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Top 10 Most Memorable Championship Seasons

It’s time to have fun. Alabama’s football program has been solid under head coach Nick Saban. It’s achieved seven 10-win seasons, eight bowl appearances, three Southeastern Conference titles and three national championships. Alabama has accomplished eight back-to-back national championships, since the program was established in 1892. Memories are timeless. It would be great to recall all 15 national championships, but this list will only focus on the most memorable ones. Here are the top 10 best championship seasons in Alabama history.

 

10. Year–1930

 

  • Head coach: Wallace Wade
  • Conference: Southern
  • Record: 10-0, (8-0)

Summary: Wallace Wade spent eight seasons at Alabama (1923-30). His final year resulted in the program’s third national championship. Johnny Cain, Fred Singleton, Frank Howard and Jennings B. Whitworth all were leaders on the team. Cain was a jack of all trades. He started at fullback, linebacker and punter in 1930. Alabama’s offense averaged 27.1 points per game. Its defense stifled opponents, allowing 1.3 points per contest. The Crimson Tide pitched eight shutouts in 1930. It finished as the Southern Conference’s Co-Champion. Alabama defeated Washington State 24-0 in the 1931 Rose Bowl Game. The victory provided Alabama with a national title.

 

9. Year—1979

  • Head coach: Paul W. “Bear” Bryant
  • Conference: Southeastern
  • Record: 12-0, (6-0)

Summary: Paul Bryant retried in 1981, but he captured his sixth national title with Alabama in 1979. It was the second time that Alabama became back-to-back national champions (1978-79). The ’79 team was littered with marquee names, including Major Ogilvie, Steadman Shealy, Dwight Stephenson, Don McNeal, E.J. Junior and Steve Whitman. Alabama’s offense totaled 31.9 points per game under offensive coordinator Mal Moore. Its defense, under Ken Donahue, surrendered 5.6 points per game. The Crimson Tide blanked Florida, Wichita State, Baylor, LSU and Miami (FL). Alabama won its 12th Southeastern Conference title under Bryant, defeating Auburn 25-18. It captured a Sugar Bowl championship and a national title with a 24-9 victory over Arkansas in 1980.

 

8. Year—2012

  • Head coach: Nick Saban
  • Conference: Southeastern (West Division)
  • Record: 13-1, (7-1)

Summary: Nick Saban guided Alabama to three national championships in six seasons. The Crimson Tide became back-to-back national champions in 2012. Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker all anchored Alabama’s offensive line. Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon both rushed for 1,000 yards. Lacy finished with 19 total touchdowns (17 rushing, 2 receiving). Yeldon tied Mark Ingram’s freshman record with 12 touchdowns. AJ McCarron became Alabama’s single-season touchdown holder, tossing for 30 scores. Freshman receiver Amari Cooper had a breakout season, posting 59 catches for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Under Doug Nussemier, Alabama’s offense scored 38.7 points per game. Its defense pitched four shutouts, allowing 10.9 points per contest. The Crimson Tide captured its 23rd SEC title, defeating Georgia 32-28. Alabama notched its 15th national championship, defeating Notre Dame 42-14.

 

7. Year—1965

  • Head coach: Paul W. Bryant
  • Conference: Southeastern
  • Record: 9-1-1, (6-1-1)

Summary: Paul Bryant established Alabama football as a national powerhouse in the 1960s. The program captured a third national title under Bryant in 1965. The ’65 squad had 12 players selected in the NFL Draft, including Ken Stabler, Steve Sloan, Dennis Howman, Leslie Kelley and Cecil Dowdy. Alabama finished fourth in the Coaches’ Poll and first in the Associated Press Poll. Its offense totaled 23.3 points per game, while Alabama’s defense allowed 9.7 points per contest. Alabama defeated Auburn 30-3, capturing an SEC championship. It beat No.3 Nebraska 39-28, to win the 1967 Orange Bowl and a national championship.

 

6. Year—1964

  • Head coach: Paul W. Bryant
  • Conference: Southeastern
  • Record: 10-1, (8-0)

Summary: Paul Bryant and Joseph “Joe” Namath had a father/son relationship. The duo worked well for Alabama in 1964. The Crimson Tide finished No.1 in both Coaches’ and AP Polls. Alabama’s offense recorded 22.7 points per game. Its defense aggravated opponents, allowing 8 points per contest. The Crimson Tide captured its second SEC title with a 21-14 win over Auburn. It fell to No.5 Texas in the 1965 Orange Bowl, 21-17. Alabama was still recognized as national champions by the Coaches’ and AP Polls.

