In 1956 the Crimson Tide improved somewhat from the year before—but not much. Alabama opened the season with four straight losses by a combined score of 99–26 to Rice, Vanderbilt, TCU and Tennessee. At this point, the all-time school record losing streak ran to 17 consecutive games, and the winless streak reached 20 games back to the 1954 season. Then against Mississippi State, Alabama won a game for the first time since October 16, 1954. The Tide scored with 2½ minutes to go and kicked the extra point to beat Maroons 13–12. After a loss to Georgia Alabama managed a 13–7 victory over Tulane. They then closed the season with a 13–13 tie with Mississippi Southern between losses to Georgia Tech and Auburn.
The Crimson Tide opened the 1956 season with their 14th consecutive loss, while their opponent, the RiceOwls, ended their own seven-game losing streak with their 20–13 victory at Houston. The Owls scored the first touchdown of the game on their opening drive when Frank Ryan threw a 12-yard pass to Buddy Dial. Alabama responded in the final minute of the quarter with a one-yard Clay Walls touchdown run to tie the game at 7–7. Rice then took a 14–7 halftime lead after King Hill threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Williams in the second quarter. After a 17-yard Donald Comstock touchdown run brought the Crimson Tide within a point of the Owls lead, Rice closed the game with an 18-yard Ryan touchdown pass to Dial in the fourth to win 20–13. The loss brought Alabama's all-time record against Rice to 0–3.
In their annual home game at Ladd Stadium, the Crimson Tide were defeated by the VanderbiltCommodores 32–7 to open conference play. After a scoreless first quarter, the Commodores took a 13–0 halftime lead with second-quarter touchdowns scored on a short pass from Donald Orr to Gerald Hudson and later on a three-yard Danny McCall run. Hudson extended the Vandy lead to 19–0 with his three-yard touchdown run before the Crimson Tide scored their only points of the game on a one-yard Donald Comstock touchdown run that made the score 19–7. Vanderbilt then closed the game with a pair of touchdowns on runs of 25-yards by Phil King and three-yards by William Smith to win 32–7. The loss brought Alabama's all-time record against Vanderbilt to 18–16–1.
For the second consecutive season, Alabama played host to the Texas Christian University (TCU) Horned Frogs of the Southwest Conference, and for the second time in as many years lost 23–6. TCU took a 7–0 first quarter lead on a 46-yard Ken Wineburg touchdown run that capped an 81-yard drive. In the second quarter, the Frogs scored on an 11-yard Buddy Dike touchdown run and on a 21-yard Vernon Hallbeck field goal and took a 16–0 halftime lead. After a 41-yard Wineburg run in the third gave TCU a 23–0 lead, Alabama scored their lone points in the fourth on a 10-yard James Loftin touchdown run that made the final score 23–6. The loss brought Alabama's all-time record against TCU to 0–2.
In their annual rivalry game against Tennessee, Alabama was shut out for the second consecutive year by the Volunteers in a 24–0 loss in Knoxville. In the game, Tennessee scored a touchdown in all four quarters. The Vols took a 12–0 halftime lead after Tommy Bronson scored on a three-yard run in the first and Al Carter scored on a 44-yard run in the second. After Johnny Majors scored on a short run to open the third quarter, Carter scored the final touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run that made the final score 24–0. The loss brought Alabama's all-time record against Tennessee to 18–15–5.
On homecoming in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide upset the Mississippi StateMaroons 13–12 at Denny Stadium that ended both a 17-game losing streak that stretched back to the 1954 season and gave Whitworth his first victory as Crimson Tide head coach. The Maroons took a 12–0 first quarter lead on touchdown runs of two-yards by Frank Sabbatini and 22-yards by Billy Stacy. The Crimson Tide responded in the second quarter on a 46-yard Clay Walls touchdown pass to Jimmy Bowdoin that made the halftime score 12–6. After a scoreless third quarter, Walls tied the game 12–12 with his one-yard touchdown run in the fourth. The Pete Reeves extra point that followed gave Alabama the 13–12 victory and ended their 17-game losing streak. The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Mississippi State to 29–9–3.
One week after they won their first game in nearly two years, the Crimson Tide lost to the GeorgiaBulldogs 16–13 at Legion Field. Alabama took a 7–0 lead into halftime after Charles Nelson scored on a one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. After Georgia tied the game 7–7 in the third quarter on an 80-yard J. B. Davis punt return, they took a 10–7 lead early in the fourth quarter after Clenton Cooper kicked a 29-yard field goal. They extended their lead further to 16–7 after a short William Hearn touchdown run, before Alabama scored their final points on a 24-yard Marshall Brown touchdown run that made the final score 16–13. The loss brought Alabama's all-time record against Georgia to 21–17–4.
On the road in New Orleans, the Crimson Tide won their second game of the season with this 13–7 victory over the TulaneGreen Wave. After a scoreless first quarter, Alabama scored both of their touchdowns in the second quarter. Both were scored on one-yard runs, first from Donald Comstock and second from George Salem. After a scoreless third, Tulane made the final score 13–7 on a 29-yard Fred Wilcox touchdown pass to T. Eugene Newton. The victory improved Alabama's all-time record against Tulane to 17–8–2.
In their final non-conference game of the season, Alabama tied the Mississippi SouthernGolden Eagles 13–13 at Denny Stadium. After a scoreless first quarter, Bo Dickinson scored on a 38-yard touchdown run for Southern and then Bobby Smith threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Donald Comstock for Alabama to tie the game 7–7 at halftime. In the third quarter, Smith threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Comstock for the Crimson Tide and the Dickinson scored on a 37-yard touchdown run to again tie the game 13–13, which stood as the final score after a scoreless fourth quarter. The tie brought Alabama's all-time record against Mississippi Southern to 6–2–1.
^ abGriffin, John Chandler (2001). "1956: Howell Tubbs leads Tiger romp over Alabama". Alabama vs. Auburn: Gridiron Grudge Since 1893. Athens, Georgia: Hill Street Press. pp. 151–153. ISBN1-58818-044-1.