Alabama Crimson Tide football
|Alabama Crimson Tide football|
|Athletic director||Bill Battle|
|Head coach||Nick Saban
9th year, 86–17 (.835)
|Other staff||See Coaching staff section|
|Home stadium||Bryant–Denny Stadium|
|Stadium surface||Natural grass|
|Division||SEC Western Division
|All-time record||850–325–43 (.716)|
|Postseason bowl record||34–24–3 (.582)|
|Playoff record||0–1 (.000)|
|Claimed national titles||15 (1925, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1941, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011, 2012)|
|Unclaimed national titles||4 (1945, 1966, 1975, 1977)|
|Conference titles||28 (4 Southern Conference; 24 SEC)|
Crimson and White
|Fight song||Yea Alabama|
|Mascot||Elephant (Big Al)|
|Marching band||Million Dollar Band|
The Alabama Crimson Tide football team represents the University of Alabama (variously Alabama, UA, or 'Bama) in the sport of American football. The Crimson Tide competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The team is currently coached by Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide is among the most storied and decorated football programs in NCAA history. Since beginning play in 1892, the program recognizes 15 of the national championships awarded to the team, including 10 wire-service (AP or Coaches) national titles in the poll-era, the most of any current FBS program. From 1958 to 1982, the team was led by Hall of Fame coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, who won six national championships with the program. Despite numerous national and conference championships, it was not until 2009 that an Alabama player received a Heisman Trophy, when running back Mark Ingram became the university's first winner.
As of the completion of the 2014 season, Alabama has 850 official victories[a][b] in NCAA Division I (an additional 21 victories were vacated and 8 victories and 1 tie were forfeited), has won 28 conference championships (4 Southern Conference and 24 SEC championships) and has made an NCAA-record 61 postseason bowl appearances. Other NCAA records include 23 10-game or more winning streaks and 19 seasons with a 10–0 start. The program has had 34 10-win seasons (plus one vacated), and has 35[b] bowl victories, both NCAA records. Alabama has completed 10 undefeated seasons, 9 of which were perfect seasons. The Crimson Tide leads the SEC West Division with ten division titles and nine appearances in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama holds a winning record against every current and former SEC school. The Associated Press (AP) ranks Alabama 4th in all-time final AP Poll appearances, with 51 through the 2013 season.
Alabama plays its home games at Bryant–Denny Stadium, located on the campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. With a capacity of 101,821, Bryant-Denny is the 10th largest non-racing stadium in the world and the seventh largest stadium in the United States, behind only Michigan Stadium, Beaver Stadium (Penn State), Kyle Field (Texas A&M), Neyland Stadium (Tennessee), Ohio Stadium (Ohio State), and Tiger Stadium (LSU).
- 1 History
- 1.1 Head coaching history
- 1.2 Early history (1892–1905)
- 1.3 Early 1900s
- 1.4 Wade and Thomas (1923–1946)
- 1.5 Drew and Whitworth (1947–1957)
- 1.6 Paul "Bear" Bryant era (1958–1982)
- 1.7 Perkins and Curry (1983–1989)
- 1.8 Gene Stallings era (1990–1996)
- 1.9 DuBose and Franchione (1997–2002)
- 1.10 Mike Shula (2003–2006)
- 1.11 Nick Saban era (2007–present)
- 2 Championships
- 3 Individual accomplishments
- 4 Rivalries
- 5 All-time record vs. current SEC teams
- 6 Bowl games
- 7 Alabama and the NFL
- 8 Current coaching staff
- 9 Controversies
- 10 Media
- 11 Future opponents
- 12 See also
- 13 Notes
- 14 References
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
Head coaching history
Alabama has had 28 head coaches since organized football began in 1892. Adopting the nickname "Crimson Tide" after the 1907 season, the team has played more than 1,100 games in their 114 seasons. In that time, 12 coaches have led the Crimson Tide in postseason bowl games: Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Harold D. "Red" Drew, Bear Bryant, Ray Perkins, Bill Curry, Gene Stallings, Mike DuBose, Dennis Franchione, Mike Shula, Joe Kines, and Nick Saban. Eight of those coaches also won conference championships: Wade, Thomas, Drew, Bryant, Curry, Stallings, DuBose, and Saban. During their tenures, Wade, Thomas, Bryant, Stallings, and Saban all won national championships with the Crimson Tide.
Of the 27 different head coaches who have led the Crimson Tide, Wade, Thomas, Bryant, and Stallings have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The current head coach is Nick Saban, who was hired in January 2007.
Early history (1892–1905)
University of Alabama law student William G. Little learned how to play 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. Among those also on the team were William B. 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".
On November 11, 1892, the team played its first game at a baseball park in Birmingham, Alabama, winning 56–0 against a team composed of players from local Birmingham-area high schools. Alabama lost to both Auburn and Sewanee in 1893. After a winless campaign, Eli Abbott, who played for the team in 1892, returned as a player-coach and led the 1894 squad. Alabama opened the season with a loss against Ole Miss in what was its first game ever played outside the state of Alabama. The Crimson White then rebounded and won their final three games. After a victory over Tulane at New Orleans, Alabama returned to Birmingham where they defeated Sewanee in their only home game of the season. They then closed the year with their first all-time win over Auburn at Montgomery.
In spring 1895, the University Board of Trustees passed a rule that prohibited athletic teams from competing off-campus for athletic events. As such, all games scheduled for the 1896 season were played on campus at The Quad. In their first game, Alabama shutout the Birmingham Athletic Club before they lost their only game of the season against Sewanee. The Crimson White then closed the season with their second shutout victory of the year against Mississippi A&M.
The team played only one game during the 1897 season and did not field a team for the 1898 season 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.
1905 saw two All-Southerns for Alabama in Auxford Burks and T. S. Sims. "The overworked Burks, who appeared to bear the entire brunt of Alabama's offense," collapsed on the field during the second half of a 12 to 5 loss to Georgia Tech. Burks scored in the 30 to 0 victory over Auburn in what was then the largest crowd ever to see a game in Birmingham (4,000). He was said to be the school's "first running back hero."
Alabama was coached by Pollard from 1906 to 1909. The 1906 team lost all its games but one, its most lopsided ever, a 78 to 0 victory by Vanderbilt. Burks scored all of the points in the 1906 Iron Bowl. Auburn contended Alabama player Sims was an illegal player. The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) denied the claim. Following the 1907 season, the team adopted the "Crimson Tide" nickname. The victory over LSU in 1907 at Monroe Park marked the first ever Alabama home game played in Mobile. Jack Reidy returned a kickoff for 75 yards and the touchdown with 20 seconds left to give Alabama the win.
In 1909, Alabama had six consecutive shutouts to go 5–0–1 before they surrendered their first touchdown against Tulane in their 5–5 tie. Alabama completed their season with a 12–5 loss to defending SIAA champion LSU at Birmingham to finish 5–1–2.
