This could be the type of thing only math majors will fully understand, but since it involves Alabama Crimson Tide football on the day after yet another national championship, let's give it a try.
The data-based website FiveThirtyEight.com uses statistics in its coverage of politics, sports, pop culture, anything and everything. Its statistical predictions of elections, especially presidential elections, are internet lore and usually spot on. It's owned by ESPN, which is another story altogether. And it uses something called an "ELO rating," which it tries to describe but is still hard to easily grasp since it's not part of sports fans' daily conversation. It's almost like one of those newfangled baseball statistics that crop up each summer.
(As an aside, go up to a friend who knows sports and ask him or her what an "ELO rating" is.)
With that, here's the punchline from FiveThirtyEight:
"Such incredible big-game success has been the cornerstone of the greatest dynasty college football has seen in its modern era. Over the decade from 2008 to 2017, (Nick) Saban’s Alabama teams have posted an average end-of-season rating of +33.0 per year. (Meaning they ended each season 33 points per game better than the typical FBS team, on average.) Go back to the 1988 season — the first year we can calculate Elo — and no other team is especially close to that mark over a 10-year period. What Saban has done towers even over the accomplishments of other great historical coaches such as Bobby Bowden and Tom Osborne."
Now, there's much more of that math-based, statistical analysis at FiveThirtyEight. Bottom line: Alabama football has enjoyed one heck of a decade.
-- Phillip Tutor