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Alabama Crimson Tide: Top 10 Wins of All-Time

Winning is addictive. When a victory is accomplished, it gets relished and the hope is that it happens again. In sports, winning means that one has achieved its goal and will be rewarded after the endeavor.

It may be an addiction, but to Alabama winning is the best drug in the world. The Crimson Tide and its fan base crave success. The drive started in 1925 when Alabama won its first national title under head coach Wallace Wade.

Since then, the Crimson Tide has notched 15 national titles, 23 Southeastern Conference titles, 61 bowl appearances and a Heisman winner. Though every win is precious, here is a list of the top 10 best victories in Alabama football history.

Top 10 Best Wins

10. #2 Alabama defeats #1 Notre Dame: 2013 BCS National Championship

  • Coaches: Nick Saban vs. Brian Kelly
  • Conferences: SEC vs. FBS Independent
  • Records: Alabama 13-1—Notre Dame 12-1
  • Final Score: Alabama 42—Notre Dame 14

Summary: Despite falling to Texas A&M, Alabama produced a great 2012 season. The Crimson Tide finished the regular season 11-1 and defeated Georgia in the 2012 SEC Championship Game 32-28. Notre Dame entered the 2013 title game with the No.1 defense in the nation. The Irish surrendered 10.3 points per game. The statistic didn’t matter against Alabama. The Crimson Tide steam rolled the Irish. Offensively, Alabama was clicking on all cylinders. Defensively, the Crimson Tide was Notre Dame’s worst nightmare. Alabama scored 42 points and recorded 529 yards of offense. The Tide defeated Notre Dame 42-14 and notched its 15 national title.

9. #1 Alabama defeats #2 Texas: 2010 BCS National Championship

  • Coaches: Nick Saban vs. Mack Brown
  • Conferences: SEC vs. Big 12
  • Records: Alabama 14-0—Texas 13-1
  • Final Score: Alabama 37—Texas 21

Summary: Years of mediocrity ended when Saban landed in Tuscaloosa in 2007. He and the Tide reaped the benefits of hard work in 2009. Alabama went undefeated in Saban’s third season, including a 26-21 victory over Auburn and a 32-13 win against Florida (2009 SEC Championship Game). Greg McElroy struggled, but the Tide’s run game was stout. Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson totaled over 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Alabama’s defense stifled the Longhorns in the first half. Marcell Dareus knocked Colt McCoy out of the game and intercepted Garrett Gilbert’s pass for a 28-yard touchdown. Texas tried to make the game interesting late, but the Tide’s defense prevailed. Alabama won 37-21 and won its national title in 16 years (1993).

8. #24 Alabama upsets #9 Clemson: 2008 Chick-fil-A College Football Kickoff

  • Coaches: Nick Saban vs. Tommy Bowden
  • Conferences: SEC vs. ACC
  • Records: Alabama 14-0—Clemson 7-6
  • Final Score: Alabama 34—Clemson 10

Summary: People expected Alabama to be good in 2008, but they didn’t know how good the Tide would turn out. Alabama answered all questions in the first game of the 2008 season. Against No. 9 Clemson, the Tide scored 34 points and totaled 419 yards of offense. John Parker Wilson and Mark Ingram ripped the Tigers defense apart and Julio Jones caught his first collegiate touchdown pass. Alabama’s defense held Clemson to 10 points and 188 yards of offense. The Crimson Tide won 34-10 and finished the 2008 season with a 12-2 record.

7. #2 Alabama stuns #1 Miami: 1993 Sugar Bowl (National Championship Game)

  • Coaches: Eugene “Gene” Stallings vs. Dennis Erickson
  • Conferences: SEC vs. Big East
  • Records: Alabama 13-0—Miami 11-1
  • Final Score: Alabama 34—Miami 13

Summary: Alabama went into a national title drought after Paul Bryant left in 1982. The Crimson Tide would come close only to fall short. Everything changed in 1992 as Bryant disciple Gene Stallings took the helm. Alabama went undefeated in 1992, including defeating Florida 28-21 in the inaugural SEC Championship Game. Experts favored Miami to win the national title by eight points. Alabama wasn’t move by the statistic. Running backs Derrick Lassic and Sherman Williams had a field day against the Hurricanes’ defense. Lassic rushed for two scores and Williams scored a touchdown. George Teague gave Alabama the momentum for good on two plays. He had a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown. After getting burned on an 89-yard pass to Lamar Thomas, Teague runs him down and strips the football away from him. The play was called back because of a penalty, but Teague’s effort took Miami out of rhythm. Alabama won the game 34-13 and won its first nation title since Bryant.

