Power Ranking Alabama's National Championship-Winning Football Teams
With a dominating 21-0 win over LSU Monday night, the Crimson Tide captured their second BCS national championship. Winning is nothing new to Alabama, who claims 14 national championships. The newness of the championship is still present, but as time goes by, people will begin to debate this team's place in college football history.
In this article, I will power rank the 14 championships claimed by the Crimson Tide. While it is impossible to put teams on the field from different eras, we can compare there overall resume. As a result, here is my assesment and rankings of the 14 championship seasons.
No. 14: 1941 Alabama Football Team (9-2)
The 1941 claimed by the Crimson Tide is the most controversial of all their claimed championships. However, it was still a pretty good football team. Alabama finished the season 9-2 and were ranked No. 20 in the final AP poll.
They did, however, lose to eventual SEC champion Mississippi State, 14-0, and Vanderbilt, 7-0. They did defeat Texas A&M, 29-21, in the Cotton Bowl. This victory helped them win the Houlgate mathematical ranking system that was published in various newspapers across the nation.
No. 13: 2011 Alabama Football Team (12-1)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
The Crimson Tide won their second BCS national championship in 2011 with a 21-0 win over then No.1 ranked LSU. The victory was a measure of redemption for the Tide, whose only loss came to the Tigers in a 9-6 regular season defeat.
The Tide were dominant all season and did not have one team finish within two touchdowns of them in their 12 wins. The defense was No.1 in the nation in almost every single category.
The only reason the Tide are not higher is because they did not win their conference championship and only beat two teams who finished in the top 25 rankings.
No. 12: 1964 Alabama Football Team (10-1)
In 1964, the Tide won their second AP national championship and their seventh claimed national championship. The Tide finished the regular season 10-0 but were defeated in the Orange Bowl, 21-17. However, at that time, the AP champion was declared before the bowl games.
Arkansas also claims a national championship for this season because they finished the season undefeated and beat the team that beat Alabama. This controversy would lead to the end of pre-bowl voting by the AP to decide the national championship.
Despite the controversy, Alabama had a very good team and won 10 games in no small part to the play of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath.
No. 11: 1973 Alabama Football Team (11-1)
Despite a national championship worthy season in 1966, the Crimson Tide would not win a national championship again until 1973. The 1973 national championship was once again with controversy, as the Tide were voted as national champions by the Coaches Poll before the bowl game.
At the end of the regular season, the Crimson Tide were 11-0 and ranked No.1 in the nation. They player then-No. 3 ranked Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. The Fighting Irish would defeat Alabama, 24-23. The Irish would win the AP championship.
Because of this controversy, the Coaches Poll moved their final ranking to after the bowl game.
No. 10: 1978 Alabama Football Team (11-1)
1978 was the start of one of the greatest runs in college football history. After a 24-14 defeat at the hands of the USC Trojans, the Tide would start a streak that would eventually run to 28 games. The 1978 season is also remembered for the historic goal line stand that the Tide had against then-ranked No. 1 Penn State.
The goal line stand would lead to Alabama winning the game, 14-7, and claiming a share of the national championship. The AP poll ranked Alabama No.1, while the Coaches poll ranked USC No.1.
While this championship is not without controversy, the Tide were building a historical run.
No. 9: 1965 Alabama Football Team (9-1-1)
The Tide would win their second consecutive AP national championship in 1965 when they finished the season 9-1-1. Their only loss came at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs in the season opener, 18-17. They would also play Tennessee to a 7-7 tie later in the season. However, the Tide would come on strong and won their final six games, including a 39-28 win over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
The Orange Bowl win would be enough to catapult Alabama to No. 1 in the AP poll and No. 4 in the coaches’ poll. It was the Tide’s third AP championship in the last five seasons.
No. 8: 1926 Alabama Football Team (9-0-1)
Despite losing several key players, the Tide kept washing out the opposing teams. The Tide finished the regular season 9-0, only allowing their opponents to score a combined 20 points. Alabama once again would play in the Rose Bowl, this time against Stanford, but this time, it would become the first sporting event ever broadcasted live on national radio.
To the people listening, it must have seemed like the Cardinals defeated the Tide by a large margin. However, despite being outgained 305 yards to 98 yards, the Tide were able to keep the game tied until the game finished in a 7-7 deadlock.
