Is this the end for Alabama?

With a gradual attrition of talent to the NFL, is Nick Saban's run of success nearing its end? AP Photo/Dave Martin

When Alabama hired Nick Saban in January 2007, he became the Crimson Tide's fifth full-time head coach in 10 years.

Despite taking over a program with so much recent instability, Saban had Bama sitting atop the polls less than 22 months after his arrival, and in 2009, he led the Tide to an undefeated season and their first national championship since 1992.

An ensuing cover of Sports Illustrated said, "Dynasty -- Can Anyone Stop Alabama?"

At the time, the dynasty talk seemed a little premature for a program that had lost to Louisiana-Monroe just two seasons earlier, but it proved to be prophetic. Saban and the Crimson Tide haven't looked back and are now seeking their third national title in four years.

To some degree, this is uncharted territory, even for a program with Alabama's history. Back in September, Bama reached No. 1 in the AP poll for the fifth straight season, which had been accomplished only one other time in the last 50 years (Miami, 1986-92). And if the Tide can win a third national championship in four years, well, that's been done just twice since the poll era began in 1936 (Notre Dame, 1946-49, and Nebraska, 1994-97).

But how much longer can Saban and Alabama keep this up?