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Countdown to kickoff: 12 years ago, Nick Saban brought the title back to Tuscaloosa

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That 2009 team was a special one.

University of Alabama vs University of Texas, 2010 Citi BCS National Championship Game Set Number: X83383 TK2 R1 F35

Nick Saban was hired for one reason and one reason only: to get Alabama back to the top of the college football heap.

In 2009, he did just that.

Saban’s first national title team is cited as a favorite of many Alabama faithful. Besides bringing home the first national title in 17 years, the 2009 team produced Alabama’s first Heisman winner in RB Mark Ingram.

It wasn’t an easy ride, and in fact a brutal three game stretch nearly derailed it.

In week five, Alabama could get absolutely nothing going through the air against South Carolina, causing Ingram to shoulder the load in perhaps his most oft-cited “Heisman game.” The following week, Alabama would need two blocked field goals by behemoth NT Terrence Cody to survive Tennessee. LSU then pushed the Tide to the wire, with Julio Jones playing the hero. Fortunately, they emerged unscathed.

The signature moment of the season came in the SEC Championship Game, when the Tide boldly pronounced a changing of the guard in the conference by whipping defending national champion Florida, led by Urban Meyer and QB Tim Tebow. The Gators had returned a ton of talent from the title team and the season was supposed to be a glorified coronation. There’s never a bad time to relive that one.

It’s hard to pick a favorite play. MLB Rolando McClain seemed to get the Gators’ attention early with a solo tackle of Tebow, something rarely seen in college. Then you have the throwback TD to Colin Peek, the Ingram screen pass, Greg McElroy’s hop along the sideline, and Javier Arenas picking off Tebow in the end zone for the final dagger. That game was just so satisfying.

The TIde would then take care of Texas in the Rose Bowl, and a the rest is history. College football’s greatest dynasty was born.

We are now 12 days from kickoff.

Roll Tide.