Alabama Crimson Tide Football

Alabama Should Stop Claiming That 1941 Title, Because It Doesn't Need to

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 07:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide waits to receive the NCS Coach's Trophy after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Alabama won the game by a score of 42-14.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterJanuary 11, 2013

Almost immediately after the clock struck zero at Sun Life Stadium on Monday night, and Alabama capped off its 42-14 win over Notre Dame, the Alabama helmet on ESPN's College GameDay set that had the number "14" on it was immediately replaced with one featuring the number "15," representing the number of national championships that the program claims.

Yes, it happens that fast.

While that number is mighty impressive, it is inflated with several championships in seasons where other, more deserving schools also claim the title.

One of those is Alabama's 1941 national championship, which the university claims in its media guide.

The 1941 Crimson Tide finished the season 9-2 (5-2 SEC) with losses to Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. They finished third in the SEC behind Mississippi State (8-1-1, 4-0-1 SEC) and Tennessee (8-2, 3-1 SEC), and were ranked No. 20 by the Associated Press.

Certainly not deserving of a national championship.

Yet, Alabama still claims the title from Football Thesaurus, thanks to the addition of five pre-Bear Bryant titles to the media guide in the early 1980s, including 1941.

There are, of course, other debatable national championships—some of which were voted on prior to bowl games including the 1964 and 1973 titles. Claim those if you want. Those were the rules for the polls back then. But it's time for Alabama to stop claiming the 1941 title.

It cheapens the real resume, which is incredible in and of itself. The Crimson Tide boasts 10 poll-era titles (since 1936), three in the last four seasons and back-to-back national championships for the first time in the BCS era.

If it takes claiming the 1977 title awarded by Football Research, when No. 3 Alabama was jumped by No. 5 Notre Dame for the title despite having the same record, in order to keep the number at 15, that's fine.

You could even make the argument that undefeated Alabama deserved the title in 1966 over split national champions Notre Dame and Michigan State, who played to a 10-10 tie in the "Game of the Century" to close out the 1966 regular season.

But 1941 has got to go.

Every Alabama national championship gives the university the opportunity to re-brand itself, and sell new merchandise with a new number. With a modern-day dynasty in place, now is the perfect time to accurately rewrite the record books.

After all, that's what the current Crimson Tide team is doing to Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

 

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