Most historians consider dynasties to be the framework for the historical background of a given country or region. For example, much of European history was dominated by certain ruling dynasties like the Habsburgs and Romanovs. Dynasties have been considered to be the focal point of history in empires like China, Egypt, and Persia.
When it comes to the history of sports, the framework we use is no different. Sports dynasties are historically remembered for a team's profound dominance over a certain era or period. For example, the UCLA Men's basketball dynasty conquered over college basketball from 1964 to 1975 and the San Francisco 49'ers dynasty ruled the NFL in the 1980's.
Historically, the term dynasty is used to describe the era in which a family reigned. For example, England's House of Tudor was the ruling dynasty from 1465 to 1603. Similarly, the term dynasty when applied to sports describes a teams' reign or rule but, the characterization of a sports dynasty is up for debate.
Is it multiple championships or just dominance over many years? Many of the teams that are considered to be dynasties usually have a combination of the two. But, there are some dynasties like the Buffalo Bills of the 1990's that have had prolonged success over many years without winning a championship.
In my opinion, a historical winning streak is the most integral part of a sports dynasty.
Through Alabama's storied football history they have had two 28 game winning streaks. One was led by Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1978 to 1980. The other was led by Coach Gene Stallings from 1991 to 1993.
After going 14-0 last season, Nick Saban has the opportunity to match Bryant and Stallings' 28 game winning streaks with 14 possible wins this season.
Saban's 28 game winning streak would be the greatest of the trio because, it would include not just one, but two BCS national championships.
Some say that the Tim Tebow-led Florida Gators of the late 2000's were dominant enough to be called a dynasty. They won two national championships in three years, won a heisman trophy, and won many games. If they really were a dynasty, their reign was certainly ended by Nick Saban's Crimson Tide in the 2009 SEC Championship.
Was Alabama's win over Florida the changing of the dynastic guard?
It is certainly too early to tell.
But, Alabama and it's budding winning streak, are on the fast track to the throne with a national championship and Heisman trophy already in the bag.
Whatever your definition of a sports dynasty may be, there is no denying that Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide have a great shot to become the next ruling dynasty in college football.