Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Has the Crimson Tide truly been dethroned?

CW Archive
The Alabama football team celebrates their win over Georgia at the SEC Championship game on Dec. 4, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.

The Alabama Crimson Tide is no stranger to success, boasting arguably the two most successful college football coaches in the sport’s history. The late Alabama football head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant won 323 regular-season games, 24 straight bowl games and six national championships with the Crimson Tide. Bear Bryant seemed larger than life, and in 1982, he bid farewell to the game that he loved.  

 The Crimson Tide found its next dynastic head coach in 2007, when athletic director Mal Moore hired coach Nick Saban away from the Miami Dolphins. While it was not Saban’s first stint at the collegiate level — he won a national championship as LSU’s head coach during the 2003-04 season — it would end up being his most successful.  

 During his time as the Crimson Tide’s head coach, Saban has produced 44 first-round picks, 122 draft picks, 183 wins, eight SEC championships and six national championships. He’s not planning on slowing down anytime soon, as he is searching for more rings to add to his collection.  

 Despite the success on the field, and the 10 No. 1 recruiting classes Saban has signed during his time at Alabama, the Crimson Tide has not won the national championship in the past two seasons, losing to Georgia in 2021 and missing the playoffs entirely in 2022. 

 The lack of recent national titles begs the question: Has Saban lost his edge? Are Alabama’s glory days in the rearview mirror? 

 Absolutely not.  

 While many people are quick to pounce on the death of Alabama, Saban has quietly put together a top-five recruiting class, headlined by cornerback Jaylen Mbakwe and quarterback Julian Sayin. Saban has had several recruiting classes named as the best of their cycles, and even a handful named the best of all time.

“Focusing on the state of Georgia in the most recent recruiting class, Alabama not only was able to pick their top targets from the state, but they did so with Georgia winning back-to-back national titles,” recent Alabama graduate Will Davis said. “Alabama signed the top safety [Caleb Downs] and the No. 3 running back [Justice Haynes.]”  

UA’s 2023 class also included the No. 1 recruit from the state of Florida (defensive end Keon Keeley, who decommitted from Notre Dame).  

Additionally, the notion that Alabama is in the midst of a title “drought” is factually incorrect. Alabama won the SEC championship against the Georgia Bulldogs in 2021 and faced the Bulldogs in a rematch for the national championship a month later.  

In Alabama’s two losses during the 2022 season, at Tennessee and at LSU, the Crimson Tide had 17 penalties for 130 penalty yards and nine penalties for 92 penalty yards, respectively.  

Penalties have become a large part of the Crimson Tide’s game, and Saban often views them as “drive killers.”  

“Eliminating penalties has been something for our entire team,” Saban said. “We’ve tried to do things in practice to play with more discipline, watch the ball, not jump offsides … and I think we’ve made some progress in those areas.”  

The Crimson Tide will have a new signal caller under center in 2023, which typically bodes well for the team. Under Saban, Alabama has won the SEC seven times, made the playoffs or played for a national championship seven times, and won three championships. Signs may point to the end of a glorious period for Alabama football, Saban and the rest of the Crimson Tide have other ideas in store in 2023.  

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