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Mark Edwards: Love Alabama football? I've got the book for you

Bama Dynasty book

"Bama Dynasty by the Numbers" was written by former ESPN insider Brad Edwards, an Alabama graduate.

When Alabama beat Ohio State in last year's national championship game, that marked the 80th straight game in which the Crimson Tide was favored to win.

That's a record, according to data going back to 1976. Whose record did Alabama break? Alabama's, of course. The Tide was favored in 72 straight from 2009-15. That broke a record of 54 straight set by Florida State in 1997-2001.

An even more impressive stat: Alabama also holds the record for being favored in 26 straight games in 2009-2020 when the Tide played teams ranked in the top five. The old record was only seven, belonging to Oklahoma (1984-86) and Florida State (1997-2000).

You want more of this kind of information about Alabama football under Nick Saban? Much more?

Well, I've got the book for you: "Dynasty by the Numbers," a hardback, coffee table-style book by Brad Edwards, an Alabama graduate and former ESPN data and information guru. Using data, Edwards shows you just how dominant Saban's Alabama teams have been — beyond the six national championships.

Full disclosure: Brad and I are not related, but I've known him since he was a student at Alabama, and we're friends. A recent 45-minute conversation about the book essentially devolved into a catch-up session and a chance to discuss our mutual love of analytics, statistics and football information.

More full disclosure: While we talked, I made a mental note to buy Edwards' book, but at the end of the conversation, he offered to give me one, and I accepted.

I'm giving you all this up front so you'll understand my bias.

Still, it's a worthwhile book for an Alabama fan to own.

Edwards tells the story through "data visualization," which essentially means he's using graphs and charts to show the information as well as tell you about it.

The book is heavy on graphs, pictures and information, while using words economically, although the preface and the introduction at the front tell you the story you need to know as you move forward through the book.

"My goal was to restrict the contents to things that should make you say 'Wow!' — numbers that still amaze me, even though I've been looking at them for a long time," Edwards wrote in the preface.

The photos are amazing, that's no surprise, because Edwards relied on Kent Gidley, the talented photographer who has shot for the University of Alabama athletics department going back to the Gene Stallings era in the 1990s. He and other Alabama staff photographers get consistent access that no other shooter or reporter get.

The design by Linda Root Pouder is stunning, too, and she gets proper credit. On the last page, her bio takes up the same space and is presented the same as the one for Edwards.

Edwards grew up in Mississippi and is the son of two Mississippi State alumni. Still, he enrolled at Alabama in 1989 when Bill Curry was the football coach. With time away for internships, he graduated in 1994. He remained one more year as an intern in the sports information office.

He was at Alabama for Stallings' 1992 national championship season and two others in which Stallings' teams finished in the top five.

In 1995, an ESPN producer recommended him for a job with the network, and he spent the next 25 years in Connecticut. When ESPN laid off hundreds last year because of the pandemic-induced economic downturn, Edwards was out of a job.

It's a real loss for the network.

If you've watched ESPN much over the years, you probably remember him. When the Bowl Championship Series was in progress, he became the network's BCS whiz. He made regular appearances on SportsCenter and College Football Gameday, mostly discussing the BCS and how various games would affect the rankings.

From 2009-2020, he served as co-host of ESPN's radio version of College Football Gameday.

He never lost his love of numbers and information, and again, if you're an Alabama fan, that's good for you.

Visit to buy the book. It costs $34.99, but it's a good coffee table book that's worth keeping. Another plus: it should get to you quickly because they're shipped from a warehouse near the Talladega Superspeedway.

If nothing else, check the website, because Edwards has placed 50 videos that are fewer than two minutes each, in which he gives Alabama football trivia.

Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.