Alabama was coached by Graves from 1911 to 1914. 1912 saw quarterback Farley Moody make All-Southern teams. In the Georgia game that season, the Bulldogs ran a trick play in which they threw the ball to a receiver who was dressed as a waterboy, on the field, carrying a bucket. The play did not prove decisive, as Georgia fumbled the ball away soon after, but the Bulldogs won the game after they recovered a botched Alabama field goal and scored in the final minutes.
Alabama was coached by Kelley from 1915 to 1917. Bully Van de Graaff who punted, kicked, and played tackle, was Alabama's first All-American in 1915. Bully's brothers Adrian and Hargrove were also prominent Alabama football players in their day. Their younger brother was Robert J. Van de Graaff, inventor of the Van de Graaff generator which produces high voltages. In 1915, Thomas Kelley coached only the first half of season (4–0) before he came down with typhoid fever. Athletic director B. L. Noojin and former Alabama quarterback Farley Moody took over the head coaching duties for the remaining four games of the season. The 2–2 mark achieved in Kelly's absence is still credited to his record at Alabama of 17–7–1. Tram Sessions made the composite All-Southern of 1917.
The school did not field a team in 1918 because of World War I, but resumed play once again in 1919 under coach Xen C. Scott. Arguably the best season under Scott was his first, in which the team lost its only game to Vanderbilt and set a school record for victories in a season with 8–1 record. The 1919 team was led by All-Southerns Ike Rogers, Mullie Lenoir, and Riggs Stephenson. The next season the Tide went 10–1 suffering its only loss 14–21 at the hands of Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) champion Georgia. Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Joe Sewell also played for Scott.
Alabama joined the newly formed Southern Conference in 1922. Shortly after the end of the 1922 season in which he led Alabama to a 9–7 upset victory over Penn, head coach Scott resigned due to a case of cancer of the mouth and tongue which was soon to kill him. An account of the drive to beat Penn: "Alabama came back strong in the second quarter on the back of leader Charles Bartlett. Bartlett drove the team down the field on most notably a 22 yard run from the 27 that put the ball on the Penn 4 yard line. Pooley Hubert went in the rest of the way but fumbled the ball in the endzone. Shorty Propst recovered the ball and gave Alabama the 9-7 lead that they would never give up." The next week Alabama beat LSU 47–3 in what was then the largest crowd ever to witness a game at Denny Field. Bartlett was given honorable mention on the All-America team of Walter Camp.
Wade and Thomas (1923–1946)
Shortly after head coach Xen Scott's death, Brown University alum and Vanderbilt assistant Wallace Wade was hired as the new head coach. While Wade assisted Dan McGugin at Vanderbilt the Commodores went 15-0-2 over two seasons.
The team saw success quickly, losing just one southern game in his first year when Florida upset the Tide to close the season. The 1924 team won the Southern Conference, upset by Centre in its only loss. In 1925, Wade would lead the team to an undefeated season capped with a Rose Bowl win over Washington for the team's first national championship. The win later became known as "the game that changed the South." Intent on building a dynasty, 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 in 1926 and 1930.
Wade was under fire after lackluster seasons in 1928 and 1929, which included narrow losses to Robert Neyland's Tennessee Volunteers. Wade submitted his resignation on April 30, with the caveat that he coach next season. Tailback John Suther described the feeling before the Tennessee game that year, which Alabama won 18–6. "Coach Wade was boiling mad. He was like a blood-thirsty drill sergeant anyway, and those critics made him more fiery … He challenged us to help him shut up the loudmouths that were making his life miserable." Wade took the head coaching position at Duke in 1931. Wade finished his career at Alabama with an overall record of 61-13-3. Wade coached Hall of Fame player Pooley Hubert. Other notable players included Johnny Mack Brown, Hoyt Winslett, Fred Pickhard, Fred Sington, and Herschel Caldwell.
In 1931, Frank Thomas left his post as an assistant coach at Georgia and accepted the head coaching job at Alabama, where he established himself as one of the top coaches in the nation. His bowl record at Alabama was 4–2, with wins at the Rose Bowl (1935, 1946), Cotton Bowl Classic (1942), and Orange Bowl (1943). He coached future Hall of Fame coach Paul "Bear" Bryant during his time as Alabama's head coach. Other notable players included Don Hutson, Vaughn Mancha, Harry Gilmer, Johnny Cain, and Riley Smith. Alabama would join the Southeastern Conference in 1933, winning the conference's first championship. Thomas would lead Alabama to two more national championships in 1934 and 1941 before health issues related to his smoking habits forced him to retire after a 14-year tenure as head coach of the program. Alabama did not field a team in 1943 because of World War II. Thomas led Alabama to a 115–24–7 overall record.
Drew and Whitworth (1947–1957)
In January 1947, Harold Drew was hired as the head football coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide. In his first year, "Red" Drew led the 1947 Alabama team to an 8–3 record, a berth in the 1948 Sugar Bowl, and a number eight ranking in the final AP poll. In November 1948, he led Alabama to a victory over Georgia Tech that The Tuscaloosa News called "the upset of the season." In November, he led the Crimson Tide to a 55–0 victory over Auburn, a score which remains the most lopsided in the history of the Alabama–Auburn football rivalry. In August 1951, Drew led the East team to a 15–6 victory in the Third Annual All-American High School game in Memphis. He also led the 1952 team to a 10-1-2 record and a 61–6 victory over Syracuse in the 1953 Orange Bowl. Alabama's 55-point margin of victory remains the largest in the history of the Orange Bowl; it was also the highest point total in Orange Bowl history until West Virginia scored 70 points in the 2012 Orange Bowl. When the Orange Bowl bid was announced in November 1952, former Alabama athletes organized to urge the University to sign Drew to a long-term contract, and The Tuscaloosa News reported:
The invitation also is a fine tribute to Coach Harold (Red) Drew and his staff. We doubt if there is a coaching staff in the country that has done a better job than the one done by the Crimson Tide staff in getting Alabama ready for the Georgia Tech and Maryland games.
Drew was selected as the SEC Coach of the Year in 1952, and he was given a two-year contract extension in December of that year. The following year, he led the 1953 team to a Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship and a berth in the 1954 Cotton Bowl Classic. However, the 1954 team finished in sixth place in the SEC with a 4–5–2 record. With the poor showing of the 1954 team, rumors began to spread that Drew would not return as the head coach. On December 2, 1954, Drew was fired as the head coach and replaced with J. B. Whitworth. Drew was retained as Alabama's head track coach and associate professor of physical education. Drew stayed on as Alabama's track coach for 23 seasons and through at least 1964.
At the end of his tenure as Alabama's head football coach, Drew's salary was reported to have been about $12,000 per year. In eight years as Alabama's head football coach, Drew compiled a 51-28-7 record. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1970.
