Nebraska won three national championships in a four-year span, 1994-97. Since the 1940s, no other school has accomplished the feat.
Alabama can join the Cornhuskers. But Georgia and Notre Dame stand in the way of history.
The second-ranked Crimson Tide plays No. 3 Georgia in the SEC title game Saturday night in Atlanta. The winner gets No. 1 Notre Dame in Miami's Big Bowl.
“Our goal was to accomplish something legendary that nobody else has, and we still have a chance to do that,” said Bama center Barrett Jones, one of nine scholarship seniors on Nick Saban's roster.
Alabama has only four fifth-year seniors, guys who came to Bama when Saban had not yet restored the glory to the program.
“When we came here, it wasn't the Alabama people know now,” Jones said. “We were coming off a 7-6 season, and it wasn't like it is now around here.
“Those of us who were here haven't forgotten what it took to get to this point. We've seen the worst of it, and that's only created a stronger bond because we've been through so much together.”
Alabama's national title hopes seemed gone on Nov. 10, when Texas A&M stunned Bama 29-24 in Tuscaloosa. But Kansas State and Oregon both lost the next week, and the SEC title game again became a national semifinal.
“We know how small the window for error is,” said Bama senior linebacker Nico Johnson. “I think we thought that Texas A&M was new to the conference, and we'd be able to do enough to get by, and they beat us.
“We've got a new life now and have to take advantage of this opportunity.”
Because of the SEC schedule rotation, Alabama and Georgia haven't played since 2008. That's the year these fifth-year seniors arrived and began changing Bama's fortunes.