Rams Become 52nd First Time Tide Foe

Probably not too many Alabama fans are thinking about that close call against the Second Ambulance Company of Ohio. The Crimson Tide slipped out with a 7-0 victory in the only meeting of the two teams.

In fact, Alabama may not have even been known as the Crimson Tide when it hosted the Second Ambulance Company of Ohio on Oct.3, 1917. That is one of a number of opposing football teams Bama has played only one time.

There will be another one when Coach Nick Saban's top-ranked Alabama hosts Colorado State at 6 p.m. CDT in Bryant-Denny Stadium. ESPN2 will televise the game.

Many of the teams Alabama has played only one time no longer exist, including (presumably) Second Ambulance Company of Ohio. Both during World War I and World War II the Bama schedule included opponents from various military organizations – Keesler Air Base, Camp Gordon, Georgia Pre-Flight, etc.

Alabama also has a one-game record against Army, the Crimson Tide taking a 29-28 win over the Cadets in the Sun Bowl at the end of the 1988 season.

In addition to the military teams (aside from Army), over the years the Tide played other teams that weren't colleges – Birmingham Athletic Club, Pensacola Athletic Club, and athletic club teams in New Orleans, Montgomery, and even Tuscaloosa.

Several of those one-time opponents are not so big in college football today. When's the last time you heard the result of a Haskell Institute game? In 1908 Alabama squeezed out a 9-8 win over Haskell.

Last year Florida Atlantic was a first-time Alabama opponent. The Tide was a 40-7 winner. Alabama Coach Nick Saban had a game against his alma mater in 2011. The Tide defeated Kent State, 48-7.

Altogether, Colorado State will become the 52nd team that Alabama will have played just one time. Bama's all-time record in those previous games is 39-12.

Many, of course, are against teams of little or no football importance today. But there were games against the likes of Carlisle (a 3-20 loss for Bama in 1914) that were powers in the day.

Alabama's 1922 win over Pennsylvania, 9-7 in 1922 in Philadelphia, is considered by football historians the game that started Bama on the way to national prominence. The East was the seat of college football power, and Alabama's upset of Penn was as big as if Pennsylvania today would come to Tuscaloosa and beat the Tide.

Alabama has one-game records against the likes of BYU, Illinois, Iowa State, Michigan State, North Carolina, Stanford, Texas Tech, Washington State (all wins); Minnesota, Oklahoma State, Utah, Wisconsin (losses). Many of those were in bowl games – Stanford and Washington State in Rose Bowl games; Utah in Sugar Bowl; Texas Tech in Cotton; North Carolina in Gator; Michigan State in Capital One; Iowa State and Oklahoma State in Independence.

Illinois was also a bowl opponent, Bama taking a 21-15 win in the Liberty Bowl at the end of the 1982 season in what was the last Tide game coached by Paul Bryant.

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