Alabama had grown into a major football power and enjoyed consistent success over the past three decades, but Drew's successor, J.B. "Ears" Whitworth, would lead the Crimson Tide to its worst three-year stretch in school history. From 1955 to 1957, Whitworth coached Alabama, where he posted a 4–24–2 record that included a 14-game losing streak from 1955 to 1956. In his first year at Alabama, Whitworth was only allowed to hire only two of his own coaches and forced to retain the rest of former coach Harold Drew's assistants. This included athletic director Hank Crisp, Whitworth's boss, who was in charge of the defense. Whitworth brought assistant coach Moose Johnson with him from Oklahoma A&M. Following successive 2–7–1 seasons in 1956 and 1957, Whitworth was fired and replaced by Bear Bryant.
Paul "Bear" Bryant era (1958–1982)
Paul William "Bear" Bryant came to the Crimson Tide program in December 1957, after leaving his head coaching position at Texas A&M. On December 8, five days after leaving A&M, Bryant was asked why he left for Alabama. Bryant replied, "Mama called, and when Mama calls, then you just have to come running." Bryant entered an Alabama program which had not had a winning record in four seasons. However, in his first season, Bryant led Alabama to a 5–4–1 record—one more win than Alabama had in the previous three seasons. In his fourth season, Bryant led the Crimson Tide to their sixth national championship which included Bryant's first bowl victory with Alabama. Between 1961 to 1966, Alabama went 60–5–1, which included three national championships (1961, 1964, 1965), four Southeastern Conference Championships, two undefeated seasons, and six bowl berths.
Throughout the 1970s, the Crimson Tide was one of the most dominant teams in college football. During the decade the program posted a record of 103-16-1, winning eight SEC titles and three national championships (1973, 1978, 1979). The very first game of the decade was notable, as the team was thoroughly defeated by the USC Trojans in Birmingham 42–21. This is the game that is generally credited as the catalyst to end segregation in college football. The following season, John Mitchell, an African-American transfer from Eastern Arizona Junior College, played in the rematch, a game that Alabama won 17–10 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In that game, Mitchell became the first black player to start for the Tide. Alabama was among the last schools in college football to integrate African-American players.
Bryant was not only loved by the people in and around the state of Alabama and the southeastern U.S., but by coaches all over the nation. John McKay, the legendary USC coach, had these words to say about Bryant. "He was not just a coach, he was the coach". Another quote about Bryant, from Bob Devaney, former Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach, is "He was simply the best there ever was." Bryant's final game as head coach of Alabama came in the 1982 Liberty Bowl. Bryant's retirement made the Liberty Bowl one of the most covered games that season as many news stations and newspapers sent reporters to cover the game. Alabama earned a 21–15 victory over Illinois.
During his tenure at Alabama, Bryant led Alabama to a 232–46–9 record. His achievements included 6 national championships, 13 Southeastern Conference titles, 24 bowl appearances, and 12 bowl victories. In his 25 seasons, he led the Crimson Tide to 24 consecutive bowl appearances. At the time of his retirement, Bryant had recorded an NCAA record 323 wins.
Bryant once said if he retired that he would "probably croak in a week" and said, "I imagine I'd go straight to the graveyard." Four weeks after coaching his final game, Bear Bryant died of a heart attack on January 26, 1983.
Perkins and Curry (1983–1989)
Former New York Giants head coach Ray Perkins replaced Bryant, under whom he played in the early 1960s. In his first season head coach, Alabama finished the regular season at 7–4, just as it had done in the previous year. In the Sun Bowl, Alabama upset the #5-ranked SMU Mustangs 28–7. His second season was far less successful, as Alabama endured their first losing season in 28 years with a 5–6 record, failing to qualify for a bowl game. In 1985, the team fared much better than the previous season, finishing with a 9–2–1 record. Following a dramatic victory over Auburn, the Tide went on to defeat Southern California in the Aloha Bowl. The 1986 season, Alabama went 10–3 as they defeated Notre Dame for the first time in school history, and ended a losing streak versus rival Tennessee. In the season finale in the Sun Bowl, Alabama won 28–6 over the Washington Huskies.
Perkins accumulated a 32–15–1 record during his tenure before deciding to leave for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Perkins held the distinction of being the only head coach to lead Alabama to a victory over the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame for nearly thirty years, a feat Bear Bryant could never accomplish.
Bill Curry left his alma mater Georgia Tech and accepted the job as head coach at the University of Alabama. There he posted a record of 26–10, won a share of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) title in 1989 and made bowl appearances every year of his three-year tenure, the 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl after the 1987 season, the 1988 Sun Bowl after the 1988 season and the 1990 Sugar Bowl after the 1989 season. In September 1988, he refused to fly his Alabama team to play Texas A&M because of fears that Hurricane Gilbert would harm his players. The hurricane never reached Texas A&M at College Station, Texas, and Aggies coach Jackie Sherrill claimed Curry used the threat of weather as an excuse because his quarterback was injured. The game was rescheduled for December 1, when Alabama routed A&M, 30–10. Curry also suspended Alabama quarterback Jeff Dunn for breaking team rules prior to the 1988 Sun Bowl against Army. Curry was honored in 1989 as the SEC Coach of the Year and received the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award.
With all the success the Crimson Tide were having, most believed Curry would remain at Alabama for a long time as the head coach. However, tensions within the athletic department, particularly issues with Curry's contract, and three straight losses against arch-rival Auburn led Curry to resign so that he could go on to become head coach for Kentucky. This move shocked the college football world. Curry later was the head coach of the Georgia State Panthers.
Gene Stallings era (1990–1996)
Alabama sought someone with ties to Paul Bryant by hiring Gene Stallings, who had been recently fired as head coach of the Phoenix Cardinals. Stallings had been a member of the Junction Boys, a group of players who trained under Bryant during his tenure at Texas A&M. As Head Coach of Texas A&M, Stallings had led the Aggies to a 20-16 victory over Bryant's 1967 team in the 1968 Cotton Bowl, after which Bear Bryant carried him off the field to celebrate the victory of his former player. In his first season, the Tide lost their first three games, but rebounded to finish off the season with a 7–5 record which included a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. Alabama lost to Louisville 34–7. The following season proved to be much more successful. Alabama finished with an 11–1 record, losing to SEC Champion Florida Gators 35-0, but defeating rivals Tennessee and Auburn. Alabama finished the regular season with nine consecutive victories and defeated defending national champion Colorado 30–25 in the Blockbuster Bowl.
In just his third season as head coach, Alabama was unbeaten in the regular season, and recorded three shutout victories en route to the inaugural SEC Championship Game. Alabama avoided an upset with a late interception by Antonio Langham, who returned it for a touchdown to secure a 28–21 victory over the Florida Gators. With the victory and SEC Championship, Alabama was invited to the 1993 Sugar Bowl to face the unbeaten Miami Hurricanes, who entered with a 29-game winning streak and that year's Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Gino Torretta. Despite Miami being favored by 8 points, Crimson Tide routed the Hurricanes 34–13 and finished a perfect 13–0. The victory earned Alabama its 12th national championship—the first since the Bryant era. The victory earned Alabama the first of its four crystal football Coaches' trophy awards.