 

5. Year—2011

  • Head coach: Nick Saban
  • Conference: Southeastern (West Division)
  • Record: 12-1, (7-1)

Summary: Championships are won in mysterious ways. An April 2011 tornado gave players all the motivation it needed to bring Tuscaloosa hope. A 9-6 overtime loss against LSU was Alabama’s lone blemish. An SEC title was out of reach, but fate would intervene. The Crimson Tide found itself in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game in a rematch with LSU. Alabama blanked the Tigers, 21-0. Running back Trent Richardson totaled 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns. He was the recipient of the Doak Walker Award, and finished third in the 2010 Heisman voting.  Alabama’s offense accounted for 34.8 points per game under Jim McElwain. Its defense was tops in all five major categories, including scoring defense. Alabama allowed 8.2 points per game.

 

4. Year—2009

  • Head coach: Nick Saban
  • Conference: Southeastern
  • Record: 14-0, (8-0)

Summary: Nick Saban was told that it would take him six years before he could claim his first national title with Alabama. The defensive disciple brought the program a national championship in his third season. Alabama’s offensive line was anchored by James Carpenter, Mike Johnson, William Vlachos, Barrett Jones and Drew Davis. Quarterback Greg McElroy completed 70.9 percent of his passes for 2,987 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions. The Crimson Tide’s offensive line guided Mark Ingram to 1,658 rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns (17 rushing, 3 receiving). Ingram became Alabama’s first Heisman winner in program history. The 2009 team brought swagger back to Alabama football. The program was slipping under Mike DuBose, Dennis Franchoine and Mike Shula, but Saban placed it atop the pinnacle of college football in 2009. The Crimson Tide captured an SEC title, defeating Florida 32-13. It won its first national title since the 1992 season, defeating Texas 37-21.

 

3. Year—1992

  • Head coach: Eugene “Gene” Stallings
  • Conference: Southeastern (West Division)
  • Record: 13-0, (8-0)

Summary: Gene Stallings was a Paul Bryant disciple. He knew what the Alabama fans wanted, and in 1992 he honored their wishes. Jay Barker at quarterback and Derrick Lassic at running back worked wonders. Lassic registered 905 yards and 11 touchdowns on 5.1 yards per carry. Alabama averaged 28.2 points per game. John Copeland, Eric Curry and George Teague anchored a defense that allowed 9.4 points per contest. The Crimson Tide blanked Auburn, 17-0. It defeated No.1 Miami 34-13 in the 1993 Sugar Bowl, capturing its first national championship since 1979 (Bryant).

 

2. Year—1961

  • Head coach: Paul W. Bryant
  • Conference: Southeastern
  • Record: 11-0, (7-0)

Summary: Auburn’s head coach James R. “Shug” Jordan brought the program its first national title in 1957. He told running back Terry Henley (1970-73) that nothing was bigger than Auburn. Jordan ate his words in 1958, when Alabama lured Paul Bryant away from Texas A&M. Bryant won his first national championship with the Crimson Tide in 1961. Quarterback Pat Trammell and guard Billy Neighbors captained the team. Alabama’s defense was unstoppable in 1961. It allowed 2.3 points per game. The Crimson Tide blanked Auburn, 34-0. It defeated No.9 Arkansas 10-3 in the 1962 Sugar Bowl Game for a national championship.

 

1. Year—1925

  • Head coach: Wallace Wade
  • Conference: Southern
  • Record: 10-0, (7-0)

Summary: One always remembers its first taste of success. Wallace Wade experienced his in 1925 at Alabama. He generated a masterful defense. The Crimson Tide pitched nine shutouts, allowing 2.6 points per game. Alabama’s offense averaged 29.7 points per contest. It totaled 30+ points against Union, Birmingham-Southern, LSU, Kentucky and Florida. Alabama finished 1925 as Co-Champions of the Southern Conference. It defeated Washington 20-19 in the 1926 Rose Bowl Game. Alabama captured its first national title in program history with the victory.

 

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