Alabama Crimson Tide football
The Alabama Crimson Tide football team represents the University of Alabama in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A), competing as a member of the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Alabama is one of the most storied programs in college football history, claiming 15 national championships and having been coached by the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant for 25 years. Alabama has also recorded 27 conference championships, 23 SEC championships, and holds NCAA records with 59 post-season bowl game appearances, 34 bowl game victories, and 32 ten-win seasons (second to the Oklahoma Sooners). Alabama leads the SEC West Division with its eight appearances in the SEC Championship game. The Associated Press (AP) ranks Alabama 5th in All Time Final AP Poll appearances. With 811 wins over 113 years of football, Alabama ranks 6th all-time in win-loss records in the NCAA.
- 1 History
- 2 Head coaches
- 3 Championships
- 4 Records
- 5 Individual award winners
- 6 Rivalries
- 7 Controversies
- 8 Media
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Early history (1892–1921)
University of Alabama law student William Little learned how to play the new sport of American football while attending prep school in Andover, Massachusetts and began teaching the sport to fellow Alabama students in early 1892. Later in the year, the school formed an official team of 19 players, with Little as captain and E. B. Beaumont as head coach. Also on the team were William Bankhead, future U.S. Speaker of the House, and Bibb Graves, future governor of Alabama. The team was referred to as the "Cadets", the "Crimson White", or simply as "the varsity". In 1895 Alabama joined the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
The team played only one game during the 1897 and 1898 seasons because of a ban restricting student athletes from traveling away from campus. The team resumed play in 1899 after the ban was lifted due to fan and student outcry. Following the 1907 season, the team adopted the "Crimson Tide" nickname. The school did not field a team in 1918 because of World War I, but resumed play once again in 1919.
Rise to prominence (1922–1957)
During the 1922 season the Tide became part of the Southern Conference. Shortly after the season in which he led Alabama in the victory over Penn, head coach Xen Scott died of cancer, and Brown University alumnus Wallace Wade was hired as the new head coach. Intent on building a dynasty after Wade led the team to a Rose Bowl win over Washington, athletics director George Denny took advantage of the team's newfound popularity and began advertising the University of Alabama in metropolitan New York City newspapers. Students, football players and fans alike from the Northeast began enrolling at Alabama at such a rate that by 1930, over one-third of the student body was from out-of-state. Wade led the Crimson Tide to two more national titles before taking the head coaching position at Duke in 1931. The Tide became a charter member of the Southeastern Conference when it was founded in 1933.
Frank W. Thomas, a former quarterback for a Knute Rockne's Notre Dame squad, was hired to replace Wade. Thomas led the team to continued success and two more national championships before health issues forced him to retire after a 14–year tenure as head coach of the program, which did not field a team in 1943 because of World War II. Among the players that Thomas coached were Harry Gilmer, Don Hutson, and Paul "Bear" Bryant.
Harold "Red" Drew followed Thomas as head coach and led the team to a respectable 54–28–7 record over the next eight seasons, though never winning a national championship. Drew's successor, J.B. "Ears" Whitworth, led the Crimson Tide to its worst three-year stretch in school history, posting a 4–24–2 record before being fired following the 1957 season.
Bryant era (1958–1982)
Coach Paul W. "Bear" Bryant is the name most associated with the Crimson Tide football program. His famous houndstooth hat, and images of him leaning against a goalpost while his players warmed up for a game, are instantly recognizable by football fans everywhere.
It was on December 3, 1957, that Bryant informed his players at Texas A&M University, where he was then coaching, that he would be accepting the position of head football coach at his alma mater, the University of Alabama. "Gentlemen, I've heard Mama calling, and now I'm going home" he was reported to have said. From 1978 to 1980, Bryant led the tide to 28 straight victories. He had other winning streaks of 19, 17, 12 and 11 victories.
The key to Bryant's success was that he understood that there was more to a player than a strong arm or fast legs. The building of character was essential to the building of a winning team. "Intentions over the years were to help the players to be better persons every day, to help themselves, to teach a lesson on and off the field," he said.
They were lessons not soon forgotten. Kenny "Snake" Stabler, who quarterbacked Bama to a perfect 11-0 season in 1966, recalled when Coach Bryant suspended him during his junior year. "He made me realize what I was throwing away, and he gave me the opportunity to recapture it," Stabler said.
On December 29, 1982, sports history was made and an era ended with Bryant's final game, the Liberty Bowl. It was the same bowl he had taken the Tide to in his first year as head coach, and his final team defeated Illinois 21-15. With 323 career wins, Bryant was the winningest coach in college football history to that point. At Alabama, he tallied to 232 wins, six national championships, and 24 straight bowl appearances.
