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14 Days of Champions: No. 1 2009

When the University of Alabama football team decided to hold a special celebration for the 2009 season, the idea of a parade was nixed along with anything that didn't involve Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Mark Ingram won Alabama's first Heisman Trophy and had 22 carries for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the title game.

Walking through the home tunnel one more time with fans ready to greet them was what the players wanted. So on January 16, 2010, with approximately 38,000 on hand (and ignoring the lousy weather), the Capstone featured fireworks, tributes, speeches and a whole lot of hardware.

"I want everyone here to know this is not the end," Coach Nick Saban said. "This is the beginning."

Although Tuscaloosa had been waiting a long time for its 13th national title, the first since 1992 and second in 30 years, no one anticipated the most accomplished team in program history. Not only did the Crimson Tide become the first Southeastern Conference team to finish 14-0 to win the crystal football known as the Coaches Trophy, but also landed college football's most prestigious award.

"I'm a little overwhelmed right now," sophomore running back Mark Ingram said. "I'm just so excited to bring Alabama their first Heisman winner."

Adding to the drama was that the vote turned out to be the closest in Heisman Trophy history, with Ingram topping Stanford running back Toby Gerhart by just 28 points. Previously, the narrowest margin was 1985, when only 45 points separated Auburn running back Bo Jackson from the runner-up Chuck Long of Iowa, which was also the last time an SEC running back won.

Meanwhile, junior linebacker Rolando McClain won Alabama's second Butkus Award for linebacker of the year, a record six players were named first-team All-Americans, Saban won the inaugural Bobby Bowden Coach of the Year Award, and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart took home the Broyles Award as the assistant coach of the year.

Numerous records were also set. Ingram set the UA mark for single-season rushing. Kicker Leigh Tiffin took over as the Tide's all-time scoring leader. Javier Arenas finished 10 yards short of becoming the NCAA's career leader in punt-return yards.

"It just shows that when you put in so much hard work and effort that things really do pay off for you," senior guard Mike Johnson said. "I really honestly feel like we worked harder than any other team this year and that's why we came out on top."

Coach Nick Saban won his second national championship, and Alabama's first since 1992.

Alabama captured its 22nd Southeastern Conference title, was the first team in history to beat 10 opponents that finished with a winning record and it dispatched the three previous national champions along the way. The victims included No. 2 Texas, No. 3 Florida, No. 10 Virginia Tech, No. 17 LSU and No. 20 Ole Miss, and the Crimson Tide also played South Carolina when it was ranked 22nd.

If that wasn't enough, Alabama won the BCS National Championship Game at the site of its first title, the Rose Bowl.

"What an unbelievable year," athletics director Mal Moore added.

The 2009 Crimson Tide

Coach: Nick Saban
Assistant coaches: Burton Burns, Curt Cignetti, Bo Davis, Jim McElwain, Joe Pendry, Kirby Smart, Sal Sunseri, Bobby Williams, James Willis
Captains: Javier Arenas, Mike Johnson, Rolando McClain

Date, opponent, location, W/L, score
Sept. 5: vs. Virginia Tech, at Atlanta, W 34-24
Sept. 12: Florida International, at Tuscaloosa, W 40-14
Sept. 19: North Texas, at Tuscaloosa, W 53-7
Sept. 26: Arkansas, at Tuscaloosa, W 35-7
Oct. 3: at Kentucky, at Lexington, W 38-20
Oct. 10: at Ole Miss, at Oxford, W 22-3
Oct. 17: South Carolina, at Tuscaloosa, W 20-6
Oct. 24: Tennessee, at Tuscaloosa, W 12-10
Nov. 7: LSU, at Tuscaloosa, W 24-15
Nov. 14: at Mississippi State, at Starkville, W 31-3
Nov. 21: Chattanooga, at Tuscaloosa, W 45-0
Nov. 26: at Auburn, at Auburn, W 26-21
Dec. 5: Florida, at Atlanta, W 32-13
Jan. 7: Texas, at Rose Bowl, W 37-21
Record 14-0; Total points: 449-164
Ranking (AP): Preseason No. 5; Postseason No. 1.
Leaders: Rushing _ Mark Ingram (1,658 yards, 271 carries); Passing _ Greg McElroy (198 of 325, 2,508 yards); Receiving _ Julio Jones (43 catches, 596 yards).

