Define the Dynasty

Today NCAA Football13 launched the third segment of its Playbook page. And if you click the blue hyperlink in the previous sentence and then read the webpage it takes you to, you’ll know a little but more about this season’s Dynasty Mode.

(Enjoy the read—hint, hint.)

But as the Playbook page delves into the details of the game mode this year, those new to the franchise may ask themselves, “What exactly is a college football dynasty?”

Pipe down, Negative Nancy. They may ask. You don’t know.

Anyway, for those who did ask, we say, “good question.”

We sports fans have all heard the term dynasty before, but in most cases it’s linked to teams like the New York Yankees in baseball, and the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Boston Celtics of the NBA. In the NFL, the Packers, Steelers, 49ers, and Patriots immediately jump to mind.

Rarely, if ever, does the term get thrown around for college football teams. “Powerhouse” maybe, but “Dynasty?” Not so much.

Just because no college football program has won three titles in a row, four in the same decade, or 25-plus championships in a 100-year span, well, that’s shouldn’t keep them from earning one of the most respected terms in sports.

Think about it.

To win a bunch of rings in such a short amount of time is next to impossible on the collegiate level due to the fact that there are 1,000 other schools to compete against every season—slight exaggeration, yes—as opposed to the pro leagues that average 30 squads in all. And especially considering college teams need to replace most of their starting players every year or two—slight exaggeration, no.

Heck, with those odds, winning two titles in a decade should earn consideration for the “dynasty” term. Two in three years? That should be a guarantee.

Right, Alabama?

Speaking of which, let’s take today’s Crimson Tide. Under Head Coach Nick Saban they just won their second title in three years. But how?

In short, Saban recruited the heck out of some stellar players a few years back, built a program that he believed in, then taught his philosophy to his team. From there, they went out and dominated on Saturdays without a blemish on their record.

Or the shorter way of saying it, they won a national championship by outplaying 100-plus programs across the country.

But here’s the amazing part. As the team zeroed in on title No. 1, Coach Saban went out and recruited a new set of stellar players in that same time frame, even as his first set of stellar players were still on the team.

Imagine this conversation during his recruiting trips (and we paraphrase here):

“Hey Mr. High School Big Man on Campus Guy, what do you say you come play for me next year, but before you step onto the field, you’ll have to pay your dues by waiting in line behind this other All-American stud guy who’s already on the team? And oh yeah, he’s not going to give up his spot for another year or so, if not longer. You in? But before you answer, know this: we’ll be in title contention by the time you graduate, and you’ll be one of the reasons we’re in the hunt.”

Obviously that’s not what he said word for word—at least we hope not—but that’s essentially what happened. And that’s what every other coach around the country is doing as well. Recruiting hard, then playing even harder.

So after all the countless hours put in, the recruiting trips, and hard-fought games on the field … to see the dream pay off, even only for a year, well, that sounds like a dynasty to us. But to do it twice in a three-year span? Even better.

So while the other leagues have their systems, college football’s road to a dynasty begins with recruiting. Then once that A+ recruiting class is reeled in, it’s up to the coach to put it all together, and the players to play, while at the same time, repeating the process the following year to the highest level of excellence. And the final key factor: winning it all, of course. Plain and simple.

As the ol’ saying goes, dynasties don’t rebuild, they reload.

Right, Alabama?

That said, take a bow Miami of the 80s, Nebraska of the 90s, and USC and Florida from a few seasons ago. Your teams can officially be crowned a “dynasty.” At least to us. 

Sure, there are a few other “dynasty” teams in college football history, but we had to draw the line somewhere.

As it turns out, there are way more dynasties in college football then people realized.

At least to us.