NFL standouts like Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry have helped the Alabama Crimson Tide assemble a streak of 12 straight seasons of double-digit victories in college football, and that should be extended on Dec. 12 by beating Arkansas.
And Nick Saban’s coaching record – never a losing season in a career that began at Toledo in 1990 – also remains intact.
However, another impressive streak having to do with the school’s football program has come to a close after 409 games.
The Alabama Crimson Tide have a storied football history
The University of Alabama is one of the most storied programs in all of college football, having won 17 national championships either via polls or on the field in FBS playoffs. Six came during the tenure of the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant from 1958-82.
The Crimson Tide came into the 2020 season with more than 900 victories in a program that made its debut in 1892, and Alabama entered the Arkansas game looking for its 24th winning streak of 10 or more games and its 20th 10-0 start to a season. Both are testaments to the strength of the program in the traditionally competitive Southeastern Conference.
Bryant, of course, had so much to do with the success. After coaching previously at Maryland, Kentucky, and Texas A&M, he arrived at Alabama in 1958 and reeled off 25 winning seasons. His 232-46-9 mark with the Crimson Tide translated into an .824 winning percentage.
The Nick Saban era at Alabama has been stellar
The Nick Saban era has been just about everything that Alabama Crimson Tide fans could have hoped for when he arrived in 2007. Mike Shula had gone 26-23 in the previous four seasons, and Saban notched his 26th victory midway through season No. 3 on his way to a 14-0 year.
Beginning with the 2011 season, Alabama made six more trips to the National Championship Game in eight years, winning four times. Including stints at three other schools. Saban took a 252-61-1 record into the Arkansas game, with his record at Alabama a sterling 161-23.
A 26-23 victory over Georgia in overtime on Jan. 8, 2018, behind the heroics of Tua Tagovailoa tied Saban with Bear Bryant for the most outright national championships.
There have also been individual achievements under Saban. Mark Ingram (2009) and Derrick Henry (2015) became the first two Heisman Trophy winners in school history.
Eli Gold’s streak ends at an impressive 409 games
Saturday’s contest between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Arkansas Razorbacks marked the end of a magnificent streak that began at the start of the 1988 college football season. Eli Gold, the play-by-play voice of the Crimson Tide Radio Network, finally missed a game after calling 409 Alabama games in a row.
Alabama basketball play-by-play announcer Chris Stewart filled in for Gold.
Both Gold, 66, and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 during the week, requiring him to go into quarantine, according to Al.com. However, Gold did manage to host coach Nick Saban’s weekly radio show remotely.
Gold had been a stalwart in the stadium broadcast booth since taking the job more than three decades ago. Despite undergoing replacement surgeries on both shoulders this year, he still made it to every game. He traveled to Missouri by car for the 2020 opener because he couldn’t fly after the first surgery, and he relied upon an assistant to flip his roster cards for him after changes of possession because it was too painful for Gold to lift his arms.