FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.
Barrett Jones was definitely not going there.
Alabama’s All-American offensive lineman has spent five seasons with coach Nick Saban and he knows better than to talk about stuff like legacies and the Crimson Tide’s place in history.
“Do you know what would happen if Nick Saban watched this interview and heard me say the D word?” Jones told a reporter who tried to lure him into the forbidden zone.
The D word would be dynasty and it is definitely off-limits around Alabama. But make no mistake, if the Crimson Tide can beat No. 1 Notre Dame on Monday night it will become the first team to win consecutive BCS championships and join a select list of college football programs with three national titles in four years.
In short, Alabama will lay claim to one of the great runs in history.
“I think what we’re really focused on is what we have to do in this particular game,” Saban said moments after Alabama arrived in south Florida. “Michael Jordan always says it doesn’t make any difference how many game-winning shots I’ve made in the past. The only one that matters is the next one.”
Since The Associated Press started crowning a college football champion in 1936, a team has repeated as champion 10 times, including Bear Bryant’s Alabama teams twice.
No team has won three straight titles in the poll era. The standard is three out of four, and only two teams have done that. Notre Dame won AP titles in 1946, ‘47 and ‘49. But that’s ancient history. Back then the final poll came out before the bowls were even played.
The other three-in-four-year champion was Nebraska, which won back-to-back AP titles in 1994 and ‘95, and capped a remarkable run with a perfect season and coaches’ poll title in 1997, Tom Osborne’s final season as coach. Michigan was voted No. 1 in the final AP poll that year.
Over that four-year period, Nebraska went 49-2.
Alabama’s gone 48-5 since 2009, fueled in large part by the recruiting class of 2008. That group has already produced eight NFL draft picks, including 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and star receiver Julio Jones.
Four members of that class are still with the Tide, all starters: Jones, the two-time All-American, safety Robert Lester, defensive end Damion Square and tight end Michael Williams.