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Alabama’s 2016 team can accomplish something no other team has ever done

The Tide would be just the third-ever wire-to-wire champ, and the first to do it in a 15-game season.

NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl-Alabama vs Washington John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 Alabama Crimson Tide team is amazing. After a 14-0 record and berth in a second straight College Football Playoff National Championship, we know this.

But you may not know just how close this Alabama team is to making history and officially becoming one of the greatest teams ever. With a victory over No. 2 Clemson on Monday night, the preseason No. 1 Tide can do something that no FBS team has ever done: go wire-to-wire during a 15-game season.

“Wire-to-wire” means staying ranked as the No. 1 team in the AP Poll from the preseason all the way through the national title.

Only two teams have ever done that part before: 1999 Florida State and 2004 USC.

Florida State was named the preseason No. 1 at the start of Bobby Bowden’s 23rd season in Tallahassee. The BCS Championship featured No. 2 Virginia Tech, and the Noles pulled away, 46-29. The victory gave Florida State its second national title in school history.

USC would go on to win both the Pac-12 title and beat No. 2 Oklahoma in the BCS Championship. However, thanks to the Reggie Bush scandal during the 2004 season, the NCAA later hit USC with a plethora of sanctions, including vacated wins.

Now, there have other been preseason No. 1 teams that went on to win the national championship.

But they either didn’t remain undefeated — Tennessee’s 1951 team was even awarded the national championship before the Sugar Bowl, which it lost to No. 3 Maryland — or otherwise slipped in the rankings along the way —1956 Oklahoma and 1974 Oklahoma opened as No. 1, but they didn’t stay at the top all season.

Other preseason No. 1s with one loss that still won the national title include the 1978 Alabama team under Bear Bryant, Oklahoma’s 1985 team, and Florida State’s 1993 team.

The Tide have gone undefeated and won it all before — including as recently as 2009 — but that team wasn’t No. 1 all season long.

The Tigers are all that’s standing between Alabama’s shot at history.

Last season, the Tide beat Clemson, 45-40, in a game that had a heavyweight prize fight feel to it, and Round 2 looks like it’ll be just as exciting.

If Bama can get a victory on Monday night, this team has a chance to be in the discussion as one of the greatest teams ever, but it won’t come easy. Clemson looks like even more of a threat to the Tide this time around.