Lineup
Offense

James Carpenter, left tackle
Mike Johnson, left guard
William Vlachos, center
Barrett Jones, right guard
Drew Davis, right tackle
Colin Peek, tight end
Julio Jones, wide receiver
Marquis Maze, wide receiver
Greg McElroy, quarterback
Preston Dial, H-back
Mark Ingram, running back
Defense
Lorenzo Washington, defensive end
Terrence Cody, nose tackle
Brandon Deaderick, defensive end
Cory Reamer, linebacker
Rolando McClain, middle linebacker
Nico Johnson, linebacker
Eryk Anders, linebacker
Javier Arenas, cornerback
Mark Barron, safety
Justin Woodall, safety
Kareem Jackson, cornerback
Specialists
Leigh Tiffin, kicker
P.J. Fitzgerland, punter
Javier Arenas punt/kick returns
Terry Grant, kick returns

Honors
Major Awards: Mark Ingram, Heisman Trophy; Rolando McClain, Butkus Award
All-American: First team _ Mark Ingram, running back; Mike Johnson, guard; Terrence Cody, defensive tackle; Rolando McClain, linebacker; Javier Arenas, cornerback/return specialist; Leigh Tiffin, kicker. Third team _ Mark Barron, safety. Academic All-American _ Colin Peek, tight end.
All-SEC (first team): Mark Ingram, running back; Mike Johnson, guard; Terrence Cody, defensive tackle; Rolando McClain, linebacker; Javier Arenas, cornerback/return specialist; Mark Barron, safety; Leigh Tiffin, kicker.

National champions
Alabama: BCS, USA Today, Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, National Football Foundation, Harris poll.

Final rankings
Associated Press
1. Alabama (14-0)

2. Texas (13-1)
3. Florida (13-1)
4. Boise State (14-0)
5. Ohio State (11-2)
6. TCU (12-1)
7. Iowa (11-2)
8. Cincinnati (12-1)
9. Penn State (11-2)
10. Virginia Tech (10-3)
11. Oregon (10-3)
12. Brigham Young (11-2)
13. Georgia Tech (11-3)
14. Nebraska (10-4)
15. Pittsburgh (10-3)
16. Wisconsin (10-3)
17. LSU (9-4)
18. Utah (10-3)
19. Miami (9-4)
20. Ole Miss (9-4)
21. Texas Tech (9-4)
22. Southern California (9-4)
23. Central Michigan (12-2)
24. Clemson (9-5)
25. West Virginia (9-4)

Coaches
1. Alabama (14-0)

2. Texas (13-1)
3. Florida (13-1)
4. Boise State (14-0)
5. Ohio State (11-2)
6. TCU (12-1)
7. Iowa (11-2)
8. Penn State (11-2)
9. Cincinnati (12-1)
10. Virginia Tech (10-3)
11. Oregon (10-3)
12. Brigham Young (11-2)
13. Georgia Tech (11-3)
14. Nebraska (10-4)
15. Pittsburgh (10-3)
16. Wisconsin (10-3)
17. LSU (9-4)
18. Utah (10-3)
19. Miami (9-4)
20. Southern California (9-4)
21. Ole Miss (9-4)
22. West Virginia (9-4)
23. Texas Tech (9-4)
24. Central Michigan (12-2)
25. Oklahoma State (9-4)

Heisman Trophy Voting
1. Mark Ingram, Alabama, RB 1,304
2. Toby Gerhart, Stanford, RB 1,276
2. Colt McCoy, Texas, QB 1,145
4. Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska, DT 815
5. Tim Tebow, Florida, QB 390

All-American Team
Offense: QB Colt McCoy, Texas; RB Toby Gerhart, Stanford; RB Mark Ingram, Alabama; WR Golden Tate, Notre Dame; WR Jordan Shipley, Texas; TE Dennis Pitta, Brigham Young; T Russell Okung, Oklahoma State; T Trent Williams, Oklahoma; G Mike Johnson, Alabama; G Mike Iupati, Idaho; C Maurkice Pouncey, Florida; K Kai Forbath, UCLA.
Defense: DL Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska; DL Jerry Hughes, TCU; DL Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma; DL Terrence Cody, Alabama; LB Rolando McClain, Alabama; LB Greg Jones, Michigan State; LB Brandon Spikes, Florida; DB Eric Berry, Tennessee; DB Joe Haden, Florida
DB Javier Arenas, Alabama; DB Earl Thomas, Texas; P Drew Butler Georgia; RS C.J. Spiller, Clemson.

SEC
EASTERN DIVISION SEC Conference Overall
School .......... W-L-T Pct. Pts. Opp. W-L-T Pct. Pts. Opp.

