Alabama Football: The 10 Most Memorable Crimson Tide Games Under Nick Saban
Nick Saban arrived at the Capstone under similar circumstances to Gene Stallings.
The Crimson Tide was stuck in a quagmire of mediocrity at best, and Alabama had not won a national title in over a decade.
As another coach who COULD turn things around, Tide fans were hopeful. He, after all, had just taken LSU to the top of college football in 2003. Why not the Tide?
As it turns out, Alabama had landed the only coach in the history of college football who could possibly match the love/hate status of Bear Bryant.
If you're a Bammer, you love him. If you're not, you should be afraid...very afraid of ever taking the field against this man and his staff of "ring wraiths."
For now, the list contains losses as well as wins. In the future, that may not be the case.
*Scores from ESPN.com
10: LSU; November 5, 2011
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
This game comes in at No. 10 because it's already fading due to the results in the BCS title game.
Tide fans know this game all too well, and it will take a while to truly forget it. It goes hand-in-hand with the 2011 national championship.
The heartbreaking 9-6 OT loss to the Tigers will sting for a while, but the sting is numbed nicely by national championship No. 14.
9: Louisiana-Monroe; November 17, 2007
The home loss to the University of Louisiana-Monroe will (hopefully) go down in history as Saban's worst career loss at Alabama.
The 21-14 defeat was in his first season at the Capstone, and that season will be the worst in Saban's tenure if he continues his recent success at the Capstone.
8: Utah; January 2, 2009
Nick Saban's pregame conference speech was absolutely on point. Alabama was "poised" to play the Utah Utes in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.
I say "poised," because the Tide displayed everything BUT poise on the field. Utah came to show that they could have an undefeated season at the expense of the Tide.
Four quarters later, the Utes had a 14-point victory over the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide. Utah showed up to play, and Alabama showed up for the trophy.
The Tide seemingly forgot about the 60 minutes between kickoff and trophy presentation.
7: Auburn; November 26, 2010
Will not be offended if you do not watch recap.
6: Capital One Bowl; January 1, 2011
Heads-up: a little bit loud.
The opportunity to beat up on Michigan State is sweet for Alabama fans who are old enough to remember 1966. (Or had parents who told them the story.)
It's not quite as sweet as beating Notre Dame, of course, but it's a solid end to a season that saw three losses.
Alabama 49, Michigan State 7
5: Georgia; September 27, 2008
Georgia planned a "blackout" game against Alabama in 2008, and it was certainly fitting.
Scott Cochran (Tide strength and conditioning coach) had made a comment (warning: contains an expletive) that foretold the outcome quite fittingly.
This victory over the third-ranked (at the time) Georgia Bulldogs meant hope for the future of Crimson Tide fans...the NEAR future.
4: Tennessee; October 24, 2009
This game etched the name of Terrence "Mount" Cody into Alabama lore forever.
The undefeated Tide hosted the unranked Volunteers in what was expected to be an easy win.
It turned out to be anything but easy. The Vols missed two field goals, and Cody blocked two more to save a two-point victory en route to an undefeated national championship.
It wasn't the prettiest win in Saban's history but definitely one of the most adrenaline-filled.
3: SEC Championship vs. Florida; December 5, 2009
The 2009 SEC Championship Game featured the No. 1 Gators vs. the No. 2 Crimson Tide.
'Bama fans could turn the TV on and hear coaches saying things like, "without Tebow, Florida loses." (via ESPN.com)
After weeks of buildup, the Tide was ready to make a huge statement that would be punctuated by the Texas Longhorns a little more than a month after this game.
The 32-13 romp of the Gators in Atlanta is one of the sweetest victories in Tide history, and definitely in the top three for the Saban era.
2: BCS National Championship vs. LSU; January 9, 2012
The fact that Alabama won this game wasn't exactly unexpected.
What happened on the field, however, was astonishing. The 21-0 rout of the LSU Tigers was the first shutout in BCS title game history.
There is no perfect game in football, but this was about as close as possible. The Tide logged *one penalty and only allowed LSU to cross the 50 yardline *once. (LSU was pushed back to the 50 on the next three plays.)
*Information from memory, confirmed via ESPN.com
1: BCS National Championship vs. Texas; January 7, 2010
Texas came into this match leading the all-time series 7-0-1. Alabama had never beaten the Longhorns.
Not only was it the first-ever victory over the Longhorns, but it was the first national championship since 1992.
Saban's win over the Longhorns gave hope to long-time Alabama fans. Not only had he broken the slump, he had beaten a team that no Tide coach before him could.
If you scripted a return to glory for a powerhouse program, you couldn't do any better than the 2009 Crimson Tide season.