That is right, I said it: dynasty.
Merriam-Webster's online dictionary's definition of dynasty is as follows:
1. A succession of rulers of the same line of descent
2. A powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time
A few years ago—2008 to be exact—I made a feeble attempt at labeling Florida's football team a dynasty. I didn't exactly say the Gators were a dynasty, but merely pointed out that they were on the way to being a dynasty if certain things continued.
I believed they had the key elements in place to make this college anomaly occur: They had national championships from 2006 and 2008. They went into 2009 with Tim Tebow, Charlie Strong, excellent recruits and Urban Meyer.
Well, as we all know, that prediction was coming to fruition until the SEC championship game of 2009.
And then the house of cards came tumbling down.
Tebow was manhandled. Charlie's defense was overpowered and Urban Meyer was out-coached. Heart problems caused Urban to retire, unretire and then retire finally at the end of a disappointing 2010.
The rise of the Florida program during that period was twofold.
One, a coach brought in a new system that hadn't been seen before in SEC. And two, Tebow was an animal that was hard to tame. After Tebow, Urban was left with nothing. His system was figured out. His star player was gone. His great coordinators had no more in place with him. The SEC was not where he wanted to be.
How many more years will Saban stay?
I bring up the Gators to make some points about why I consider Alabama to be a current dynasty. Since Saban's arrival, the Tide has won more games than any other team in the SEC. Even though Bama has sported superstar powers such as Mark Ingram, Julio Jones and Trent Richardson, the Tide has never had to rely on just one superstar to win every game.
Coordinators have come and gone, but the process remains the same.
He doesn't base his system off of trick plays or major misdirection: His is a straight-forward, in-your-face football philosophy. This type of system is built on power and mental toughness. He puts the pieces of the puzzle in their positions, and doesn't fit the puzzle around the piece.
Nick Saban is a fanatical recruiter, but even more so a developer of talent. He has been both a positions coach and also a coordinator. He is a playcaller and not just a CEO.
Jim McElwain has left the building, and I am sad to see him go.
Not because I am fearful of losing a great coordinator, but because he was a good quarterbacks coach. I wish he could stick around to be a part of this dynasty. Even though Jim was a great playcaller, he was not the only one.
Case in point is the latest ESPN documentary Roll Tide/War Eagle.
In that documentary, the 2009 Iron Bowl is mentioned. And, if you will recall Greg McElroy recreates the final drive. Timeout was called right when Alabama was in chip-shot field-goal range for the win. Coach Saban came out and said to Greg something about doing a new play.
The rest is history.
As an Alabama fan, you have to be at a point where you just don't care who the offensive coordinator is, because Saban will be calling the important plays. He will be involved with the offensive game plan transcript and understands it. He is a hands-on coach who will not hesitate to pull the trigger if a coordinator is doing poorly. He won't wait three years.
Remember Major Applewhite?
As much as every other SEC fan wants Saban gone—to Texas, the Pros or whatever head coaching job is available—he is not leaving.
Don't get me wrong. He will leave. Maybe not as soon as the opposing fans want, but he will retire from Alabama at some point.
So, reflect back on the last five years with Saban and think about the next few years.
Remember the second definition of dynasty, and then think about the first definition when Saban leaves.