Alabama recognizes 15 national championships, though several are disputed by other organizations or considered controversial.
The University of Alabama joined the Southern Conference in 1921 with other charter members: Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Washington & Lee.
Alabama remained in the Southern Conference until 1933 when it joined the Southeastern Conference with 12 other charter members: Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Sewanee, Tennessee, Tulane and Vanderbilt.
Alabama football’s history includes several heralded head coaches, most notably Paul “Bear” Bryant. Bryant is considered one of the best college football coaches of all time and remains a legend in the state of Alabama to this day. Along with Bryant, former Head Coaches Wade Wallace and Frank Thomas have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
In 1915, Bully Van de Graaff became the first All-American player for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Despite numerous Heisman Finalists, the sole Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama is running back Mark Ingram after the 2009 season.
Alabama has played at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama since 1929. Originally named Denny Stadium, the name was modified to become Bryant-Denny Stadium in 1975 by the state legislature in honor of Bear Bryant.
1925 – Alabama achieved a 10-0 season which concluded with a win against Washington in the Rose Bowl. The AP and Coaches’ polls did not exist, but a number of rankings retroactively place Alabama as the No. 1 team for the 1925 season. The NCAA recognizes Alabama along with Dartmouth as national poll champions.
1926 – After a tie against Stanford in the Rose Bowl, Alabama was one of several undefeated teams at the end of the 1926 season. Five organizations retroactively gave Alabama the No. 1 ranking. The NCAA recognizes both Alabama and Stanford as national poll champions.
1930 – Both Alabama and Notre Dame are recognized by a number of organizations with the No. 1 ranking for the 1930 season, but the NCAA only recognizes Notre Dame as the national poll champion for the year.
1934 – Three rankings systems that were active for the 1934 season ranked Alabama as the No. 1 team in the nation, however the NCAA and several retroactive ranking systems have Minnesota as the national champion.
1941 – Alabama concluded the 1941 season with a 9-2 record, a third place finish in the SEC and a ranking of No. 20 in the AP poll. Even so, Alabama claims a national championship citing the Houlgate System – a mathematical rating system created by Deke Houlgate and published in newspapers during the 1940s and 1950s. The 1941 national championship is considered the most controversial championship that Alabama claims.
1961 – Legendary head coach Bear Bryant won his first title with Alabama in 1961 and finished the year ranked No. 1 in both the AP and UPI polls. The undefeated Crimson Tide (11-0) are recognized by the NCAA as national champions, though the Football Writers Association of America voted Ohio State as the national champion.
1964 – The claimed national championship of 1964 is controversial because many media members selected Alabama as national champion before the bowl games were played. After going 10-0 in the regular season, Alabama lost to Texas in the Orange bowl. The NCAA recognizes Alabama along with Arkansas and Notre Dame as national champions.
1965 – Alabama was ranked No. 1 in the AP poll after beating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Michigan State was ranked No. 1 in the UPI poll before the Spartans lost to UCLA in the Rose Bowl. The NCAA recognizes both Alabama and Michigan State as national champions.
1973 – Due to the practice of the UPI poll voting before bowl games, 11-0 Alabama once again benefited by receiving a No. 1 ranking prior to losing to Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. The NCAA recognizes both Alabama and Notre Dame as national champions.
1978 – The AP poll ranked Alabama No. 1 after Alabama beat the No. 1 ranked team Penn State in the Sugar Bowl. 12-1 Southern California was recognized by the UPI poll as national champion. NCAA recognizes both Alabama and USC as national champions.
1979 – The 12-0 Alabama Crimson Tide finished the 1979 season with a No. 1 ranking in all major polls which led to the first unanimous national champion recognized by the NCAA.
1992 – Similar to 1979, the 13-0 Crimson Tide finished the 1992 season undefeated and with unanimous recognition as the national champion by the AP, USA Today/CNN, the UPI and the NCAA.
2009 – The first national championship of the Nick Saban era, Alabama was 12-0 in the regular season. After a win in the SEC Championship Game against Florida and a win against Texas in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, Alabama finished with a perfect 14-0 record.
2011 – Despite a 9-6 regular season loss to division rival LSU, Alabama would go on to face LSU in the BCS Championship Game. The Crimson Tide rolled to a 42-14 victory in the rematch and earned its second national championship of the Saban era.
2012 – Alabama secured a third national championship in the BCS era under Nick Saban with a dominant 42-14 victory over Notre Dame in the BCS Championship Game. The Tide finished 13-1 overall including a close win against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.