The SEC has won between 28 and 40 college football national championships — depending on your source and school colors. Saturday Down South is ranking the conference’s 10 greatest national champions, acknowledging history while bowing to progress.

The countdown continues …

No. 3 2015 Alabama

Record: 14-1

PPG: 35.1

Allowed: 15.1

SRS: 23.72. SRS combines margin of victory and strength of schedule, where 0 is average. The higher the number, the more dominant the team. This team’s SRS and strength of schedule the best in the country in 2015 — and Alabama’s 7.32 SOS is the toughest Nick Saban has faced.

Statistical oddity: Derrick Henry’s 2,219 rushing yards not only set the SEC single season record, but were just 134 yards fewer than the combined total of Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy in 2011.

Their case for greatness: Maybe it’s the new car smell.

Maybe it’s the fact that four more Tide players soon will be NFL players.

Maybe it’s the fact that Derrick Henry turned in the single greatest season by an SEC running back — ever.

Maybe it’s the fact that only Alabama could somehow hide a five-star recruit until it really needed him in the championship game.

Maybe it’s the fact that its only loss was the result of five turnovers and two fluke touchdowns, in the only game its starting quarterback didn’t start.

Maybe it’s because its head coach isn’t afraid to take risks in the sport’s biggest games.

Maybe it’s the fact its defense didn’t have a front seven — it had a front 14 — and backups like Da’Shawn Hand made a huge impact in the championship game.

Chances are, it’s all of that and more.

Other Alabama teams have score more. Other Tide teams have allowed less.

No other Tide team beat as many ranked teams as Saban’s 2015 crew.

Alabama went 8-1 against ranked teams, and it did so without relying exclusively on Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry until later in the season.

After giving up 43 points in the loss to Ole Miss, the Tide allowed just 69 combined against the next six ranked teams it faced.

The offense improved throughout the season, despite facing six ranked teams in its final nine games — one of the unranked teams being Tennessee.

That versatility paid off in the national championship game against Clemson, when little-used tight end O.J. Howard caught five balls for 208 yards and two touchdowns — his only touchdown catches this season.

“This Alabama team is not just any ordinary Alabama football team. I’m not sure this isn’t the best Nick has had,” former Auburn coach Pat Dye told “That defense is so dominating and they have so much depth that it keeps playing at a high level for 60 minutes. You can’t wear them down.”

Perhaps, but we still found two more teams that were better.


No. 10: 1961 Alabama: Greatest defense gives Bear first title

No. 9: 1980 Georgia: Herschel Walker and Run, Lindsay, Run

No. 8: A battle of Alabama caps golden era

No. 7: Super Cam and 2010 Auburn

No. 6: 2011 brings Saban sighting

No. 5: 2012 a repeat of 2011 — only better

No. 4: Spurrier’s Fun-N-Gun brings first title in 1996