Florida .......... 8-0 1.000 221 96 13-1 .929 502 174
Georgia ........ 4-4 .500 234 252 8-5 .615 376 337
Tennessee...... 4-4 .500 199 175 7-6 .538 381 289
Kentucky........ 3-5 .375 180 222 7-6 .538 339 295
South Carolina 3-5 .375 144 195 7-6 .538 268 265
Vanderbilt...... 0-8 .000 71 191 2-10 .167 196 280

WESTERN DIVISION SEC Conference Overall
School .......... W-L-T Pct. Pts. Opp. W-L-T Pct. Pts. Opp.
Alabama ....... 8-0 1.000 208 85 14-0 1.000 449 164

LSU............... 5-3 .625 178 150 9-4 .692 323 211
Ole Miss........ 4-4 .500 180 176 9-4 .692 384 230
Arkansas ....... 3-5 .375 234 233 8-5 .615 468 326
Auburn.......... 3-5 .375 200 219 8-5 .615 433 358
Mississippi State ..... 3-5 .375 180 235 5-7 .417 307 321

SEC Championship Game: Alabama 32, Florida 13
Bowls: Music City (Clemson 21, Kentucky 13), Independence (Georgia 44, Texas A&M 20), Chick-fil-A (Virginia Tech 37, Tennessee 14), Outback (Auburn 38, Northwestern 35, OT), Capital One (Penn State 19, LSU 17), Popajohns.com (Connecticut 20, South Carolina 7), Cotton (Ole Miss 21, Oklahoma State 7), Liberty (Arkansas 20, East Carolina 17), Sugar (Florida 51, Cincinnati 24), BCS Championship (Alabama 37, Texas 21).

All-SEC
Offense: QB Tim Tebow, Florida; RB Mark Ingram, Alabama; RB Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State; WR Shay Hodge, Ole Miss; WR A.J. Green, Georgia; TE Aaron Hernandez, Florida; C Maurkice Pouncey, Florida; OL Mike Pouncey, Florida; OL Mike Johnson, Alabama (G); OL Ciron Black, LSU (T); OL Mitch Petrus, Arkansas (T); OL John Jerry, Ole Miss (T).
Defense: DL Antonio Coleman, Auburn; DL Terrence Cody, Alabama; DL Carlos Dunlap, Florida; DL Corey Peters, Kentucky; LB Rolando McClain, Alabama; LB Brandon Spikes, Florida; LB Rennie Curran, Georgia; LB Eric Norwood; DB Eric Berry Tennessee; DB Joe Haden, Florida; DB Javier Arenas, Alabama; DB Mark Barron, Alabama.
Special Teams: PK: Leigh Tiffin, Alabama; P: Drew Butler, Georgia; RS Javier Arenas, Alabama.

Team statistics
Score by quarters 1-2-3-4 Total
Alabama 86-162-80-121 _ 449
Opponents 43-43-46-32 _ 164

Statistical category, Alabama, Opponents
First Downs 288; 188
Rushing yards 601-3,011; 395-1,094
Passing attempts 346-212-5; 449-210-24
Passing yards 2,631; 2,324
Total offense 947-5,642; 844-3,418
Penalties-yards 69-598; 86-729
Turnovers (margin +19) 12; 31

Individual leaders
Rushing: Mark Ingram 271-1,658, 17 TDs
Passing: Greg McElroy 325-198-4 2,508, 17 TDs
Receiving: Julio Jones 43-596, 4 TDs
Scoring: Leigh Tiffin 132 points
Tackles: Rolando McClain 105
Interceptions: Mark Barron 7-125, 1 TD
Sacks: Marcell Dareus 6.5

(Sources: "100 Things Crimson Tide Fans Should Know & Do Before they Die," by Christopher Walsh; "Huddle Up: Alabama Football 2009," by Christopher Walsh; NCAA; Southeastern Conference; Alabama 2012 Football Records Book)

The 14 Days of Champions countdown

14. 1941: http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-begins-with-No-14-1941-106401
13. 1973: http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-continues-with-No-13-1973-106599
12. 1965: http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-continues-with-No-12-1965-106801
11. 1978: http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-continues-with-No-11-1978-106940
10. 1926: http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-continues-with-No-10-1926-107036
9. 1964: 19http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-continues-with-No-9-1964-107232
8. 2011: http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-continues-with-No-8-2011-107410
7. 1934: http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-continues-with-No-7-1934-107575
6. 1979: http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-continues-with-No-6-1979-107790
5. 1992: http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-continues-with-No-5-1930-107893
4. 1992: http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-continues-with-No-4-1992-108006
3. 1925: http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-continues-with-No-3-1925-108127
2. 2009: http://alabama.247sports.com/Article/BOLs-14-Days-of-Champions-countdown-continues-with-No-2-1961-108205

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