He's not Bear Bryant yet, but Nick Saban has a chance to further cement his status as one of the most successful coaches in college football history Monday night as the Alabama Crimson Tide try to win their third title in four years.
Every college football fan has their opinion about Saban, and while he's probably more reviled than revered due to his personality and semi-legal ways around NCAA scholarship limits, nobody denies that he's done incredible things in his various stints across college football.
Saban has become more and more successful at each rung of his college ladder: he went 9-2 in his only year at Toledo before taking a job under Bill Belichick in the NFL. He came back to Michigan State, where he lost three bowl games, but was .500 or better every year, finishing with a Citrus Bowl berth in 1999. From there, he went to LSU, where he won a BCS bowl his second year and a national title in 2003, before trying his hand in the NFL.
The NFL didn't work out so well: he made enemies in his stint with the Miami Dolphins, but found a home in Alabama. His success with the Crimson Tide has been unmatched elsewhere in college football since taking the job in 2007. After a 7-6 year to start off, he's won 10 games or more every year, including a 14-0 year with a national title in 2009 and a 12-1 year last season when he beat his former school, LSU, avenging the Tide's only loss of the year.
2012 also saw his team drop a game -- to Heisman winner Johnny Manziel -- but the Tide have rolled, for the most part. They're only a few tenths of a point behind Notre Dame for the best defense in the country, allowing only 10.7 points per game, but unlike the Irish, also pile on the points, scoring 38.3 a game.
Here's a quick look at Saban's résumé:
Nick Saban, Alabama (fifth year)
Head coaching record: 153-55-1
Record at Alabama: 62-13 (five wins in his first year were vacated)
Record in bowls: 7-6
Record in National Championship games: 2-0
SB Nation's Bill Connelly profiled the matchup between the two high-powered defenses, and whether or not Manti Te'o can stop Alabama's Eddie Lacy.