Ten-Win Seasons Happen At Alabama

Terry Saban wore a houndstooth dress to Saturday night's Alabama-LSU football game, bringing back memories of the past. (Alabama rivals think that's where all Crimson Tide partisans live, ignoring continued Bama success.)

Alabama has one of the great traditions in college football, one it wouldn't swap for that of any other school. That is no disrespect to the handful of other true tradition-rich colleges. (By the way, there aren't very many insofar as true national teams. There are no others in the South, for instance.)

As the number one ranked Crimson Tide of Coach Nick Saban draws closer to expanding the Bama tradition, there are thoughts of those who said it couldn't be done. No one is going to want to coach at Alabama, said the Tide-haters (including some newspaper columnists in this state who are now sucking up to Saban).

As Mrs. Saban walked past, it was refreshing to reflect that once again Alabama has a coach who isn't concerned with being measured against Coach Paul Bryant. After Alabama had defeated LSU, 27-21, to run the Crimson Tide record to 10-0, it triggered other thoughts. In 2008

For one, it this is Alabama's 29th 10-win season. For many years, Alabama was the NCAA leader in 10-win seasons. Oklahoma has moved ahead of Bama in recent years, headed for its 31st season of 10 victories this year.

Ten wins is an achievement in college football. There are many schools where the fans can easily count on one hand the number of 10-win seasons in their history; others who have had only a few coaches, perhaps only one coach, deliver 10 victories. Part of it goes to shorter seasons. Prior to 1970, college football teams had 10 or even nine-game regular season schedules. Now there can be 12 regular season games, a conference championship game, and a bowl game, so getting to the 10-win mark is a little less daunting.

In his 25 years as head coach at Alabama, Bryant had 11 seasons in which the Tide had at least 10 victories, four of those in seasons where the regular season was only 10 games.

It is a remarkable testament to Alabama football to consider the achievements of the seven men who have been Alabama coaches in the 26 seasons (including this one) following Bryant.

All seven have had at least one 10-win season.

Ray Perkins did it in 1986; Bill Curry in 1989; Gene Stallings in 1991, 1992, 1994, and 1996; Mike DuBose in 1999; Dennis Franchione in 2002; Mike Shula in 2005; and Nick Saban in 2008.

Additionally, four Alabama coaches achieved 10-win seasons before Bryant—Xen Scott, Bryant's fellow Hall of Fame coaches Wallace Wade and Frank Thomas, and Harold "Red" Drew. That makes a dozen Crimson Tide football coaches who have coached teams to 10 or more victories in a season.

Stallings said, "Alabama fans worship Coach Bryant and tolerate the rest of it." It's a lot more than toleration, particularly for Stallings, and including this year and this coach.

BamaMag Top Stories