In keeping with the season I thought we would explore Alabama's claim to twelve National Championships. Alabama fans hate this argument and it usually leads to this statement, "Well even if you're correct, which you aren't, it's still more than Auburn has."
It's stated as if that's what we are discussing. Why does it always come back to Auburn for you Alabama fans?
Anyways, I'm stalling...Let's get on with the show!
On the first "National Championship"...
1925 - Alabama claims a title shared with Dartmouth. Only, Dartmouth was actually given the title of National Champion by the Dickinson system. It wasn't until a year later that Alabama received recognition as the National Champion by the Houlgate (1927) and Helms (1941) systems. This would be the same as someone claiming a national championship this year for last season or better yet for the 1994 season. This is a tough one as Alabama did in fact go undefeated.
1926 - Alabama and Stanford meet in the Rose Bowl for all the marbles. So what happens...they tie 7-7. Dickinson awards the trophy to Stanford...who knows why, but they did. Alabama gets credit for the National Championship from, whom else? You guessed it, Helms...15 years later.
1930 - Notre Dame was granted the National Championship by all six available outlets for the 1930 season. Three years later a man named Parke H. Davis decided that Alabama deserved to share the title with Notre Dame. This one is pretty easy...six and a half to one half?
1934 - Another shared title is claimed in 1934. The most notable rankings came from the Dickinson rankings and they had Bama in 6th place. One notable resource had bama sharing the title, Dunkle. There were two other sources that granted the title that year to Bama, one that was written by a geologist and the other was yet another retroactive title coming from the football Thesaurus.
1941 - No logical bammer (I crack myself up!) can lay claim to this one. Finishing 20th in the AP poll, Alabama lays claim to title number 5. Not to mention an impressive 3rd place finish in the SEC. I believe I could write an entire article on how this sums up the view of The University of Alabama for most everyone that doesn't wear houndstooth on a daily basis.
1961 - No question here...Alabama is number 1. Going 11-0-0 under Paul "Bear" Bryant and Alabama has legitimate title number 1.
1964 - Alabama claims a split National Championship with Arkansas. Both teams go undefeated in the regular season. A recognizable feat, but Alabama lost their bowl game to Texas (hmmmm....) a team that Arkansas beat in the regular season. Arkansas went on to win their bowl game and in my book the National Championship.
1965 - Three teams finished the regular season with better records than Alabama; Arkansas, Michigan State, and Nebraska. Alabama beat Nebraska in its bowl game and both Michigan State and Arkansas lost their bowl games. Thus Title number 3.
1973 - Alabama sets Notre Dame in their sites again as they lay claim to this championship. Notre Dame beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl to claim the AP National Championship. Alabama's claim is that the UPI awarded them the National Championship before the bowl season. Yes, they really claim this one too...sighs.
1978 - In yet another year where Alabama claims a split National Championship we find another chink in the armor. Alabama finishes with a very respectable 11-1-1 record. The only problem is that the one loss came to a 12-1-0 USC. Sorry, this one doesn't count either.
1979 - This one is a no brainer...Alabama is yet again the best team in the land.
1992 - Like the '79 season this one is as solid as they come. Alabama is without question the best team in the country.
So for a quick recap, that's four legitimate titles in 61, 65, 79, and 92. The claimed titles from 25, 26, and 30 coming retroactively, not to mention the handful of teams that lay claim to titles from those seasons debunk said titles. 1934 goes to Minnesota (AP and Dickinson Champs). We all know the story in 1941. 1964 and 1978 go to Arkansas and Notre Dame respectively.
So before the debate begins let me say this. I am not downplaying the tradition that comes from Alabama football....you can't. Alabama has some staggering statistics when you look at their history including SEC titles, bowl appearances, and overall record versus SEC opponents. I will however debate this 12 National Championship's nonsense!