The Crimson Tide were forced to forfeit eight victories and one tie achieved during the 9–3–1 1993 season in games participated in by senior cornerback Antonio Langham. The NCAA ruled before Alabama's bowl game that year that Langham had violated NCAA rules by allegedly signing with an agent after the previous season.
Stallings' Alabama team was in contention for another national title in 1994. They defeated Tennessee and Auburn en route to an undefeated regular season before losing the SEC Championship Game to the #3-ranked Florida. Alabama finished 12–1 after defeating Ohio State in the Citrus Bowl. Alabama finished ranked #5 in the AP Poll.
In 1996 Stallings led the team to a 10–3 record, a victory over Auburn, and a victory over Michigan in the Outback Bowl. The 1996 season was Stallings' last season before retirement. Stallings finished his tenure at Alabama with an impressive 70–16–1 on the field record.
DuBose and Franchione (1997–2002)
Following Gene Stallings's retirement in 1996, defensive coordinator Mike DuBose was promoted to the head coaching position. In 1997, DuBose's first season at Alabama, the Crimson Tide won its first two games and rose as high as #11 in the AP Poll. However, the loss of 30 scholarships removed the team's ability to compete consistently. Alabama lost seven of the last nine games, including their first loss to Kentucky since 1922. Alabama also lost to Tennessee, LSU, and, in an upset, to Louisiana Tech. In the 1997 Iron Bowl Alabama lost after they led 17–15 with less than a minute to go. Faced with third down and long, Alabama ran a screen pass, which resulted in a fumble. Auburn recovered the fumble and kicked the game-winning field goal. DuBose reacted by firing four assistants including the ones who called the final play, Bruce Arians and Woody McCorvey. The Tide finished with the school's worst record since 1957. In his second season, Dubose led Alabama to a 7-5 record, which included a 31-17 win over Auburn. In his third season, DuBose led Alabama to a 10-3 record, including an upset win over the #3-ranked Florida Gators in the regular season, an SEC West Division Championship, and a 34-7 victory over Florida in the SEC Championship. Alabama represented the SEC in the BCS Orange Bowl, losing to the Michigan Wolverines in overtime. With the 1999 success, Alabama began their 2000 season as high as No. 3 in some polls. The expectations went unfulfilled as the Tide slumped to a 3–8 record and news broke about an affair DuBose was having with his secretary. Following the season, DuBose was fired replaced by an up-and-coming coach from TCU, Dennis Franchione.
Dennis Franchione became the head coach at the University of Alabama in 2001 and led the team, which had posted a 3–8 record the prior season, to a 7–5 record in 2001 and a 10–3 record in 2002. The 2001 team won the Independence Bowl, which became Alabama's first bowl win after five seasons. The 2002 team finished with a 6–2 conference record, placing first in the West Division of the Southeastern Conference. However, due to NCAA sanctions resulting from violations of the previous Alabama head coach, Mike DuBose, the 2002 team was ineligible for postseason games, including the SEC Championship Game. The turnaround success Franchione made prompted Alabama officials to offer Franchione a 10-year contract extension worth $15 million. Franchione, however, did not sign the offer. Following Alabama's victory over the University of Hawaii and the dismissal of Texas A&M head coach R. C. Slocum, Franchione resigned at Alabama and was named head coach at Texas A&M after publicly stating that he would not leave. His decision was influenced by the NCAA sanctions placed on Alabama, which included a two-year bowl ban, the loss of 21 scholarships over three years, and five years probation. Franchione did not return to Alabama after interviewing for the job, instead informing his players of his decision to accept the job at Texas A&M via video teleconference. Many Alabama fans noted the similarities between Franchione's departure from TCU and how he left Alabama. His departure from Alabama, and his use of video conferencing to inform his players and staff remains, as does his departure at TCU, somewhat controversial.
Mike Price controversy
On December 18, 2002, Alabama announced that Washington State head coach Mike Price was to be the next coach for the Crimson Tide program. However, in May 2003, Price was removed from his position as the head coach, following a controversy.
Mike Shula (2003–2006)
Less than a week later, Alabama hired Mike Shula, a former Alabama quarterback and then-quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins. Alabama had reportedly been searching mainly for former Alabama players, including considering Sylvester Croom.
With the difficult offseason, the Shula-led Crimson Tide finished 4–9 in 2003. Bama's 2004 team finished the regular season with a 6–6 record and made their first bowl appearance in three seasons. It was also the first season the team began playing all their home games exclusively at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In previous years, the Tide had played many of their biggest home games at Legion Field in Birmingham. During the offseason, Alabama once again was able to gain a "full" recruiting class, following a probation by the NCAA which occurred in 2001 resulting from recruiting violations that occurred during Dubose's tenure. In Shula's third season, Alabama rolled to a 10–2 record, ending with a 13–10 victory in the 2006 Cotton Bowl. However, the following season, Alabama struggled to find consistency. The team ended with a 6–7 overall record, losing every road game of the season. Shula was terminated as head coach of the program, having been the only head coach at Alabama to lose four consecutive games to Auburn. Shula finished his tenure at Alabama with a 26–23 record, however the Tide was later forced to vacate the ten wins from 2005 and six wins from 2006 due to NCAA violation from improper use of textbooks.
Nick Saban era (2007–present)
On January 3, 2007, Nick Saban left the NFL's Miami Dolphins and accepted an offer worth US$32 million guaranteed for eight years to be the next Crimson Tide head coach. In his first season, Saban led the Crimson Tide to a 7–6 record. A promising 6–2 start gave way to ending the regular season with four straight losses including an upset loss to Louisiana–Monroe. The team rebounded in its final game, defeating Colorado in the Independence Bowl.
Alabama greatly improved in the following season, posting a 12–0 regular season record and climbing to its first No. 1 ranking in the polls in 16 years, before finishing with back-to-back losses in the SEC Championship Game and the Sugar Bowl to finish the year at 12–2.
In 2009, Nick Saban led Alabama to its second consecutive undefeated regular season (12–0), and won the SEC Championship Game with a victory over the No. 1 ranked Florida Gators to improve to 13–0. On January 7, 2010, Alabama beat Texas 37–21 in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, finishing the season 14–0 and winning Alabama its 13th national championship. Saban joined Pop Warner as the only coach to win National Championships at two different FBS schools.
Entering the 2010 season, Alabama was ranked No. 1, but losses to South Carolina, LSU, and Auburn (the eventual 2010 National Champion) gave Saban's Tide a regular season record of 9–3. Alabama was invited to the 2011 Capital One Bowl where they dominated Big 10 Co-Champion Michigan State 49–7 to finish with a 10–3 record.
