The Crimson White


Peyton Shepard

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It’s no question that The University of Alabama football program wins – a lot. The Crimson Tide lived up to its winning reputation on Monday after securing its fourth national title in the past seven years. By every possible measure, it has the most national championships in the country, barring some dubious 19th century claims in the Ivy League.

What is up for debate, however, is the total number of national titles claimed in their championships count. If you ask the average Alabama fan, or look at any team memorabilia currently being sold, the Tide’s most recent win makes 16 national championships. Some measurements place that total closer to twenty, using some polls of varying veracity. Others, such as an “AP-only” viewpoint, have it around 10.

The NCAA doesn’t award national championships, which makes counting them complicated, a matter usually handled by each school. That’s how Alabama ended up with 16.

The titles most often called controversial for Alabama are 1934 and 1941. These and three other championships in 1930, 1925 and 1926, which are recognized in the NCAA’s list of “major selectors” were added by then-sports information director Wayne Atcheson to the 1982 Crimson Tide media guide in what he told The Birmingham News was an effort to “make Alabama football look the best it could” by recognizing the five championships preceding Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s successful tenure as Alabama’s head coach. While colleges have the ability to claim national titles based on their own standards of reporting, these five additions to the Alabama championship pile are often hotly contested.

Here’s a look at the five disputed national championships that the University claims.

1925: Alabama had a 10-0 record and was retroactively awarded the title by the Helms Athletic Foundation and College Football Researchers Association.

1926: Alabama (9-0-1) was again awarded a retroactive title by the HAF and CFRA, but according to the NCAA website shares the title with Stanford (10-0-1), which was also awarded retroactively.

1930: Three ranking systems recognized Notre Dame (10-0) as No. 1, but four ranking systems retroactively recognized Alabama (10-0) as the title holder. While the 1930 team would not have claimed a title at the time, the 1930 title is now often listed as a co-championship between the two schools.

1934: Alabama (10-0) claims it shares this title with Minnesota (8-0). Minnesota was retroactively recognized by more ranking systems.

1941: Alabama held a 9-2 record this season and claims the title based on the Houlgate ranking system. It finished No. 20 in the AP Poll. Nearly every selector awarded Minnesota the title.

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