names like Rockne, Bryant, and Bowden. While that might be tough for some hard-core Miami Dolphins fans to stomach, it’s hard to argue with Saban’s record.
Since taking over at Alabama, Saban has compiled a 62-13 record which is an 83 percent winning percentage at Alabama. Throughout his entire college coaching career, Saban has piled up a 75 percent winning percentage, which in the modern era is almost untouchable.
The Tide, overcoming the losses of key seniors, compiled four shutouts in 2012 powered by a defense that ranked number two in the country in scoring defense, just behind BCS Championship game opponent, Notre Dame.
For Alabama fans, despite the loss against Texas A&M, the best illustration about where the program is versus that of its rivals came in the final regular season game of the season against arch-rival Auburn University.
The Tigers were just two years removed from winning the national championship under head coach Gene Chizik. But, when Auburn and Alabama tangled in late November, Alabama demolished the Tigers 49-0. The loss was the final one for Auburn this year and Chizik was also fired this season.
Alabama had undergone tough times before Saban arrived, but as then-Tennessee coach Derek Dooley joked about Saban’s unprecedented recruiting prowess since taking over the Tide: “He doesn’t recruit, he drafts.”
The Tide come into the BCS Championship Game as a 9.5 point favorite, but the game will likely be much closer than that if Notre Dame can establish its running game early. Alabama will be looking for its 15th National Championship, while Notre Dame will be looking for its 12th.
The time for talking between fans of both teams ends and the quest for one team to make history starts Monday night at 8:30 p.m. when the ball is kicked off in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game at Sun Life Stadium.