Alabama Crimson Tide football

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Alabama Crimson Tide logo 2002.jpg

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 17 national championships. Alabama has also recorded 31 conference championships, 27 SEC championships, and holds NCAA records with 70 post-season bowl game appearances, 41 bowl game victories, and 38 ten-win seasons (second to the Oklahoma Sooners). Alabama leads the SEC West Division with its twelve appearances in the SEC Championship game. The Associated Press (AP) ranks Alabama 5th in All Time Final AP Poll appearances. With 905 wins over 124 years of football, Alabama ranks 6th all-time in win-loss records in the NCAA.

Alabama plays its home games at Bryant-Denny Stadium, located on-campus in Tuscaloosa.


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.

1942 Cotton Bowl

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, University president 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.

Bear Bryant

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.

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.

Head coaches


National Championships

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:

Conference affiliations

Alabama has won a total of 31 conference championships, including 27 Southeastern Conference Championships. The school has won more SEC football titles than any other school, with eight coming since the conference split into separate divisions adding a Championship Game.


All-time bowl results

Alabama has participated in an NCAA-record 70 bowl games, compiling a bowl record of 41-26-3 through the 2018 season.

Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PA
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
Michigan 34 35
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
January 2, 2014 Sugar Bowl L Oklahoma 31 45
January 1, 2015 Sugar Bowl L Ohio State 35 42
December 31, 2015 Cotton Bowl W Michigan State 38 0
January 11, 2016 CFP National Championship W Clemson 45 40
December 31, 2016 Peach Bowl W Washington 24 7
January 9, 2017 CFP National Championship L Clemson 31 35
January 1, 2018 Sugar Bowl W Clemson 24 6
January 8, 2018 CFP National Championship W Georgia 26 23
December 29, 2018 Orange Bowl W Oklahoma 45 34
January 7, 2019 CFP National Championship L Clemson 16 44
Total 70 bowl games 41-26-3 - -

Individual award winners

  • Heisman Trophy
Mark Ingram Jr - 2009
Derrick Henry - 2015
DeVonta Smith - 2020
  • Chuck Bednarik Award
Jonathan Allen - 2016
Minkah Fitzpatrick - 2017
  • Fred Biletnikoff Award
Amari Cooper - 2014
Jerry Jeudy - 2018
DeVonta Smith - 2020
  • Dick Butkus Award
Derrick Thomas - 1988
Rolando McClain - 2009
C.J. Mosley - 2013
Reuben Foster - 2016
  • Lombardi Award
Cornelius Bennett - 1986
Jonathan Allen - 2016
  • Walter Camp Award
Tua Tagovailoa - 2018
DeVonta Smith - 2020
  • Maxwell Award
AJ McCarron - 2013
Derrick Henry - 2015
Tua Tagovailoa - 2018
DeVonta Smith - 2020
  • Bronko Nagurski Award
Jonathan Allen - 2016
  • Outland Trophy
Chris Samuels - 1999
Andre Smith - 2008
Barrett Jones - 2011
Cam Robinson - 2016
Quinnen Williams - 2018
Alex Leatherwood - 2020
  • Rimington Trophy
Barrett Jones - 2012
Ryan Kelly - 2015
  • Jim Thorpe Award
Antonio Langham - 1993
Minkah Fitzpatrick - 2017
  • Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award
Jay Barker - 1994
AJ McCarron - 2013
Mac Jones - 2020
  • Doak Walker Award
Trent Richardson - 2011
Derrick Henry - 2015
Najee Harris - 2020
  • All-Americans
Alabama has had 131 players honored 157 times as first team All-Americans (74 consensus), including 18 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 21 former players and 4 former coaches of Alabama to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame since it was established in 1951:



Main article: Iron Bowl

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 46-36-1. Alabama owns the longest winning streak in the series: nine games between 1973 and 1981.


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.


NCAA Sanctions

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.



  1. ^ NCAA forfeited Alabama's eight regular season victories and one tie in 1993.
  2. ^ Pending appeal, NCAA vacated 21 victories, including the 2005 Cotton Bowl Classic, during the 2005-2007 seasons.


External links