Alabama football: 5 best seasons in program history

Alabama football (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Alabama football (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
4 of 5
Best Alabama football seasons ever
Alabama football (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

2. 1961

Record: 11-0 | Finish: National Champions, beat Arkansas 10-3 in Sugar Bowl

Bear Bryant is in the conversation for the greatest head coach in college football history. Throughout his tenure at Alabama, the man with the hat brought the Crimson Tide program six National Championships. He’s a deservedly recognized legend but, before that was the case, he was in his fourth season in Tuscaloosa in 1961 searching for his first title.

The Tide went 5-4-1 in Bryant’s first season, improved to 7-2-2 the following year and then 8-1-2 in the 1960 season. But in his fourth try to get Alabama football to the top of the country, Bryant found his mojo.

It’s worth noting that the offense, led by quarterback Pat Trammell, running back Mike Fracchia and an elite offensive line wasn’t overwhelming but was quite good. However, as was the case with many of Bryant’s teams, the defense was downright dominant.

Though it should be noted that Alabama didn’t play a ranked opponent for the entire regular season, they handled that type of schedule like an elite team should. In their 10 games prior to the Sugar Bowl, they allowed only 22 total points. For those scoring at home, the Crimson Tide gave up an absurd 2.2 points per game.

When they finally faced Arkansas as their first ranked opponent in the Sugar Bowl, that trend continued. Bryant’s club continued to grind and found themselves on the right side of a 10-3 contest. Though it may not have been flashy, Alabama’s first title in the poll era came on the back of a historically great defensive performance.