The best ever?

Now that the Crimson Tide coach has won his fifth national championship, should he be considered the best college football coach of all time?

Catching up to the Bear

  • Nick Saban
    • 2015
    • 2012
    • 2011
    • 2009
    • 2003
  • Bear Bryant
    • 1979
    • 1978
    • 1973
    • 1965
    • 1964
    • 1961

Alabama's win over Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T gave Nick Saban his fifth national title in 20 years as a head coach.

Saban now has four national titles at Alabama and is closing in on legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's record six national championships.

Bryant will always live in college football lore -- especially in Tuscaloosa -- but when you consider the era in which Saban has had success, should he be considered college football's greatest coach ... ever?

Saban's run of dominance

  • 2015
    14-1 (8-1 SEC)
  • 2012
    13-1 (8-1 SEC)
  • 2011
    12-1 (7-1 SEC)
  • 2009
    14-0 (8-0 SEC)
  • 2003
    13-1 (8-1 SEC)

When pursuing a Bear, one must proceed with caution -- unless you're Nick Saban. He won his first national championship in 2003 in his fourth year at LSU. The SEC has only become more grueling since then, and it took Saban just three years to win a title at Alabama, where he has won three since.

Best coach in best conference

2006 Florida
2007 LSU
2008 Florida
2009 Alabama
2010 Auburn
2011 Alabama
2012 Alabama
2013 Florida St.
2014 Ohio St.
2015 Alabama

Other Conference


When you consider how tough the SEC has been during its run of eight national championships in 10 years, the fact that Saban was able to win four of those in just seven years is incredibly impressive. Also, Saban's teams have played at least six games against ranked opponents in each of those championship years.

Most consecutive seasons reaching No. 1 in the AP poll

ALABAMA (2007-2015)


MIAMI (1986-92)


TEXAS (1961-65)


OKLAHOMA (1954-58)


NOTRE DAME (1946-50)


Consistency is such an important and daunting task when it comes to producing Saban's sustained success. Yes, the talent has always been in Tuscaloosa to make that happen, but that means constantly battling complacency and egos, while adjusting for the evolution of the game -- such as the changes in offensive tempo and schemes. With so many talented teams around Alabama, eight in a row is remarkable.

Second-most wins in first 20 seasons: 191

As a head coach, Saban has averaged 9.55 wins per season. He has dipped below nine wins only seven times and has won at least 10 games in eight straight seasons, including going 14-0 in 2009. In 14 seasons as an SEC coach, Saban has won at least 10 games 10 times.

Most wins against AP top-3 teams



LOU HOLTZ (12-15-1)




Saban always has his teams prepared for the biggest games and the toughest opponents. His teams have won their past six games against AP top-three teams, including back-to-back national championship victories over No. 1 LSU (a 21-0 win) and No. 1 Notre Dame (42-14) in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Most SEC championship game wins

  • 6
    Saban's SEC Championship Wins
  • 5
    Spurrier's SEC Championship Wins

Saban surpassed the Head Ball Coach with six SEC championship game wins to Spurrier's five. Saban has won three of the past four SEC championships and is 6-1 in his seven SEC title game appearances.

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