Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Is Alabama's Dynasty Overrated?

Alabama's quest for a BCS championship three-peat in all likelihood ended on the dramatic final play of the Iron Bowl, when Chris Davis ran 109 yards to take home a missed field goal for the winning touchdown. While the Tide are a lock to play in a BCS bowl this year, they'll miss out on that most elusive of prizes.

Since the AP poll began crowning national champions in 1936, no team has ever won three consecutive titles. The team that came closest was USC in 2005, but it blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead and gave up the winning touchdown with 19 seconds to play to lose to Texas, 41-38, in the epic 2006 Rose Bowl game.

And the BCS era will end with just one team playing in three consecutive title games - and that would be Florida State, whose 1999 title was bracketed by losses in the 1998 and 2000 games. Until their loss in the Iron Bowl, the Crimson Tide were on a quest to equal that achievement (and surpass it) by winning a third consecutive BCS Championship Game.

Is Alabama's budding dynasty truly over, or is this just a blip on the road? History suggests that when a dominating run is halted suddenly, getting back to the top might be harder than it first looks. The last time Alabama won consecutive AP championships was 1978-79 and it took 13 years and three coaching changes before it claimed the next title.

Recent examples also don't bode well for the Tide to reboot the dynasty, either. After USC's dramatic loss at the Rose Bowl ended its 34-game winning streak, the Trojans had a chance to return to the title game the following season. But they were denied after a stunning upset loss to UCLA in the regular-season finale and haven't been back since.


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