What's at stake for Alabama?
December, 25, 2012
By ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesA repeat of this scene would be statistically noteworthy in many ways.
You may have read Ivan Maisel’s piece about Alabama’s dynasty-in-the-making status with a win in this year’s BCS Title Game.
What’s the list of things that are statistically at stake for them in this matchup with Notre Dame?
Let’s run through all the ones we could find.
• As was cited, Alabama is trying to win its third title in four years, done previously only by Notre Dame (1946, 1947, and 1949) and Nebraska (1994, 1995, 1997) in the poll era (since 1936).
Alabama has won nine national titles in that span (AP and/or coaches’ poll), the most of any team. Notre Dame is only one behind them with eight.
• Nick Saban can join Bear Bryant, Frank Leahy and John McKay, as the only coaches with four national championships in major college football. With a win, Saban would have four in an eight-year span of coaching college teams (putting aside his two years with the Miami Dolphins). Leahy is the only coach to have won four in eight years.
• The Crimson Tide can secure the SEC’s seventh consecutive national title and give the conference nine of the 15 BCS championships.
The only other times a conference has won three straight titles were when the Big Ten won three straight from 1940 to 1942 and the SEC won three in a row from 1978 to 1980.
Notre Dame may be better suited than anyone else to end this historic streak by the SEC.
The Irish have ended three NCAA-record winning streaks during their athletics history, not to mention a 25-game winning streak by Florida State baseball in 2002 and a 112-game winning streak in home conference games by UConn women’s basketball in 2005.
• The Crimson Tide are trying to become the first program to win back-to-back BCS championships. Three previous reigning champs (Florida State, Miami, USC) have returned to the title game, but all three lost in their quest to repeat.
• Alabama is looking to become just the third program to win back-to-back consensus national championships since 1950 (the first year UPI voted on a champion) joining 1955-56 Oklahoma and 1994-95 Nebraska. Alabama has previously won consecutive AP titles, but never two straight consensus national titles.
• The last time an SEC team lost a national championship game to a team from outside the conference was when Nebraska beat Florida in the Fiesta Bowl to end the 1995 season (’96 Fiesta Bowl).
Since that time, the SEC has won eight straight bowl games against “outsiders” with a national championship on the line (thus, not counting Alabama’s win over LSU last year).
• Alabama is 4-1 in bowl games under Nick Saban (2-0 in BCS title games) and has 33 bowl wins all-time –- the most in college football history.
The Tide have won five straight bowls when ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the polls. Their last two bowl losses with a national championship on the line both came against Notre Dame (after the 1973 and 1974 seasons).
• Alabama is one win away from keeping a streak alive for the state of Alabama.
If the Tide can win the BCS title, it will be the fourth straight for the state. Alabama won in 2009 and 2011. Auburn won in 2010.
In the four major sports plus college football and men's college basketball, only twice has a state/province won four consecutive championships with multiple teams. From 1949-56, New York won eight straight World Series titles with the Yankees, Giants and Dodgers.
And from 1987-90, the province of Alberta won four straight Stanley Cups with Edmonton and Calgary (since 1927 when the NHL assumed control of the Stanley Cup).