"I'd probably croak in a week if I ever quit coaching," Bryant once said. He was close — Bryant died 27 days after he coached his last game.
Recent history (1983–present)
Following the death of Bear Bryant, Alabama has had its high points and its low points. Since the retirement of Bryant, the team has had eight different head coaches: Ray Perkins, Bill Curry, Gene Stallings, Mike DuBose, Dennis Franchione, Mike Price, Mike Shula, and most recently Nick Saban. The Tide has won three national championship during the Saban tenure, in the 2009, 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Following Gene Stallings's retirement in 1996, defensive coordinator Mike DuBose was named head coach. He proved to be an excellent recruiter of defensive linemen, though as a head coach he wasn't as effective. He benefited tremendously from the leadership of Shaun Alexander and Chris Samuels, winning the SEC championship in 1999. Expectations quickly rose for the Tide, which started the 2000 season as high as No. 3 in some polls. The Tide quickly lowered, ending up 3-8, including a last-second loss to Central Florida. DuBose was fired and replaced by an up-and-coming coach from Texas Christian University, Dennis Franchione.
The media-savvy Franchione gained popularity quickly with his coaching style and media-friendly press conferences. He led Alabama to two winning seasons in 2001 and 2002, going 7-5 and 10-3, respectively. However, the rumor was that Franchione was wanting to leave Alabama, and had expressed interest in other jobs, including the Kansas opening. One year later, under much media scrutiny, Franchione left for Texas A&M. After the well-documented Mike Price fiasco, Miami Dolphins quarterbacks coach Mike Shula was hired after a rushed search. It was his first head coaching job at any level. Shula went through many first-year pains, ending up 4-9 after suffering heartbreaking narrow defeats to Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Slight improvement during his second season sent the Alabama Crimson Tide to a 6-6 record and the Music City Bowl, its first bowl in three years. The season started off with great promise as the Tide rolled to a 3-0 start, but ultimately season ending injuries to the entire starting backfield doomed the Tide's chances of any great successes. The 2005 recruiting class was Alabama's first "full" recruiting class since 2001 due to the harsh penalties imposed on the program for NCAA violations under Coach Dubose.
In 2005, Alabama rolled to a 10-2 record including a 13-10 win over pass-happy Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl, however, they failed to beat Auburn University for the fourth straight time. The Tide had trouble scoring at times because of a season-ending injury to Tyrone Prothro, Brodie Croyle's best target and because of poor play on the offensive line. They opened the season with a dominating 9-0 record, including beating the rival Tennessee Volunteers, and the Florida Gators by a score of 31-3. A third-ranked LSU team ended their streak with a home defeat in overtime, and the Tide lost to Auburn in the Iron Bowl the next week after the defense surrendered 21 first quarter points.
2006 was a "rebuilding year" that saw the likes of Croyle and DeMeco Ryans replaced with such players as the young John Parker Wilson. It ended in a disappointing 6-7 record overall and 2-6 in the SEC, including losses of eight points or less to conference opponents Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Auburn. On November 27, 2006, Shula was fired and defensive coordinator Joe Kines was announced as Alabama's interim head coach. Mike Shula finished his career at Alabama as the only Alabama coach ever to lose to Auburn four times in a row.
On January 3, 2007, Nick Saban accepted an offer worth $32 million guaranteed for 8 years to be the next Crimson Tide head coach. Saban was previously the head coach of the Miami Dolphins of the NFL and he has also coached at Louisiana State University, Michigan State University, and University of Toledo.
The national championship in NCAA Division I FBS is the subject of much debate. Alabama claims 15 national championships, of the 20 documented by the NCAA in its list of Past Division I National Champions. Alabama's sports information office claims the following championships:
- 1925 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 1926 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 1930 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 1934 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 1941 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 1961 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 1964 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 1965 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 1973 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 1978 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 1979 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 1992 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 2009 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
- 1892-94, Independent
- 1895-1921, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
- 1922-32, Southern Conference, champion in 1924, 1925, 1926 and 1930
- 1933-present, Southeastern Conference, champion in 1933, 1934, 1937, 1945, 1953, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1989, 1992, 1999, 2009 and 2012.
Alabama has won a total of 27 conference championships, including 23 Southeastern Conference Championships. The school has won more SEC football titles than any other school, with four coming since the conference split into separate divisions adding a Championship Game.
