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Nick Saban, the gift that keeps on giving for Crimson Tide football fans (via Crimson Magazine)

23 Dec 2016 Stan J. Griffin

By Stan J. Griffin: December 23, 2016

Do you ever wonder if University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban has any legitimate Christmas wishes?
I mean, really, what do you get the man who seems to have it all?
Besides having a wonderful family, financial security for many lifetimes and seemingly tireless energy and great health, he runs one of the most powerful athletic juggernauts that sports fans and journalists have ever been witness to with his University of Alabama football "organization."
It certainly is the gift that seems to keep on giving for Crimson Tide supporters everywhere, and Saban and his Alabama football machine do not appear to be showing any signs of slowing down in the near future.
And obviously that fact does nothing but translate into holiday gloom and doom for those who do not bleed crimson and white.
Although the 65-year-old Saban is in the 10th year of his patented "process" in Tuscaloosa, with his 2016 Crimson Tide football team on the verge of collecting the UA program's 17th national title, its second in a row and fifth such championship in eight years, what he has accomplished in his decade with the Crimson Tide never fails to be less than astounding, or even dumbfounding at times.
The players and coaches may change, as well as offensive philosophies, media scrutiny and exposure and a host of other outside noise items that Saban routinely classifies as “clutter,” but Alabama continues to not only be the gold standard for the sport of college football, but Saban has already established one of the great dynasties in the history of sports in general.
The following are just some of the remarkable accomplishments that immediately come to mind that not only continue to seal Saban’s legacy as perhaps the greatest college coach ever, but also continues to stamp Alabama’s place as perhaps the greatest college football program ever.
As if the legacy left by coaches such as Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas and the iconic Paul W. “Bear” Bryant had not achieved that feat already.
* Alabama is currently on a 25-game winning streak dating back to the 2015 season, which is the longest such streak under Saban, and the third-longest streak in Alabama and SEC history. Of course those streaks belong to the Tide as well at 28 games on two different occasions and most recently under former Tide coach Gene Stallings.

* With its 13 wins thus far this season, Alabama has won 13 or more games five different times, the most by any school in college football history. Saban’s Alabama teams have won 13 or more games on four occasions. This includes two 14-win seasons in 2009 and 2015.
* Since the ninth game of the 2008 season (Saban’s second season in Tuscaloosa), which covers 114 games, the Crimson Tide has played 48 games ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation, and has won 43 of those contests.
* Saban has won his last nine championship contests with UA, with wins over Florida (2009, 2015, 2016), Georgia (2012) and Missouri (2014) in the SEC Championship Game and victories over Texas (2009), LSU (2011), Notre Dame (2012) and Clemson (2015) in national title contests.
* When the Crimson Tide clashes with Chris Petersen’s No. 4 Washington Huskies in the Dec. 31 Chick Fil A Peach Bowl, which is a College Football Playoff semifinal game, it will be Saban’s 49th career game coaching UA as the No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll, the most games coached as No. 1 at one school. With a 43-5 record, Saban has won more games coaching a No. 1 team at one school than any other coach in college football history. Woody Hayes of Ohio State and Bobby Bowden of Florida State are tied for second with 40 victories each.
* Since the 2008 season, the Crimson Tide under Saban has only played in three regular-season games that did not carry national championship implications.
* Since the start of the 2008 season, Alabama is 47-12 against Top 25 teams in the AP Poll, including an astonishing 24-6 mark against Top 10 teams in that same poll.
* Since the 2008 season, Alabama has won 111 games, the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Boise State is a distant second with 100 wins during that same time span.
* The Crimson Tide has had more NFL draft picks over the last six drafts (44) than any other college in the nation, and many of those players, including Mark Barron, Dont'a Hightower, Landon Collins, Julio Jones and C.J. Mosley, are considered to be among the best at their respective positions in the league.
Of course there are plenty of other staggering items when you throw in the actual number of national titles and SEC crowns won under Saban, the impressive win streaks and records against numerous opponents, big road wins over ranked opponents, his 113-18 overall record in Tuscaloosa and the number of head coaches and pro players he has produced.
Naysayers and people who generally do not care for Saban or Alabama will scoff at all the numbers and say that the Tide should win big every season with all of the talent on its roster, but who is the person who primarily brought all of those four and five-start prep standouts to Tuscaloosa?
Six straight recruiting titles is just another feather in Saban’s hat.
Whether it be on-the-field success, domination in recruiting, strong academic performance and graduation rates relative to his UA teams, enrollment at UA overall, the Tuscaloosa economy and the tremendous level of charitable work done by he and his wife Terry, Saban continues to have a dramatic impact in so many facets, an impact that can be felt all over the state and on a national scale as well.
And you wonder why it appears to be yet another splendid holiday season for Crimson Tide football fans everywhere.
It is definitely not visions of sugar plums that are dancing in their heads. It is instead visions of a 17th national title, and a repeat title at that, for their beloved football program, a title that could just be just over two weeks away. And should that anticipated and historic 15-0 season come to fruition, a seventh-consecutive recruiting title will likely be locked up by Saban and his coaching staff shortly afterward in February, 2017.
As the Crimson Tide machine continues to simply roll on and on.
Fans should not take these halcyon days of Alabama Crimson Tide football for granted, and they should revel in them while they can.
After Saban finally does call it a career, we will not see a dynasty such as this, covering so many different and amazing facets, in major college football ever again.

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