Stuart McNair

Nick Saban becomes fourth Alabama coach to have 20-game winning streak

The Nick Saban record at Alabama ranks among best ever in college football

Four former Alabama football coaches are in the College Football Hall of Fame for their coaching success and three of them have had Crimson Tide winning streaks of 20 or more games. Bama Coach Nick Saban, who will join those in the Hall of Fame as soon as he’s eligible, has joined his predecessors in that company of having coached 20 consecutive wins.

Saban’s Alabama team reached the 20-in-a-row club with the Crimson Tide’s 33-14 win over sixth-ranked and previously undefeated Texas A&M in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. Alabama won 12 in a row (including the 2015 national championship game over Clemson) to finish last season, and is ranked number one in the nation with its eight consecutive wins to start the 2016 campaign.

Wallace Wade was the first Alabama coach to have 20 consecutive wins, 1924-26. Paul Bryant set the record with 28 consecutive wins (1978-80), a mark that was equaled by Bama teams under Gene Stallings (1991-93).

Alabama has the longest winning streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

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Saban just missed reaching the 20-win streak mark earlier, having 19 wins in a row from the 2009 undefeated (14-0) national championship season through the first five games of 2010.

During the current stretch the Crimson Tide has won nine games at Bryant-Denny Stadium, seven road games, and four neutral-site games while going 13-0 against teams from the Southeastern Conference. During the streak, Alabama has outscored its opponents by 462 points (738-276; 36.9-13.8), an average of 23.1 points per game.

Saban’s Tide teams have a 32-6 (.828) record when playing SEC home games. Saban has posted four perfect home SEC slates and has not lost more than one home conference game in any season other than 2007 (two losses). All six of his losses at home have been by seven points or less with half of those by three or fewer. Under Saban, Alabama has outscored its SEC home opponents 1,230-553 (32.4-14.6 points per game) and has limited the opposition to 14 points or less on 23 occasions, including six shutout victories.

Alabama’s Bryant-Denny record under Saban in all games is 60-7 (.896).

Overall vs. SEC teams, Alabama under Saban has a 70-13 (.844) record and has outscored opponents by 3,309-1,297, or 39.9-15.6 points per game. Of his 13 losses against SEC opponents while at Alabama, all but two (Florida, 2008 and South Carolina, 2010) have been by seven points or less. 

Saban’s 68 career wins vs. Associated Press Top 25 teams is third all-time. Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno leads with 86, four victories ahead of Florida State’s Bobby Bowden (82). Paul Bryant is fourth at 66. Recently retired Duke, Florida, and South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier is fifth at 64. Saban’s winning percentage against AP ranked teams (68-37, .648) tops Bryant (.592), Bowden (.557), Spurrier (.529), and Paterno (.512).

Saban now has 99 coaching wins in SEC regular season games, which ties him for sixth in SEC history with former Auburn Coach Ralph Jordan and former Tennessee Coach Phil Fulmer. Each coach on the list of top SEC winners ahead of Saban is in the College Football Hall of Fame except for recently retired Spurrier. Bryant leads the list with 159 SEC wins with Spurrier second at 131, followed by John Vaught of Ole Miss (106) and Vince Dooley of Georgia (105).

Saban ranks first in league history in SEC regular season winning percentage at .792 (99-26). He is second in league history in winning percentage in all games at .821 (156-34). Saban is eighth on the SEC career wins list at 156. Tennessee’s Robert Neyland is seventh at 173.

Now in his 10th year as coach of the Crimson Tide, Saban’s on-the-field record is 113-18 (.863), with a third of those losses coming in his first season (2007) at Bama.

Unquestionably, it ranks among the most impressive coaching jobs in college football history.

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