All-time bowl results
Alabama has participated in an NCAA-record 60 bowl games, compiling a bowl record of 35-22-3 through the 2012 season.
|January 1, 1926||Rose Bowl||W||Washington||20||19|
|January 1, 1927||Rose Bowl||T||Stanford||7||7|
|January 1, 1931||Rose Bowl||W||Washington State||24||0|
|January 1, 1935||Rose Bowl||W||Stanford||29||13|
|January 1, 1938||Rose Bowl||L||California||0||13|
|January 1, 1942||Cotton Bowl||W||Texas A&M||29||21|
|January 1, 1943||Orange Bowl||W||Boston College||37||21|
|January 1, 1945||Sugar Bowl||L||Duke||26||29|
|January 1, 1946||Rose Bowl||W||USC||34||14|
|January 1, 1948||Sugar Bowl||L||Texas||7||27|
|January 1, 1953||Orange Bowl||W||Syracuse||61||6|
|January 1, 1954||Cotton Bowl||L||Rice||6||28|
|December 19, 1959||Liberty Bowl||L||Penn State||0||7|
|December 17, 1960||Bluebonnet Bowl||T||Texas||3||3|
|January 1, 1962||Sugar Bowl||W||Arkansas||10||3|
|January 1, 1963||Orange Bowl||W||Oklahoma||17||0|
|January 1, 1964||Sugar Bowl||W||Mississippi||12||7|
|January 1, 1965||Orange Bowl||L||Texas||17||21|
|January 1, 1966||Orange Bowl||W||Nebraska||39||28|
|January 2, 1967||Sugar Bowl||W||Nebraska||34||7|
|January 1, 1968||Cotton Bowl||L||Texas A&M||16||20|
|December 28, 1968||Gator Bowl||L||Missouri||10||35|
|December 13, 1969||Liberty Bowl||L||Colorado||33||47|
|December 31, 1970||Bluebonnet Bowl||T||Oklahoma||24||24|
|January 1, 1972||Orange Bowl||L||Nebraska||6||38|
|January 1, 1973||Cotton Bowl||L||Texas||13||17|
|December 31, 1973||Sugar Bowl||L||Notre Dame||23||24|
|January 1, 1975||Orange Bowl||L||Notre Dame||11||13|
|December 31, 1975||Sugar Bowl||W||Penn State||13||6|
|December 20, 1976||Liberty Bowl||W||UCLA||36||6|
|January 2, 1978||Sugar Bowl||W||Ohio State||35||6|
|January 1, 1979||Sugar Bowl||W||Penn State||14||7|
|January 1, 1980||Sugar Bowl||W||Arkansas||24||9|
|January 1, 1981||Cotton Bowl||W||Baylor||30||2|
|January 1, 1982||Cotton Bowl||L||Texas||12||14|
|December 29, 1982||Liberty Bowl||W||Illinois||21||15|
|December 24, 1983||Sun Bowl||W||Southern Methodist||28||7|
|December 28, 1985||Aloha Bowl||W||USC||24||3|
|December 25, 1986||Sun Bowl||W||Washington||28||6|
|January 2, 1988||Hall of Fame Bowl||L||Michigan||24||28|
|December 24, 1988||Sun Bowl||W||Army||29||28|
|January 1, 1990||Sugar Bowl||L||Miami||25||33|
|January 1, 1991||Fiesta Bowl||L||Louisville||7||34|
|December 28, 1991||Blockbuster Bowl||W||Colorado||30||25|
|January 1, 1993||Sugar Bowl||W||Miami||34||13|
|December 31, 1993||Gator Bowl||W||North Carolina||24||10|
|January 2, 1995||Citrus Bowl||W||Ohio State||24||17|
|January 1, 1997||Outback Bowl||W||Michigan||17||14|
|December 29, 1998||Music City Bowl||L||Virginia Tech||7||38|
|January 1, 2000||Orange Bowl|| L
|December 27, 2001||Independence Bowl||W||Iowa State||14||13|
|December 31, 2004||Music City Bowl||L||Minnesota||16||20|
|January 2, 2006||Cotton Bowl||W||Texas Tech||13||10|
|December 28, 2006||Independence Bowl||L||Oklahoma State||31||34|
|December 30, 2007||Independence Bowl||W||Colorado||30||24|
|January 2, 2009||Sugar Bowl||L||Utah||17||31|
|January 7, 2010||BCS National Championship||W||Texas||37||21|
|January 1, 2011||Capital One Bowl||W||Michigan State||29||7|
|January 9, 2012||BCS National Championship||W||LSU||21||0|
|January 7, 2013||BCS National Championship||W||Notre Dame||42||14|
|Total||59 bowl games||34-22-3||-||-|
Individual award winners
- Heisman Trophy
- Dick Butkus Award
- Lombardi Award
- Outland Trophy
- Jim Thorpe Award
- Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award
- Doak Walker Award
- Alabama has had 107 players honored 125 times as first team All-Americans (51 consensus), including 13 players honored twice and two players (Cornelius Bennett and Woodrow Lowe) who were honored three times. See List of Alabama Crimson Tide football All-Americans.
