Alabama is playing for more than a national title.
It is playing for a dynasty.
Even though that is a word that is often thrown around too liberally and too prematurely in sports, it would totally apply here. If Alabama beats Notre Dame on Monday night in the BCS national championship game, a dynasty is what the Crimson Tide will be.
It would become only the third team in college football's modern era to win three national titles in four seasons.
To their credit, Alabama types aren't talking about a dynasty.
“I don't want to use that and call us something that we might not be,” Alabama safety Robert Lester told reporters earlier this week during a pre-championship game press conference.
The last time college football talked of a dynasty, USC was coming off back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004 and heading into the 2005 title game as a big favorite. Then, of course, Vince Young and Texas ended the talk and the dynasty.
Let's be honest — dynasties are all about titles, so for Alabama to stake a claim, it has to win Monday night.
It would be the first time since the mid '90s that a team won three titles in four years.
Nebraska was that last dynasty, winning national titles in 1994, 1995 and 1997. That was a golden era for Cornhusker football. It was the end of Tom Osborne's coaching days, and those were some of his best teams ever.
That 1995 squad is even considered among the best ever in college football. It was a bunch highlighted by Tommie Frazier and Ahman Green, Grant Wistrom and Aaron Taylor.
But for as glorious as those days were, that 1997 title had some tarnish. Prior to Nebraska's bowl game, the well-loved and well-respected Osborne announced he was retiring, and when the second-ranked Huskers throttled Tennessee in the Orange Bowl to finish undefeated, many argued that Nebraska deserved a share of the national title.
That included Husker quarterback Scott Frost, who openly lobbied for the title after the bowl, slipping in a not-so-subtle mention of Osborne's retirement.