Stuart McNair

Alabama under Nick Saban is 40-5 when Tide is ranked No. 1

Alabama’s Saban in impressive company as coach of top-ranked team

Wise counsel is to not count chickens until the eggs have hatched. Last weekend was a perfect example of that as there were monumental college football upsets – Pitt over No. 2 Clemson, Iowa over No. 3 Michigan, Southern Cal over No. 4 Washington, and Georgia over No. 8 Auburn, among others.

With that in mind, if No. 1 Alabama can get by Tennessee-Chattanooga in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night (6 p.m. CST), Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban will reach an impressive milestone.

Alabama’s 51-3 win over Mississippi State Saturday was the 45th game in which the Crimson Tide has held the No. 1 ranking while being coached by Saban. That ties him with Bobby Bowden for the second most at one school and leaves him one behind Woody Hayes.

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Saban is 40-5 (88.9 per cent winning percentage) while coaching No. 1 Bama in his career at Bama, tying Bowden and Hayes for the most wins coaching the nation’s top-ranked team. Bowden was 40-5 at Florida State as No. 1 and Hayes was 40-56 at Ohio State.

Bowden took 34 seasons at FSU to achieve his mark, Hayes 28 at Ohio State.

Saban is in his 10th year at Alabama.

The Crimson Tide has been ranked No. 1 in 33 per cent of its 132 games coached by Saban.

By comparison, Florida State was No. 1 in 10.8 percent of the 417 games Bowden coached and Ohio State was No. 1 in 16.7 percent of the 276 games coached by Hayes.

The Tide’s next two games will both be in Bryant-Denny Stadium, where Bama is 61-7 (89.7 per cent) under Saban.

In SEC games in Tuscaloosa, Alabama under Saban is 33-6 (84.6 per cent). All six of the losses have been by seven points or fewer, with half of those by three or fewer.

Under Saban, Alabama has outscored its SEC home opponents 1,281-556 (32.8-14.2 points per game) and has limited the opposition to 14 points or less on 24 occasions, including six shutout victories

Saban-coached Alabama teams have a record of 72-13 (84.7) in all SEC games, home and away. In those games the Tide has outscored conference opponents by 3,370 points to 1,300, which averages out to an a score of 39.6 to 15.3. Of the 13 losses to league teams, all but two (Florida, 2008 and South Carolina, 2010) have been by seven points or less.

Alabama’s win over Mississippi State Saturday, along with Auburn’s loss at Georgia, clinched the Southeastern Conference Western Division title for Bama.

 Mississippi State was not ranked, making the Bulldogs the 64th consecutive unranked team to fall to Alabama under Saban. The Tide is 68-3 in games against unranked opponents since Saban arrived in 2007, and Bama has not lost a game to an unranked opponent since the end of that first year under Saban.

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