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Program History: Alabama Crimson Tide

A Brief History of Crimson Tide Football


Nickname: Crimson Tide

Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Stadium: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa

History: The University of Alabama is the South's most successful program. With 12 national championships, the Crimson Tide boast a legacy of success that puts the program on par with college football's elite.

Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant led the Tide for 25 years and is considered by many to be the greatest coach in the history of the game. He remains the most popular man in the state. After Bryant's retirement, the program floundered, then briefly reclaimed greatness with its 1992 national title under coach Gene Stallings, but once again hit hard times with a series of subpar teams and off-the-field troubles.

Current Coach: Under new coach Nick Saban, who achieved great success as head coach of Tide rival LSU and arrived to great fanfare in 2007, the Alabama program once again seems headed in the right direction. In his first season, Saban guided the Tide to a 7-6 record and an Independence Bowl win over Colorado. Maybe more importantly, Saban in February pulled in what many experts consider the best recruiting class in the country.

By The Numbers: The Tide's 12 national championships came in 1925, 1926, 1930, 1934, 1941, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979 and 1992. Along with those titles, the Tide have won 21 SEC championships and appeared in 55 bowl games, winning 31 of them, for an overall bowl record of 31-21-3 through the 2007 season.

Alabama ranks No. 7 in all-time college football wins, with 787 through the end of the 2007 season. Ninety-two Alabama players have earned All-American honors. Maybe most importantly, the Tide has a record of 38-33-1 against their hated in-state rival, the Auburn Tigers.

Signature Moment: Bryant's last national championship team may have been his best. Certainly, that 1979 team's championship win -- over No. 1 Penn State, led by their own coaching legend, Joe Paterno -- delivered Alabama football's most dramatic moment.

A bruising defensive struggle eventually was settled late in the fourth quarter, when Penn State, driving for a game-tying touchdown, lined up on fourth down just inches from the Alabama goal line. Paterno called for a straight-up dive play, counting on his massive offensive line to get him a win. But tailback Mike Guman was stuffed by Alabama All-American linebacker Barry Krause. Alabama took over, held off Penn State through the game's final minutes, and won their 11th national title.

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