During the 2011 season the Tide was ranked No. 2 in the first 2011 BCS Poll behind division rival LSU. The Tide suffered their only loss of the season 9-6 in overtime to the LSU Tigers on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa. Alabama finished the regular season 11-1 and ranked No. 2 in the BCS poll, which resulted in Alabama playing No. 1 LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was Alabama's second BCS National Championship Game appearance in three years. Alabama won the game 21–0 behind one of the most dominant defensive performances in bowl history to finish the year 12-1. Alabama held LSU to the second fewest total yardage ever allowed in a BCS National Championship Game. It was the first time in a BCS bowl game that the opponent was held scoreless. In winning Alabama's second national championship in three years, Saban became the first coach to win three BCS titles.
In 2012, the Tide was again ranked No. 2 in preseason polls and rose to No. 1 following their first win over Michigan in the Cowboys Classic. Despite a late season loss to SEC newcomer Texas A&M, Alabama won the SEC West and defeated Georgia in the SEC Championship Game to earn a berth in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game. The Tide then beat the No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 42-14 to finish the season 13–1 and win its second consecutive BCS title and its third in the previous four seasons. The Tide became the first team to win back to back BCS championships and the first team to win three national championships in four seasons since the Nebraska Cornhuskers from 1994–1997.
In 2013, Alabama finished the regular season 11-1, tied for first in the SEC West Division, but did not go to the SEC Championship Game due to a loss to Auburn, the famous "Kick Six" game. A loss to Oklahoma in the 2014 Sugar Bowl brought Alabama's final 2013 record to 11-2.
In 2014, Alabama once again completed its regular season with an 11-1 record and won the SEC West and then the 2014 SEC Championship Game, defeating Missouri 42-13. In the new College Football Playoff, the Tide (as the #1 seed) lost to Ohio State (#4) 42-35 in the 2015 Sugar Bowl.
As of the end of the 2014 season, Saban's official record at Alabama is 86-17 (91-17 overall, with 5 wins from the 2007 season being vacated).
National championships in NCAA FBS college football are debated as the NCAA does not officially award the championship. Despite not naming an official National Champion, the NCAA provides lists of championships awarded by organizations it recognizes. According to the official NCAA 2009 Division I Football Records Book, "During the last 138 years, there have been more than 30 selectors of national champions using polls, historical research and mathematical rating systems. Beginning in 1936, the Associated Press began the best-known and most widely circulated poll of sportswriters and broadcasters. Before 1936, national champions were determined by historical research and retroactive ratings and polls. […] The criteria for being included in this historical list of poll selectors is that the poll be national in scope, either through distribution in newspaper, television, radio and/or computer online."
Since World War II, Alabama only claims national championships awarded by the final AP Poll or the final Coaches' Poll. This policy is consistent with other FBS football programs with numerous national title claims, including Notre Dame, USC, and Oklahoma. All national championships claimed by the University of Alabama were published in nationally syndicated newspapers and magazines, and each of the national championship selectors, and are cited in the Official 2010 NCAA FBS Record Book. In addition to the championships claimed by the university, the NCAA has listed Alabama as receiving a championship for the 1945, 1966, 1975, and 1977 college football seasons.
In Alabama's 1982 media guide, the last for Coach Bryant, 1934 is listed as the only national championship before Coach Bryant in a footnote about the school's SEC history. In the 1980s, Alabama's Sports Information Director Wayne Atcheson started recognizing five pre-Bryant national championship teams (1925, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1941) by adding them to the University's Football Media Guide. According to Atcheson, he made the effort in the context of disputed titles being claimed by other schools, and "to make Alabama football look the best it could look" to compete with the other claimants. Atcheson maintains that the titles are the school's rightful claims.
The University of Alabama 2009 Official Football Media Guide states that Alabama had 12 national championships prior to winning the 2010 BCS National Championship Game. The 2009, 2011 and 2012 titles bring the total number of national championships claimed by Alabama to 15. Ten of Alabama's national championships were awarded by the wire-services (AP, Coaches' Poll) or by winning the BCS National Championship Game.
In January 2013, CNN suggested that Alabama might be college football's new dynasty, and in May 2013, Athlon Sports ranked Alabama's ongoing dynasty as the fourth-best since 1934, behind Oklahoma (1948–58), Miami (1986–92), and Nebraska (1993–97).
National championship seasons
|1925||Wallace Wade||Various||10–0||Won Rose Bowl|
|1926||Wallace Wade||Various||9–0–1||Tied Rose Bowl|
|1930||Wallace Wade||Various||10–0||Won Rose Bowl|
|1934||Frank Thomas||Various||10–0||Won Rose Bowl|
|1941||Frank Thomas||Houlgate Poll||9–2||Won Cotton Bowl Classic|
|1961||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP, Coaches'||11–0||Won Sugar Bowl|
|1964||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP, Coaches'||10–1||Lost Orange Bowl|
|1965||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP||9–1–1||Won Orange Bowl|
|1973||Paul "Bear" Bryant||Coaches'||11–1||Lost Sugar Bowl|
|1978||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP||11–1||Won Sugar Bowl|
|1979||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP, Coaches'||12–0||Won Sugar Bowl|
|1992||Gene Stallings||AP, Coaches'||13–0||Won Sugar Bowl|
|2009||Nick Saban||AP, Coaches'||14–0||Won BCS National Championship Game|
|2011||Nick Saban||AP, Coaches'||12–1||Won BCS National Championship Game|
|2012||Nick Saban||AP, Coaches'||13–1||Won BCS National Championship Game|
- 1925 — The 1925 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Wallace Wade, completed the regular season 9–0–0, winning the Southern Conference championship. Alabama was then invited to play Washington in the January 1, 1926 Rose Bowl. Coach Wade's team initially fell behind the undefeated Huskies, but rallied in the second half to defeat Washington 20–19. The outstanding player of the game was Johnny Mack Brown. This game is viewed by many football historians as the single most important event for Southern football, and is hailed "the football game that changed the South." Alabama was the first Southern football team to be invited to play in the Rose Bowl, and proved that the Southern teams could compete with those from the East, the Midwest and the West coast. The victory for Coach Wallace Wade established Alabama as a football powerhouse. The 1925 Alabama football team finished the season with a 10–0–0 record and was selected national champions by the Football Annual, Billingsley, and the Helms Athletic Foundation.
- 1926 — The 1926 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Wallace Wade, completed the regular season 9–0–0, winning the Southern Conference championship. Alabama was then invited to play Stanford in the January 1, 1927 Rose Bowl. Coach Wade's team tied the Indians 7–7 to finish the season 9–0–1. The outstanding player of the game was Fred Pickhard. The 1926 Alabama football team was selected national champions by Billingsley and the Helms Athletic Foundation.
- 1930 — The 1930 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Wallace Wade, completed the regular season 9–0–0, winning the Southern Conference championship. Alabama was then invited to play Washington State in the January 1, 1931 Rose Bowl. Coach Wade's team defeated the Cougars 24–0 to finish the season 10–0–0. The outstanding player of the game was John Campbell. The 1930 Alabama football team tied with Notre Dame as national champions in the Davis Poll.
