Nick Saban's Most Memorable Game AP Photo/Butch Dill, File
AP Photo/Butch Dill, File

Alabama coach Nick Saban came to Tuscaloosa in 2007 inheriting a program that was coming off a 6-7 record and a 34-31 loss to Oklahoma State in the Independence Bowl. After one season of growing pains, the Crimson Tide started a run of dominance that no team has been able to match since.

Even after five national titles and six SEC Championships during Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa, the Alabama Crimson Tide remain a contender to reach the College Football Playoff every season. But of all of those titles, and more than 150 wins, which one is the most memorable for the Hall of Fame head coach?

The iconic football coach dished on his most memorable game during his weekly Thursday night radio show back in 2018:

Nick Saban’s Favorite Alabama Win

“If I had to pick one, it would probably be the Rose Bowl game, the first national championship game in 2009 against Texas. Only because in just the third year of being here, we took a not-so-good team, a 6-6 team, and all these players ? some were here, some were new guys, some came here like Julio Jones and Rolando McClain and a bunch of guys, Mark Barron ? they all came here when we weren?t good. But they were highly-recruited guys and they believed in what we were trying to do and what we were going to.”

— Nick Saban

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That 2009 Alabama team was Nick Saban’s only perfect team during this historic run, finishing with a 14-0 record that was capped by running all over the Texas Longhorns.

Running backs Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson both ran for over 100 yards and each scored two touchdowns in a dominating 37-21 BCS Championship win in Pasadena, California.

“The Rose Bowl was a great atmosphere,” Saban said. “And that?s probably, if I had to pick one, not that all the championship games aren?t special. And the one I think about the most and the one that bothers me the most is the one that we lost. But if you want a best memory, I guess it would have to be the first one.”


2010 BCS National Championship

Fortunately for Alabama, Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Colt McCoy suffered a shoulder injury on the Longhorns’ opening drive and was replaced by true freshman Garrett Gilbert, who was eaten alive by the Tide’s top-ranked defense, completing 15-of-40 passes and tossing four interceptions in that game.

The Crimson Tide were national champions once again, and that team boasted one of the most insane rosters in college football history that laid the foundation for the decade-long dynasty that followed.

QB Greg McIlroy

RB Mark Ingram (2009 Heisman Trophy Winner)

RB Trent Richardson

WR Julio Jones

OL Barrett Jones

DL Marcell Dareus

DL Terrance Cody

LB Rolando McClain

LB Dont’a Hightower

LB Courtney Upshaw

DB Mark Barron

DB Javier Arenas

DB Kareem Jackson


There may never be another team as special as the 2009 Alabama Crimson Tide in Nick Saban’s mind, strictly because of the nostalgia of that first title game they bring to the table.

Then again, that undefeated team might have a run for their money with the Tide still dominating more than a decade later.

This article was originally published October 12, 2018.

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John Duffley About the author:
John joins the FanBuzz team with five years of experience freelancing as a sports writer for and A graduate of Penn State University, John currently lives and works in Austin, Texas. He is also a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
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