There are many great college football programs across our nation, but most surely envy the tremendous success and tradition of Alabama Football. Located in the heart of Dixie, Alabama has established itself as one of the winningest programs in the country while laying claim to 16 national championships from highly recognized polls, through the BCS era and to the College Football Playoffs system. These great teams have been led by tremendous All-Americans and a who's who of legendary coaches such as Wallace Wade, Bear Bryant and Nick Saban. The championship legacy began in the roaring 20s and hasn't slowed down much since. Below you'll find a season by season championship listing and a summary of the Crimson Tide's championship season.
- Written by Ed Staton
- Published: 28 Dec 2016
|Alabama National championship Seasons|
|1926||9-0-1||Wallace Wade||CFRA, HAF, NCF|
|1961||11-0||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP, NFF, UPI|
|1964||10-1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP, UPI|
|1965||9-1-1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP, FWAA|
|1973||11-1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||UPI|
|1978||11-1||Paul "Bear" Bryant||AP, FWAA, NFF|
|1979||12-0||Paul "Bear" Bryant||Unanimous|
Bama’s first national championship team took the field under the direction of Coach Wallace Wade in 1925. Wade’s squad outscored its opponents 297-26 while rolling to a 10-0 record. The season finale was Alabama’s first bowl game, a 20-19 Rose Bowl win over Washington. A return trip to the Rose Bowl the next season concluded Alabama’s second straight national championship claim following the 1926 season. The 7-7 tie with Stanford was the only bump in a 9-0-1 campaign. Wallace Wade would gain his final national title in 1930 when his Crimson Tide team went 10-0 again after finishing the season with a Rose Bowl victory.
Alabama National Championship Seasons Summary
Wade’s last Bama team stymied opponents, outscoring them 271-13. Bear Bryant began a long string of dominance when he guided his first national championship team in 1961. The undefeated Tide (11-0) out muscled their opponents by a 297-25 margin in scoring. Only an N.C. State team led by Roman Gabriel could muster as much as seven points against Bama.
With Bear’s legacy growing larger, Alabama produced two more claims to the national title in the 1960s. The 1964 squad led by Joe Namath posted an undefeated regular season before losing to Texas in the Orange Bowl. Alabama benefited from the AP and UPI tabulating their votes before the bowl games since the defeat would have knocked them from the top. Quarterback Steve Sloan took the reins in 1965 and led the Tide to a second consecutive national title with a 9-1-1 record. Bryant’s team overcame a season opening loss to Georgia to bounce back to the top. Despite Alabama winning four-SEC titles during its eight-year drought, the Tide didn’t claim its next national championship until 1973. Once again Bryant’s team went undefeated in the regular season before falling 23-24 to Notre Dame in a thrilling Sugar Bowl. Gary Rutledge was the triggerman for the Tide’s wishbone offense that achieved a share of the national title.
Thanks in part to Rutledge’s younger brother Jeff following his brother’s quarterbacking footsteps; Alabama again delivered consecutive national titles in the late 1970s. Although the Tide lost to USC in the third game of the 1978 season, Bryant’s squad finished 11-1 and earned a share of national top honors. Oddly enough Alabama split the national title with the Trojans.
Bryant’s last national championship team left no room for doubt when they won top honors after cruising to a 12-0 record. Bama whipped their opponents by a combined 383-67 scoring margin and blitzed Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.
Bryant protégé Gene Stallings struck championship gold in 1992 when Alabama posted a 13-0 record. With Stallings in his third year at the Bama coaching helm, the Tide faced the challenge of beating Florida in the first SEC championship game before subduing Miami in the Sugar Bowl.
The arrival of Head Coach Nick Saban in T-Town restored championship success to the program that had lost much of its swagger in the nearly two decades after the 1992 title. Saban's 2009 squad finished the 2009 regular season with an 11-1 record and then defeated the Tim Tebow led Florida Gators in the SEC Championship game. Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram earned MVP honors as the Tide defeated Texas 37-21 in the BCS Championship game.
Although Alabama did not earn a spot in the 2011 SEC Championship Game, the 11-1 Bama squad earned a spot against LSU in the 2011 BCS Championship game. The 21-0 shutout of the Tigers boosted the Crimson Tide to their 14th national title and also avenged their only loss of the season.
National championship No. 15 was delivered to Bama fans the following season (2012) when Nick Saban's 11-1 squad advanced to the BCS title game after defeating Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. QB A. J. McCarron threw four touchdowns in a 42-14 win over Notre Dame.
Alabama garnered their 16th national championship in 2015. This title was derived in the new College Football Playoff era that was in its second season. The Crimson Tide earned a slot in college football's final four and defeated Michigan State 38-0 in their semifinal match. The Tide then defeated Clemson 45-40 in the CFP championship game to end their season with a 14-1 record.