- 1934 — The 1934 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Frank Thomas, completed the regular season 9–0–0, winning the Southeastern Conference championship. Alabama was then invited to play Stanford in the January 1, 1935 Rose Bowl. Coach Thomas' team defeated the Indians 29–13 to finish the season 10–0–0. The outstanding player of the game was Millard "Dixie" Howell. The 1934 Alabama football team was selected national champions by Dunkel, Williamson, and Football Thesaurus. The University of Alabama honored Ben McLeod, Jr., the 95-year–old former backup End of the 1934 team at the September 6, 2008 Alabama–Tulane game.
- 1941 — The 1941 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Frank Thomas, completed the regular season 8–2–0. Alabama's squad finished 3rd in the Southeastern Conference. After losing to Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, Alabama finished the regular season ranked No. 20 in the volatile AP Poll. This title is disputed by the program's rivals because of the ranking; however, the onset of World War II changed the college football postseason. Alabama was one of 10 teams chosen for post-season competition when they were invited to play Texas A&M in the January 1, 1942 Cotton Bowl Classic. Coach Thomas' team defeated the Aggies 29–21 to finish the season 9–2–0. The outstanding players of the game were Holt Rast, Don Whitmire, and Jimmy Nelson. The squad was selected national champions by the Houlgate Poll, published in the nationally syndicated Football Thesaurus. The 2009 NCAA Record Book cites the Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Texas Longhorns, and the Alabama Crimson Tide as the three teams selected as national champions in 1941. The Tuscaloosa News described the 1941 Alabama Crimson Tide as the University's best team since the 1934 Rose Bowl Championship Team.
- 1961 — The 1961 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Bear Bryant, completed the regular season 10–0–0, winning the Southeastern Conference championship. Led by quarterback Pat Trammell, linebacker Lee Roy Jordan and two–way lineman Billy Neighbors, Alabama outscored their opponents 297–25. Alabama was then invited to play the #9–ranked Arkansas Razorbacks in the January 1, 1962 Sugar Bowl. Coach Bryant's team defeated the Razorbacks 10–3 to finish the season 11–0–0. The outstanding player of the game was Mike Fracchia. The 1961 Alabama football team was selected national champions by the AP Poll and Coaches' Poll.
- 1964 — The 1964 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Bear Bryant, completed the regular season 10–0–0, winning the Southeastern Conference championship. Alabama was led by quarterback Joe Namath. Alabama was then invited to play the Texas Longhorns in the January 1, 1965 Orange Bowl. Coach Bryant's team lost to the Longhorns 21–17 to finish the season 10–1–0. The outstanding player of the game was Joe Namath. The 1964 Alabama football team was selected national champions by the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll prior to bowl games. The AP Poll waited until after the bowl games to select their champion for the 1965 season.
- 1965 — The 1965 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Bear Bryant, completed the regular season 8–1–1, winning the Southeastern Conference championship. The Tide lost to Georgia and tied Tennessee during the regular season. Alabama was then invited to play Nebraska in the January 1, 1966 Orange Bowl. Coach Bryant's team defeated the Cornhuskers 39–28 to finish the season 9–1–1. The outstanding player of the game was Steve Sloan. The 1965 Alabama football team was selected national champions by the AP Poll.
- 1973 — The 1973 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Bear Bryant, completed the regular season 11–0–0, winning the Southeastern Conference championship. Alabama was then invited to play Notre Dame in the December 31, 1973 Sugar Bowl. Coach Bryant's team lost to the Fighting Irish 24–23 to finish the season 11–1–0. The 1973 Alabama football team was selected national champions in the final regular season Coaches' Poll, which was finalized prior to the post-season bowl games. The Coaches' Poll began selecting their champion after the bowl games starting in 1974. The post-bowl game AP poll ranked Alabama 4th, and selected Notre Dame as its national champion.
- 1978 — The 1978 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Bear Bryant, completed the regular season 10–1–0, winning the Southeastern Conference championship. The Tide defeated #10–ranked Nebraska 20–3, and defeated #11–ranked Missouri 38–20, and lost to #7-ranked Southern California 24-14, during the regular season. The #2-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide was then invited to play the #1–ranked Penn State in the January 1, 1979 Sugar Bowl. Coach Bryant's team defeated the Nittany Lions 14–7 to finish the season 11–1–0. The outstanding player of the game was linebacker Barry Krauss. Alabama was selected national champions by the AP Poll, and Southern California was selected national champion by the Coaches' Poll.
- 1979 — The 1979 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Bear Bryant, completed the regular season 11–0–0, winning the Southeastern Conference championship. The Tide defeated #18–ranked Tennessee 27–17, and defeated #14–ranked Auburn 25–18 during the regular season. Alabama was then invited to play #6–ranked Arkansas in the January 1, 1980 Sugar Bowl. Coach Bryant's team defeated the Razorbacks 24–9 to finish the season 12–0–0. The outstanding player of the game was running back Major Ogilvie. The 1979 Alabama football team was selected national champions by the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll.
- 1992 — The 1992 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Gene Stallings, completed the regular season 11–0–0. They then defeated #12–ranked Florida in the inaugural SEC Championship Game, defeating the Gators 28–21; the win gave Alabama its 20th SEC title and a record of 12–0–0. Alabama was then invited to play #1–ranked Miami, led by Heisman trophy winner Gino Torretta, in the January 1, 1993 Sugar Bowl. Coach Stallings' team defeated the Hurricanes 34–13 to finish the season 13–0–0. The outstanding player of the game was Derrick Lassic. The 1992 Alabama football team was awarded the national championship by the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll.
- 2009 — The 2009 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Nick Saban, finished with a 12–0 regular season. In the 12 wins, the Crimson Tide defeated four teams that were ranked at the time, including an opening day victory over No. 7 Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The team headed back to the Georgia Dome in December to face off against #1 Florida in the SEC Championship Game. The Crimson Tide defeated the Gators 32–13 in a rematch of the previous year's championship. Alabama then traveled to Pasadena to face #2-ranked Texas in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl. Alabama's Heisman Trophy-winning running back, Mark Ingram, rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns in a 37–21 win. This was Alabama's first victory over Texas (1–7–1). Ingram was named the game's offensive MVP in Alabama's first BCS victory. The 2009 Alabama football team was selected national champions by the AP and Coaches' Polls. The 2009 squad became the first FBS division team to defeat six teams ranked in the AP Top 25 during one season and received a record six first team AP All-America selections. The 2009 team finished with a perfect 14–0 record, an all-time highest number of wins in a season for Alabama.
- 2011 — The 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Nick Saban, completed the regular season 11–1. The only loss of the season was to LSU in overtime 9–6. The team did not play in the SEC Championship Game because of that loss, but won convincingly in its final three regular-season games and earned a No. 2 ranking in the BCS poll. For their final regular season game, Alabama defeated rival Auburn 42-14. Alabama, led by Heisman trophy finalist Trent Richardson, then qualified to play No. 1 ranked LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game. Coach Saban's team defeated the Tigers 21–0 and finished the season 12–1. Jeremy Shelley had a bowl record-tying five field goals in the game, and the game's offensive MVP was A.J. McCarron, and the defensive MVP was Courtney Upshaw. With the win, Alabama became the first team to shutout their opponent in a BCS bowl game. In addition to winning the BCS National Championship, the AP also awarded its national title to Alabama for the 8th time.