6. #2 Alabama defeats #6 Arkansas: 1980 Sugar Bowl (National Championship Game)

  • Coaches: Paul “Bear” Bryant vs. Lou Holtz
  • Conferences: SEC vs. Southwest Conference
  • Records: Alabama 12-0—Arkansas 10-2
  • Final Score: Alabama 24—Arkansas 9

Summary: It’s a blessing when one can go out on top. Bryant achieved this as Alabama’s head coach in 1977-79. The Crimson Tide was back in the national title game in 1979 after winning it all in the previous season. Major Ogilvie had a huge game. He rushed for two touchdowns and aggravated Arkansas’ defense. Alabama held the Razorbacks to nine points and won 24-9. Bryant retired in 1982, but not before winning six national titles with Alabama. Major Ogilvie took home the MVP award.

5. #2 Alabama defeats #1 Penn State: 1979 Sugar Bowl (National Championship Game)

  • Coaches: Paul Bryant vs. Joe Paterno
  • Conferences: SEC vs. Big Ten
  • Records: Alabama 11-1—Penn State 11-1
  • Final Score: Alabama 14—Penn State 7

Summary: In a tightly contested game, people witnessed how important defense is. Bruce Bolton and Major Ogilvie scored Alabama’s 14 points, but Barry Krauss made the play that has been documented in history forever. Penn State had the ball in Alabama’s territory. It was fourth and goal from the one-foot line. The Nittany Lions thought they could score over the top on a run play. Penn State gave the ball to running back Mike Gunman. He jumps up in the air and tries to break the plain, but he’s met by Krauss. Krauss along with others prevented Guman from scoring. Penn State got one last chance, but failed to convert on fourth down. Alabama won the game 14-7.

4. #2 Alabama defeats #12 Florida: 1992 SEC Championship Game

  • Coaches: Gene Stallings vs. Steve Spurrier
  • Records: Alabama 13-0—Florida 9-4
  • Final Score: Alabama 28—Florida 21

Summary: 1992 was a special year. Nirvana gave us gunge music, Bill Clinton was president and gas was $1 a gallon. Those things are cool, but Alabama football is better. In the 1992 SEC title game, Florida took an early 7-0 lead. The Crimson Tide scored 21 unanswered points and led 21-7 with 5:34 remaining in the third quarter. The Gators made it interesting by tying the game at 21 late in the fourth quarter. Cornerback Antonio Langham made a huge play in the fourth quarter. His contribution not only delivered Alabama a win, but it changed the landscape of college football. Langham intercepted Shane Matthews’s pass and returned it for a 28-yard touchdown. Alabama won 28-21.

3. #1 Alabama defeats #19 Arkansas: 1962 National Championship Game

  • Coaches: Paul Bryant vs. Frank Broyles
  • Conferences: SEC vs. SWC
  • Records: Alabama 11-0—Arkansas 8-3
  • Final Score: Alabama 10—Arkansas 3

Summary: It’s the hardest title to win, but coaches feel great when they accomplish their first national title. Bryant and Alabama experienced this first-hand in 1961. The Crimson Tide went undefeated and faced Arkansas in the 1962 title game. Pat Trammell’s 12-yard touchdown run and a field goal was all Alabama’s offense needed. The Tide’s defense was too much for Arkansas. Alabama won 10-3.

2. Alabama upsets #7 Auburn: 1985 Iron Bowl “The Kick”

  • Coaches: Ray Perkins vs. Pat Dye
  • Records: Alabama 9-2-1—Auburn 8-4
  • Final Score: Alabama 25—Auburn 23

Summary: In a close game, one drive separated Alabama from bragging rights. Mike Shula guided the team downfield. He led each receiver in stride and provided the Tide with a chance to win the game late. With two seconds remaining, Van Tiffin trots onto the field for a 52-yard field goal. Tiffin nails the kick and delivered the Tide to a 25-23 victory over the Tigers.

1. Alabama vs. Washington: 1926 Rose Bowl (National Championship Game)

  • Coaches: Wallace Wade vs. Enoch Bagshaw
  • Conferences: Southern Conference vs. Pacific Coast Conference
  • Records: Alabama 10-0–Washington 10-1-1
  • Final Score: Alabama 20–Washington 19

Summary: It’s a breath of fresh air when a program wins its first national title. Alabama witnessed it in 1925 under Wade. The Crimson Tide went undefeated in 1925 and faced Washington in the 1926 Rose Bowl. Alabama scored 20 points in the third quarter. Johnny Mack Brown had two touchdowns. Alabama defeated Washington 20-19.

Since it’s impossible to narrow Alabama’s greatness to just ten wins, here is a chart of other great Crimson Tide victories.

Memorable Alabama Victories

Year

Opponent

Final Score

1971

# 5 USC

17-10

1922

Penn

9-7

1967

Auburn

7-3

1986

Notre Dame

28-10

2005

Tennessee

6-3

2005

Florida

31-3

2007

#16 Arkansas

41-38

2009

Tennessee

12-10

2008

Auburn

36-0

2008

#3 Georgia

41-30 * Blackout Game

2009

Auburn

26-21

2009

Florida

32-13 * SEC Championship

2012

#1 LSU

21-0* National Championship

2012

#3 Georgia

32-28 * SEC Championship

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