College Football Hall of Fame Inductees
There have been 19 former players and 4 former coaches of Alabama to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame since it was established in 1951:
- 1951: Don Hutson, Frank W. Thomas
- 1955: Fred Sington, Wallace Wade
- 1956: Don Whitmire
- 1957: Johnny Mack Brown
- 1964: Pooley Hubert
- 1970: Dixie Howell
- 1973: John Cain
- 1983: Lee Roy Jordan
- 1985: Riley Smith
- 1986: Bear Bryant
- 1989: Frank Howard
- 1990: Vaughn Mancha
- 1993: Harry Gilmer
- 1994: Ozzie Newsome
- 1999: John Hannah
- 2000: Johnny Musso
- 2003: Billy Neighbors
- 2005: Cornelius Bennett
- 2009: Woodrow Lowe
- 2010: Gene Stallings
- 2012: Marty Lyons
Alabama's rivalry with the Auburn Tigers is known as the Iron Bowl. The Iron Bowl is considered by many to be one of the greatest college football rivalries. The outcome of the game determines who will have bragging rights in the state of Alabama for the next year. Because the rivalry is so intense, many families, marriages, and other groups are split over their respective teams. The rivalry regularly has implications in the SEC Championship Game, often determining who will represent the West division. The first Iron Bowl was in 1893; however, play between the two schools was suspended after 1907 because of, among other reasons, financial causes. The game has been played annually since play was resumed in 1948. The Iron Bowl is best known for its years of play at Birmingham's Legion Field. Alabama leads the series 40-34-1. Alabama owns the longest winning streak in the series: nine games between 1973 and 1981. Alabama won the 2009 Iron Bowl by a score of 26-21 on the way to their 13th national championship.
Named the "Third Saturday in October", the name refers to its traditional calendar date, but it is no longer exact. From 1995 to 2006, it has only been scheduled for that date four times. However, recently the game has returned to its traditional date, and was played on that weekend in 2007. The rivalry dates back to the 1920s, when legendary Tennessee coach Robert Neyland began challenging Alabama's perennial role atop the conference (Southern and SEC) standings. In the 1950s, Bear Bryant started the tradition of passing out victory cigars after a victory over Tennessee, but since the 1990s, both teams now typically celebrate a victory in this way. There have been some long streaks in the series. Alabama had an 11 game streak broken in 1982 when Johnny Majors led the Vols to an upset victory over Bear Bryant and the Tide. Alabama had another long winning streak, this time 7 games, from 1986 to 1992. In 1993 there was a tie on a last second touchdown and two point conversion by David Palmer. The Tide won again in 1994, but the streak was broken by Tennessee in 1995, when the Vols led by coach Phillip Fulmer and QB Peyton Manning beat the Tide by a score of 41-14. Tennessee began their own streak, from 1995 to 2001, broken by a 34-14 Alabama victory at Neyland Stadium. Alabama leads the all-time series 47-38-7.
Alabama versus LSU is a rivalry within the SEC. It began with an Alabama victory in Baton Rouge in 1971. Alabama would not lose in Baton Rouge again until LSU won, 30-28, in 2000. Since 1992's conference alignment, Alabama and LSU compete annually for the SEC West title. This has increased an existing rivalry between these two traditional football powerhouses. The significance of this rivalry increased greatly with Alabama's hiring of former LSU coach Nick Saban. Alabama leads the all-time series 46-25-5.
During the 2000 season, Milton Kirk, an assistant football coach at Trezevant High School in Memphis, Tennessee, claimed that an Alabama booster, Logan Young, paid Trezevant head coach, Lynn Lang, $200,000 to encourage defensive lineman Albert Means to sign with Alabama. The investigation that followed led to five years' probation, a two-year bowl ban, and reduced the number of football scholarships Alabama could award by 21. The investigation involved a secret witness, who was later found to be Phillip Fulmer, the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.
- Radio Flagship: WACT-AM 1420(960) and WRTR-FM 105.9(99.5) in Tuscaloosa
- Broadcasters: Eli Gold ("Voice of the Crimson Tide"), Ken Stabler (Color Analyst), Tom Roberts (Sideline Reporter), Butch Owens (Spotter) and Brian Roberts (Statistician)
- Alabama Crimson Tide football. (April 29, 2008). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 1, 2008.