- 2012 — The 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide football team, coached by Nick Saban, completed the regular season 11–1. The only loss of the season was against Texas A&M 29–24. Despite the loss, Alabama won the SEC Western division and went to the 2012 SEC Championship Game, where they defeated Georgia 32–28 for the 23rd conference championship in school history. Alabama earned a No. 2 ranking in the final BCS rankings for the second straight year and as a result qualified for the 2013 BCS National Championship Game against No. 1 Notre Dame. Alabama defeated the Fighting Irish 42–14, finished the season 13–1, and the game's offensive MVP was Eddie Lacy, and the defensive MVP was C.J. Mosley. Alabama became the third team in history to win three national championships in four years. This is Alabama's 9th AP national championship and 10th wire-service championship.
Alabama has won a total of 28 conference championships; this includes 4 Southern Conference and 24 SEC Championships. Alabama captured its 4 Southern Conference titles in 1924, 1925, 1926, and 1930. Alabama captured the first SEC title in 1933 and has won a total of 24 SEC Championships (1933, 1934, 1937, 1945, 1953, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1989, 1992, 1999, 2009, 2012 and 2014). The school has won more SEC football titles than any other school, with five (1992, 1999, 2009, 2012, 2014) coming since the conference split into separate divisions and added a Championship Game. Alabama is the only SEC school to win an SEC Championship in every decade since the conference was founded in 1933.
|Season||Conference||Coach||Overall Record||Conference Record|
|1961||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||11–0||7–0|
|1964||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||10–1||8–0|
|1965||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||9–1–1||6–1–1|
|1966||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||11–0||6–0|
|1971||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||11–1||7–0|
|1972||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||10–2||7–1|
|1973||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||11–1||8–0|
|1974||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||11–1||6–0|
|1975||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||11–1||6–0|
|1977||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||11–1||7–0|
|1978||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||11–1||6–0|
|1979||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||12–0||6–0|
|1981||SEC||Paul "Bear" Bryant||9–2–1||7–0|
|Conference Championships||24 SEC, 4 SoCon|
The SEC has been split into two divisions since the 1992 season with Alabama competing in the SEC West since that time. Alabama has won or shared 10 divisional titles, posting a 5-4 record in the SEC Championship Game. The most recent appearance was a victory over Missouri in the 2014 contest.
|Season||Division||SEC CG Result||Opponent||PF||PA|
|† Denotes co-champions|
First team All-Americans
Every year, several publications release lists of the their ideal "team". The athletes on these lists are referred to as All-Americans. The NCAA recognizes five All-American lists. They are the Associated Press (AP), American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Sporting News (TSN), and the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF). Alabama has had 115 players honored 134 times as first team All-Americans (59 consensus) in its history, including 13 players honored twice and two players (Cornelius Bennett and Woodrow Lowe) who were honored three times.
The most recent All-Americans from Alabama came after the 2014 season, when Amari Cooper, Landon Collins, Trey DePriest, Arie Kouandjio and JK Scott were each named First Team All-America by various selectors.
College Football Hall of Fame inductees
In 1951, the College Football Hall of Fame opened in South Bend, Indiana. Since then, Alabama has had 20 players and 4 former coaches inducted into the Hall of Fame. Alabama had two members inducted into the inaugural 1951 class—Don Hutson and Frank Thomas.
Individual award winners
On December 12, 2009, Mark Ingram became Alabama's first Heisman Trophy winner. In the closest race ever, he edged out Stanford running back Toby Gerhart by 28 points. The previous best finish for an Alabama player occurred in 1993, when David Palmer finished 3rd in the Heisman voting. AJ McCarron finished as runner-up for the 2013 season.
Top 5 finishes for Alabama players:
|1962||Lee Roy Jordan||LB||4th|
Starting in 1994, the Southeastern Conference has annually honored one former football player from each of the SEC member schools as an "SEC Legend". The following former Crimson Tide football players have been honored as SEC Legends.
The main rivalry of the Crimson Tide is against its in-state rival, Auburn University. The rivalry is considered to be one of the best and most hard-fought rivalries in all of sports. The Alabama-Auburn game has come to be known as the Iron Bowl. The outcome of the game generally determines "bragging rights" in the state of Alabama until the following contest. Due to the intensity of the rivalry, many families, marriages, and other groups are split over their respective teams. The game may also have implications as to which team will represent the SEC Western Division in the SEC Championship Game.
On February 22, 1893, at Lakeview Park in Birmingham, Auburn was victorious in the first ever Iron Bowl, 32–22. The series was suspended after the 1907 contest, due to violence and financial complications. In 1944, Auburn suggested to reopen the series, though the Board of Trustees at Alabama rejected. The series was resumed in 1948, with Alabama crushing the Tigers 55–0, which is still the largest margin of victory in the series. In the following contest, Auburn shocked Alabama with a 14–13 victory, which is credited with helping revive the series.
For many years, the contest was held at Legion Field in Birmingham, before the teams began alternating between Bryant-Denny Stadium, in Tuscaloosa, and Jordan–Hare Stadium, in Auburn. Alabama currently leads the series at 43-35–1. Alabama won the recent 2014 meeting 55-44, the most points scored in Iron Bowl history.
Despite the heated in-state rivalry with Auburn, Bear Bryant was more adamant about defeating his rivals to the north, the Tennessee Volunteers. The series is named the Third Saturday in October, the traditional calendar date on which the game was played. Despite the name, the game has only been played on the third Saturday five times between 1995–2007. The first game between the two sides was played in 1901 in Birmingham, ending in a 6–6 tie. From 1902 to 1913, Alabama dominated the series, only losing once, and never allowing a touchdown by the Volunteers. Beginning in 1928, the rivalry was first played on its traditional date and began to be a challenge for the Tide as Robert Neyland began challenging Alabama for their perennial spot on top of the conference standings. In the 1950s, Jim Goostree, the head trainer for Alabama, began another tradition as he began handing out cigars following a victory over the Volunteers.
Between 1971–1981, Alabama held an eleven-game winning streak over the Volunteers and, between 1986–1994, a nine-game unbeaten streak. However, following Alabama's streak, Tennessee responded with a seven-game winning streak from 1995–2001. Alabama has won the last eight meetings from 2007–2014. Alabama won the most recent meeting 34-20 in Knoxville, and leads the series 51–38–7.
A rivalry within the SEC Western Division occurs yearly between Alabama and the LSU Tigers. Starting in 1895, the Tigers were victorious 12–6 in the first meeting. The teams did not regularly meet until the mid-1960s, during Alabama's dominance of the SEC. Between 1971–1981, the Crimson Tide won 11 consecutive times. In the 1969 game, LSU defeated Alabama 20–15 in Baton Rouge. Alabama did not lose again in Baton Rouge until 2000.