No. 7: 1930 Alabama Football Team (10-0)
In what would be Wallace Wade’s final season with the Crimson Tide, he fielded one of the top teams in college football history. If you think the Crimson Tide had depth this season, you should have seen the 1926 team.
The Tide was so talented that many times Wade would start his second unit just because he could. The first unit did not allow any points to be scored on them all season long, and the second unit only allowed 13 points in 10 games.
The Tide finished the season in with their third Rose Bowl appearance in six seasons as they dismantled previously unbeaten Washington State, 24-0. The Tide would finish tied with Notre Dame in the Davis Poll that season.
No. 6: 1934 Alabama Football Team (10-0)
In his fourth season as head coach of the Crimson Tide, head coach Frank Thomas won his first ever national championship, while it was the fourth for Alabama. The Tide were spectacular in the 1934 season, as they rolled to a final record and only had one close game. That was a 13-6 win against Tennessee in a game that saw future head coach Bear Bryant ejected for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
The Tide would once again play in the Rose Bowl versus Stanford. This time, the game was not close, as Alabama soundly defeated Stanford, 29-13.
It was another dominating season, as the Tide outscored their opponents 316-45 on their way to another 10-0 record. Alabama was selected national champions by Dunkel, Houlgate, Williamson and Football Thesaurus.
No. 5: 1925 Alabama Football Team (10-0)
The 1925 Alabama football team, led by head coach Wallace Wade, won the first national championship in school history after completing the season with a 10-0 record. Prior to their 20-19 Rose Bowl victory against the Univiersity of Washington, the Tide only allowed one touchdown in the regular season.
The Tide outscored their opponents, 297-26, on the season and shut out eight of their 10 opponents. All-American running back Johnny Mack Brown led the Tide offense and would become the first Alabama player to ever be placed on a Wheaties box.
No. 4: 2009 Alabama Football Team (14-0)
After a 16-year drought, Nick Saban led the Tide back to the National Championship game and their first ever BCS national championship. After Gene Stallings departed from the Tide, Alabama was marred by probation and mediocre coaching.
The Tide finished the season 14-0, and running back Mark Ingram won the first Heisman in school history. However, it was the defense, not the offense, that set the Tide apart. In fact, statistically speaking, it was the worse red-zone offense in school history. But the defense was the SEC’s best since the 1992 Tide football team.
The Tide had a handful of close games but would dismantle the Texas Longhorns in the championship game, 37-21, after knocking Colt McCoy out of the game. It was a dominating win in a historic season.
No. 3: 1979 Alabama Football Team (12-0)
While the 1978 championship ended in controversy, there could be no doubt that the 1979 team was the nation’s best. The Crimson Tide finished the season 12-0 and No. 1 in both the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll.
The Tide won all but three games by a large margin. They did have reasonably close games versus Tennessee (27-17), LSU (3-0) and Auburn (25-18). The Tide also won the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas 24-9.
With a high-powered offense that scored over 30 points seven times and a stingy defense that only allowed two teams to score double digits, this Tide team is one of the top teams of all-time.
No.2: 1992 Alabama Football Team (13-0)
After the retirement of Bear Bryant, Alabama spent many seasons dwelling in the land of mediocrity. However, the hiring of Gene Stallings would help change that. In 1992, the Tide put together one of the finest seasons in not only Alabama history, but in college football history.
Led by perhaps the top defense of the past three decades, Alabama would stifle their opponents all season long. The offense was always efficient and sometimes very explosive.
The most memorable game of the 1992 season is when the Tide took on the No. 1-ranked Miami Hurricanes in the Sugar Bowl. Miami was seen as invincible by many in the media coming into the game and tried every method to intimidate the Tide before the whistle ever blew in the actual game.
The Tide would prove not only could they not be intimidated, but they were the most dominating team in college football. The Tide won the game, 34-13, and the game was not as close as the score might indicate.
Alabama finished No.1 in every recognized rankings.
No.1: 1961 Alabama Football Team (11-0)
In 1961, the Alabama Crimson Tide won their first of six national championships under coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Critics point to this season as the first legit national championship for the Tide. Either way, it was a dominant season, as the Crimson Tide finished 11-0, including a 10-3 Sugar Bowl victory.
Bear Bryant’s Boys outscored the opposition 297 to 25 for the season and won every game by 10 or more points but two.
The offense was solid, but when the Tide defense is only giving up 2.3 points per game, it is hard to lose, and this Alabama team did not.