This is the product of a project I’ve spent parts of the last few weeks on. It’s a question worth asking. So read the story and figure it out for yourself …
TUSCALOOSA — Few know University of Alabama athletics history like Ken Gaddy. The director of the Bryant Museum has worked there 20 years.
Not many compare to the one still in progress.
The 2011-12 athletics season is making an argument for its place in school history. Never before had two Crimson Tide programs won national titles in the same season, and it’s not unreasonable to forecast another before June.
Three of the four Alabama programs still competing — men’s and women’s golf and softball — rank in the top three in their respective sports. Each carries realistic goals of joining the Tide football and gymnastic teams on top in the coming weeks.
“In recent times,” Gaddy said, “It’s the best in a long, long time.”
Realistically, it’s a debate open to discussion based how a season is judged. The 2011-12 argument already holds the national championship advantage, but there were years with more success in SEC competition and postseason participation.
As it stands today, eight of Alabama’s 18 teams have or will play in NCAA postseasons or bowl games. For sports like swimming and track, only a top-10 finish in NCAA meets were counted as a postseason berth for this report.
That total was 10 back in 1992-93 when the Tide football team capped an undefeated season with a national title. There were 10 postseason teams as recently as 2005-06 and the department sent no fewer than seven teams in each of the last eight years.
SEC titles are considerably more difficult more rare. Neither of Alabama’s two national champions won the league this year. The total of regular season and postseason SEC crowns sits at three after the softball team won the tournament title Saturday afternoon.
At least one Alabama team won SEC titles in nine of past 10 years with 2007 being the last without championship hardware. The 2009-10 season remains the school’s high-water mark with four titles. The football and women’s golf teams topped postseason competition when the softball team claimed regular-season and tournament titles.
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