In 2007, the meeting was more heated following Alabama's hiring of head coach Nick Saban, who previously coached at LSU. With the hiring, many media outlets dubbed the 2007 meeting as the "Saban Bowl". The Crimson Tide lost the first "Saban Bowl" in 2007, won the 2008 and 2009 meetings only to lose in Baton Rouge in 2010.
In 2011, the teams played as the consensus No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the polls with LSU winning 9–6 in overtime. They played each other again for the BCS National Championship with Alabama winning 21–0 to secure its 14th National Championship. In 2012, No. 1 Alabama defeated No. 5 LSU 21-17 on touchdown with under a minute left. In 2013, Alabama won 38-17. Alabama won the 2014 game 20-13 in overtime. Alabama leads the head-to-head series at 49–25–5.
All-time record vs. current SEC teams
Official record (including any NCAA imposed vacates and forfeits) against all current SEC opponents as of the completion of the 2014 season:
This is a partial list of the ten most recent bowl games Alabama competed in. For the full Alabama bowl game history, see List of Alabama Crimson Tide bowl games.
|2005||Cotton Bowl||Alabama 13^||Texas Tech 10|
|2006||Independence Bowl||Oklahoma State 34||Alabama 31|
|2007||Independence Bowl||Alabama 30||Colorado 24|
|2008||Sugar Bowl||Utah 31||Alabama 17|
|2009||BCS National Championship Game||Alabama 37||Texas 21|
|2010||Capital One Bowl||Alabama 49||Michigan State 7|
|2011||BCS National Championship Game||Alabama 21||LSU 0|
|2012||BCS National Championship Game||Alabama 42||Notre Dame 14|
|2013||Sugar Bowl||Oklahoma 45||Alabama 31|
|2014||Sugar Bowl||Ohio State 42||Alabama 35|
Overall bowl record: 35–23–3 (61 games)
^ Alabama would later vacate the 2005 Cotton Bowl Classic win due to NCAA infractions.
Alabama and the NFL
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Seven former Alabama football players have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the fifth most among all colleges.
Alabama players currently in the NFL
Current coaching staff
|Nick Saban||Head coach||8th|
|Kirby Smart||Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers||8th|
|Lane Kiffin||Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks||1st|
|Burton Burns||Associate Head Coach, Running Backs||8th|
|Mel Tucker||Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Backs||1st|
|Bo Davis||Defensive Line||3rd|
|Mario Cristobal||Offensive Line||1st|
|Billy Napier||Wide receivers||1st|
|Tosh Lupoi||Outside Linebackers||1st|
|Bobby Williams||Tight Ends, Special Teams||6th|
|Scott Cochran||Strength and Conditioning||8th|
In August 1995, the NCAA Infractions Committee found four rules violations by the Alabama football program. Alabama cornerback Antonio Langham signed with a sports agent and applied to enter the NFL draft in January 1993, and allegedly received deferred-payment loans. Alabama's football program was placed on probation with scholarship limitations, and a one-year post-season ban (1995). Eight wins and one tie from the 9–3–1 1993 season were forfeited.
In February 2002, Alabama was sanctioned for providing impermissible benefits. The NCAA report states that a recruiter gave a prospective student $20,000 in cash, lodging and entertainment. During the 2000 season, an assistant football coach in Memphis, Tennessee claimed an Alabama booster paid him US$50,000 to encourage one of his players to sign with Alabama. A secret witness that helped convict the University of Alabama was later revealed to be Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer. The report included allegations of paying a high school coach to influence a prospect, violations of rules for honesty and cooperation, expense-paid visits to the campus, and cash payments to other football players. Although the NCAA stated that the University fully cooperated with the enforcement staff, Alabama received probation from 2002 to 2006, a post-season ban in 2002 and 2003, and loss of 21 scholarships over 3 years.
In June 2009, Alabama was sanctioned for textbook and supplies-related infractions, valued at approximately $40,000, involving 201 student-athletes in 16 sports. The football program was forced to vacate 21 wins from the 2005–2007, pay a $43,900 fine, and received a public reprimand and censure. The football program was placed on three years probation, which ended in June 2012. The university stated "none of the textbooks or materials was used for profit or to get items not related to academics, and that the athletes involved who still have eligibility remaining have had to pay restitution." Alabama's appeal of the ruling was unsuccessful.
Mike Price incident
In April 2003, news reports claimed Alabama head coach Mike Price spent several hundred dollars at a strip club in Pensacola, Florida, and that $1,000 of room service was charged to the University. Coach Price was dismissed for behavior unbecoming a representative of the University of Alabama, before ever coaching a game. Following a Sports Illustrated article that elaborated on the incident, Price sued the magazine for defamation, and sued the University, claiming wrongful termination. The lawsuit against the University of Alabama was dismissed and the lawsuit against Sports Illustrated was settled out of court.
During the football season, the Crimson Tide Sports Network broadcasts multiple shows on gameday for most sports. The network includes more than sixty radio stations across the country. Radio stations WFFN-FM, WTSK-AM as a backup, broadcast all home games in the Tuscaloosa area.
Football radio broadcasts begin three hours prior to the game's designated kickoff time with Chris Stewart and Tyler Watts in Around the SEC. The radio broadcast then moves to the Crimson Tide Tailgate Party hosted by Tom Roberts. Immediately following the end of the game, the Fifth Quarter Show begins as host Eli Gold talks to coaches and players and gives game statistics. For the 2008 season, former Alabama players and personalities were brought on to provide guest commentary for each broadcast.
- Eli Gold – play-by-play
- Phil Savage – color analyst
- Chris Stewart – sideline reporter, pre- and post-game show host
- Tyler Watts – pre- and post-game show co-host
- Tom Roberts – director of broadcasting
- Tom Stipe, Butch Owens, Brian Roberts – producers
Stewart and Watts also provide play-by-play and color commentary respectively for CTSN pay-per-view television broadcasts.
Former radio staff:
- Bert Bank, founder of the Alabama Football Network, producer emeritus
- John Forney, play-by-play
- Jerry Duncan, sideline reporter
- Paul Kennedy, play-by-play
- Doug Layton, color analyst
- Ken Stabler, color analyst
Non-division conference opponents
Alabama plays Tennessee as a permanent non-division opponent annually and rotates around the East division among the other six schools.
|at Tennessee||vs Tennessee||at Tennessee||vs Tennessee||at Tennessee||vs Tennessee||at Tennessee||vs Tennessee||at Tennessee||vs Tennessee|
|vs Kentucky||at Vanderbilt||vs Missouri||at South Carolina||vs Georgia||at Florida||vs Vanderbilt||at Kentucky||vs South Carolina||at Missouri|
|vs USC**||vs Florida State||vs Louisville||vs Georgia State|
|vs Western Kentucky||vs Colorado State|
|vs Kent State||vs Fresno State|
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