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Certainly not the D word, right?

“I don’t want to use that and call us something that we might not be,” he said.

Good point.

The last time the D word was getting tossed around freely in college football was the 2005 season.

The last team to go back-to-back was Pete Carroll’s Southern California squad in 2003 and `04, though even that one comes with a “but.” In 2003, USC was left out of the BCS championship game, despite being No. 1 in both the AP and coaches polls at the end of the regular season, and LSU beat Oklahoma to take the BCS title. The Trojans were the AP’s champs after beating Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

The Trojans of Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush went into `05 as overwhelming favorites to become the first major college football team to three-peat. Vince Young and Texas stopped all that talk of the Trojans being the greatest of all-time in the Rose Bowl.

There hasn’t been a similar buzz around Alabama this season, though it’s no surprise the Tide have reached this point. Alabama started this season ranked No. 2, and spent more time at No. 1 than any other team.

Maybe the Tide haven’t earned the same kind of hype because they’ve had some good fortune the past two seasons. Alabama lost to LSU last year and got a second shot at the Tigers in the BCS title game. This season, `Bama lost in November at home again, but got the benefit of the doubt from poll voters ahead of other one-loss teams such as Oregon.

“I don’t believe they should have been in the national championship game last year. You lose one time to a team you shouldn’t get a second bite of the apple,” said former Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown, who works as an analyst for Sirius XM Radio.

Maybe it’s because this Tide team doesn’t have the star power that USC team did. The Trojans had two Heisman Trophy winners. The face of the Tide now is Jones, a center.

While the Tide’s signature defense is ranked first in the nation yards allowed per game, the consensus is that it’s not as good as last year’s version.

“Alabama is not what it was when it comes to having guys that can do everything,” said ESPN’s David Pollack, a former All-American defensive end for Georgia. “This is the worst defensive talent Alabama’s had in at least four seasons. But their system is so strong and so precise. Now he’s got everybody Sabanized.”

Don’t think Pollack was knocking Alabama.

“Ridiculous,” was how he described the Tide’s latest national championship run, with only nine senior starters. “That’s not right. That’s not human.”

It’s Saban. He’s the constant and with one more championship he’ll have four, tying Notre Dame’s Frank Leahy for second-most among coaches. Only the Bear, with six, has more.

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