SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — With five national championships in the past nine seasons, Alabama already has accomplished something never done before in the AP poll era that began in 1936.
Winning another crown Monday night against Clemson would lift the Crimson Tide even further above other college football dynasties and into the conversation about the best runs in all of college sports.
Not that coach Nick Saban is worried about any of that.
“I’m always looking ahead. I think I’m always sort of focused on the next challenge,” he said this week. “It’s a lot like climbing a mountain; you push a rock up a mountain, but when next year starts, it’s a new mountain, and you’d better be focused on that, and that’s the way we try to approach it with the individuals in our organization as well as our players.”
Before Alabama began this run by winning its first title under Saban in 2009, there were several other schools that could stake a claim to greatest college football dynasty in the poll era.
Coach Frank Leahy led Notre Dame to four No. 1 rankings during a seven-year span in the 1940s, missing out only during the two years he served in World War II and in 1948 when the Irish finished No. 2 to Michigan thanks to a tie against Southern California.
Oklahoma then dominated for a stretch in the 1950s under coach Bud Wilkinson, winning back-to-back titles in 1955-56 and a record 47 straight games from 1953-57.
Miami went on a memorable run starting with the 1983 championship under coach Howard Schnellenberger. The Hurricanes added another title under Jimmy Johnson in 1987 and two more under Dennis Erickson in 1989 and ’91. But a loss in the Sugar Bowl the following year to Alabama denied Miami a fifth title in that run.
Nebraska and USC had shorter stretches of dominance, with the Cornhuskers winning consecutive titles in 1994-95 and then sharing the championship with Michigan in 1997.
The Trojans shared a title in 2003 with LSU before repeating as solo champion the next season. USC took a 34-game winning streak into the BCS title game at the Rose Bowl the following year before losing to Texas.