Stuart McNair

Alabama has had extraordinary success as nation’s top football school

Wins, championships, bowl record make Alabama college football’s No. 1 brand

The winning numbers for Alabama football are incredible, equal to or greater than all the elite of college football. The Crimson Tide under Coach Nick Saban is the No.1 brand in the game, with the emphasis on No. 1.


Alabama has won four national championships under Saban and now has 15, according to College Football Data Warehouse ( That is the most among major college football teams. Notre Dame is second with 13, followed by Michigan with 11, and Southern Cal with 10.


The Crimson Tide may not be the favorite to win the 2016 national championship and improve in this most prestigious of numbers, but with Saban at the helm, top recruiting classes stacked on top of one another, and the recent record of Bama teams, Alabama is not likely to be counted out of the mix.


Alabama also won its 25th Southeastern Conference championship last year, equal to No. 2 Tennessee (13) and No. 3 Georgia (12) combined.


The SEC Western Division is a weekly minefield, and Alabama also has to play the team considered the favorite for the SEC East in 2016, Tennessee, in Knoxville.


Should one expect Alabama to add to its records for national championships and SEC championships in 2016?


There are other categories of interest, too.


Alabama is far and away the nation’s most famous bowl team. The Crimson Tide has played in an NCAA record 64 bowl games with an NCAA record 35 wins. And that’s including last year as Bama having played in and won only one bowl game. Even though the 2009, 2011, and 2012 national championship games were not strictly speaking bowl games, they are listed as such. But consensus opinion is that last year’s College Football Playoff Game win over Clemson was not a bowl game, so the Tide gets credit only for its Cotton Bowl win over Michigan State in the College Football Playoff semifinal game.


Almost everyone would expect the 2016 Alabama team to add to its national record bowl game appearances with a chance at adding to its national record bowl game wins.


No major college football team has won 15 games in a season.


Alabama is the only major college football team to win 14 games in a season two times, winning the 2009 national championship with a 14-0 record and last year’s national title with a 14-1 mark. Only five major college football teams have won 14 games one time, including Clemson which went into last season’s national championship game with a 14-0 record.


Team with most 13-win seasons in major college football? You got it. Alabama with four. Florida and Nebraska have done it three times.


Alabama is also first in 12-win seasons with nine, tied with Boise State. Nebraska has seven, Ohio State and Oklahoma both six.


Oklahoma has the most 11-win seasons, though. The Sooners have accomplished the feat 21 times. Alabama is second with 19. Penn State has done it 15 seasons, Florida State and Ohio State 14 times each.


Alabama and Oklahoma are tied for the most 10-win seasons with 35 each.


What plateau might Bama reach in 2016?


Alabama, of course, is among the all-time leaders in major college football victories and winning percentage. The actual on-the-field record is 893-317-44, a winning percentage of .730, but unprecedented, incongruous NCAA penalties against the Tide football program changed 8 victories and 1 tie into losses and vacated 21 victories.


Thus, the record shows Alabama with a record of 864-326-43, a .718 percentage.


Among major college teams, Bama ranks sixth in victories behind Michigan 925, Notre Dame 892 (notice without the penalties, Alabama would be ahead of the Irish), Texas 886, Nebraska 880, and Ohio State 875.


Can Alabama move up the ladder insofar as teams with most wins since the Tide trails the Buckeyes by 11? It doesn’t seem likely this year. Oklahoma is right behind Bama with 861 wins.


In winning percentage, Alabama is sixth behind Notre Dame at .734, Michigan at .730 (the same as Alabama’s actual percentage), Boise State at .723, Ohio State at .722, and Oklahoma at .720.


It is difficult to move very far in percentage points in a season.


In many respects, Alabama is in competition only with itself for great football records.

BamaMag Top Stories