Let’s just face it. It’s really, really tough to beat Nick Saban.

Since he took over at Alabama in 2007, the Crimson Tide are 170-23. Under Saban, Alabama has won 7 SEC championships and 6 national championships. Not bad, but not perfect. Believe it or not, there have been a handful of times that Saban and his team just couldn’t get the win. That certainly includes some fluke games where that oblong ball just seemed to have a mind of its own. However, there have also been some instances in which Alabama was simply beat despite its best efforts. There haven’t been many games in which Alabama was second-best, but it has happened.

Here are the 6 most painful losses under Saban in his time in Tuscaloosa.

6. 2007: Louisiana Monroe upset

For the most part, I’ve chosen losses that Alabama suffered when it was considered truly elite under Saban. This would not be one of them. However, it most likely fueled Saban’s drive to create what has become the best run of success by any program in college football history.

Alabama lost to ULM 21-14 in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Bama fans had to wonder if Saban, who was in his first season in Tuscaloosa, could actually lead the Tide back to a national title level. Maybe the national championship he won at LSU was just good fortune? Maybe he was more like the coach who struggled coaching the Miami Dolphins than the next Paul “Bear” Bryant. Well, we all know the answer to that now. After the loss to ULM, no one was thinking about winning multiple SEC and national titles.

5. 2015: Ole Miss gets the breaks

There’s no questioning Alabama’s motivation before the Ole Miss game in 2015. The Crimson Tide had lost to the Rebels 23-17 during the previous season. It took a late Alabama turnover to snap the 10-game winning streak in 2014. So, Alabama would be angry and seeking revenge in 2015 when they hosted the Rebels. It was a surefire win, right? Nope.

Despite looking like the better team for much of the game, Alabama committed 5 turnovers en route to a 43-37 loss to Ole Miss. Alabama seemed to run out of time as it fought back from a 30-10 3rd-quarter deficit. The Tide also seemed on the wrong side of Lady Luck when a deflected pass resulted in a 66-yard touchdown pass by Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly, who threw 2 more TD passes in the 4th quarter.

4. 2010: “Camback”

It’s interesting how college football history can be cemented with one game. That was certainly the case in the 2010 Iron Bowl when Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and his teammates looked hapless when they were down 24-0. However, Newton wasn’t done.

Newton was spectacular in the second half and led Auburn to a 28-27 victory. Newton threw for 3 touchdowns and ran for another. The 24-point comeback was the largest ever in Auburn history.

Newton would go on to win the Heisman Trophy, lead Auburn to a national title and become the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

3. 2014: Ohio State surprise

Alabama looked as if it was on its way to another national championship in 2014. That would have been Saban’s 4th in Tuscaloosa. Alabama was the No. 1 seed in the inaugural College Football Playoff and drew No. 4 seed Ohio State in a semifinal.

Before the game, Saban tried to repeatedly remind his players and fans that Ohio State was capable of beating any team in the country. Most thought that was just coachspeak. Led by head coach Urban Meyer, 3rd-string quarterback Cardale Jones and running back Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State erased a 15-point deficit and rallied to beat Alabama 42-35.

2. 2018: Clemson’ed

Clemson beat Alabama with a last-second TD to win the 2016 national championship. That was painful. But what happened in 2018 was worse.

Most thought Alabama would win another national title in 2018 when it again faced Clemson in the national title game. Alabama was 14-0 and ranked No. 1. Clemson was 14-0 and ranked No. 2. However, those who had watched both teams throughout the season had reason to believe the Tigers could do more than just hang with Bama. Those fans were right. Clemson walloped Bama 44-16.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence looked very comfortable on the national stage. He threw for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns. Clemson finished the season as the first 15-0 team since the 1800’s.

1. 2013: Kick-6

If you didn’t see this play live, I’m sorry. If you didn’t know that a field goal could be returned for a touchdown, you know now.

In a play that many sports writers have called the greatest moment in college football history, Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a field goal attempt 109 yards in the final second of the game to beat Alabama 34-28. Adam Griffith’s 57-yard try fell just short of the cross bar. Davis, stationed at the end line, brought the ball out and got enough blocking to find Bama’s end zone.

There was plenty on the line. Both teams were in the top 5, were playing for an SEC Championship appearance and possibly a chance to bolster their standing for the College Football Playoff committee. Auburn held onto their elite standing thanks to that incredible last play. Alabama did not.

The drama that preceded the return was almost as equally riveting as the return itself. Alabama looked poised to win the game with a 57-yard field goal or at least continue the contest into overtime with the score tied at 28. The clock had expired when Alabama had the ball, but Saban challenged the timekeepers, who then added 1 second.

The rest is very, very memorable history.