This will be only the third game between Alabama and Oklahoma and the first regular season game. The previous two meetings were in bowl games.
Oklahoma returns the game to Tuscaloosa on Sept. 6, 2003.
Alabama and Oklahoma first met in 1963 Orange Bowl when the Tide was 5th ranked and Oklahoma 8th. Behind quarterback Joe Namath and linebacker Lee Roy Jordan, Alabama won 17-0. Namath rushed for 24 yards and hit 9-of-17 passing for another 86 yards and one TD, while Jordan had a bowl record 31 tackles.
The 1970 Bluebonnet Bowl ended in a 24-24 tie. Alabama was not ranked and the Sooners were No. 20 in the AP poll. Oklahoma's Bruce Derr kicked a 42-yard field goal with just 59 seconds in the game to tie the score. It was an offensive display from both teams with the Tide getting 428 yards and the Sooners, 415. Bama's Johnny Musso had 138 yards and quarterback Scott Hunter hit 13 of 26 passes for 174 yards and one TD.
GAME CAPTAINSGame captains for the Oklahoma game are Tyler Watts (quarterback) and Sam Collins (flanker) on offense and Jarret Johnson (defensive tackle) and Waine Bacon (strong safety) on defense.
THE TRADITIONSAlabama and Oklahoma will meet for the first time in a regular-season game this Saturday at Norman's Memorial Stadium. The two previous meetings came in post-season bowl games, including the 1963 Orange Bowl and 1970 Astro Bluebonnet Bowl.
- Alabama (12) and Oklahoma (7) have combined to win 19 college football national championships.
- The Sooners (7) and Crimson Tide (6) have combined to win 13 Associated Press National Championships. UA won AP titles in 1961, 1964, 1965, 1978, 1979 and 1992. The AP crowned the Sooners as national champions in 1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985 and 2000.
- Since 1936, only six schools have won back-to-back AP national championships. Alabama and Oklahoma have won back-to-back national titles twice. The Crimson Tide posted back-to-back championships in 1964-65 and 1978-79. Oklahoma won back-to-back national titles in 1955-56 and 1974-75.
- Entering the 2002 season, Alabama had posted the third-highest winning percentage in college football history with a .71676 winning mark. Oklahoma ranked sixth all-time with a .70507 winning mark.
- In terms of all-time wins, Alabama and Penn State are tied for fifth with 745 career wins, while Oklahoma is ninth with 712 wins.
- Oklahoma and Alabama have the top five winning percentages during a 10-year span in college football history, dating back to the 1945 season.
- Alabama coach Dennis Franchione has never faced Oklahoma or Coach Bob Stoops in his 20-year coaching career.
- Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has never faced Alabama or Coach Dennis Franchione in his four-year head coaching career. As an assistant coach, Stoops squared off twice against Alabama while serving as Steve Spurrier's defensive coordinator at the University of Florida. In 1996, Florida beat Alabama 45-30 in the SEC Championship game en route to the national title. In 1998, Florida beat Alabama 16-10 in a regular-season meeting at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
- Both Franchione and Stoops have had previous coaching stints at Kansas State. Franchione was an assistant coach with the K-State Wildcats from 1978-80, while Stoops worked in Manhattan, Kan., from 1989-95, serving as defensive backs coach (1989-90) and co-defensive coordinator (1991-95).
- Alabama redshirt freshman rover Mark Anderson is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Okla. As a prep senior (2000), he had 104 tackles and nine sacks leading Washington HS to an 11-2 record.
- Alabama assistant head coach and receivers coach Kenith Pope is a 1976 graduate of the University of Oklahoma and former Sooner football letterman. Pope played for Coach Barry Switzer from 1971-73, leading OU to a 29-5-1 record and one Big Eight title. Following a 17-14 win over Nebraska in his junior season (1972), Pope was earned National Defensive Back of the Week honors. His senior season, OU went 10-0-1 and captured the Big Eight championship. Pope also played in the Blue-Grey Classic in Montgomery, Ala., and the American Bowl. As a sophomore (1971), Pope was a part of "The Game" as Nebraska beat Oklahoma 35-31 in a game that featured the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the nation.
- Pope has also served as an assistant coach at both Oklahoma (Defensive Ends, 1995-97) and Oklahoma State (Defensive Ends, 1987-90) in his 21-year coaching career.
- Alabama cornerbacks coach Chris Thurmond, is an Oklahoma native and graduate of Tulsa University (Education, 1975). In his 28-year coaching career, Thurmond has spent 20 years coaching in the state of Oklahoma. He was the Sooners secondary coach in 1996-97 under Coach John Blake. Thurmond has also had coaching stints at McAlester High School (1975-76), Page High School (1977-79, 1981-82 Head Coach), Claremore High School (1980), Tulsa (Secondary Coach, 1983-91; Linebackers, 1994) and OU (1996-97). During his stint at Tulsa, Thurmond worked under head coach Dave Rader, a former Alabama assistant coach under Ray Perkins (1983-86).
- Alabama's Director of Football Operations Charley North has spent 30 of his 35 years in the coaching profession in the state of Oklahoma, including a 16-year stint with the Sooners (1979-94). During his stay with Oklahoma, the Sooners played in 12 bowl games, including six Orange Bowls. During his tenure at Oklahoma, the Sooners posted a 139-46-4 (.783) record and won the 1985 National Championship. OU won 10 or more games five times in North's tenure. He coached for Barry Switzer (1979-88) and Gary Gibbs (1989-94) before moving to Arkansas.
- North was a football and baseball standout at Waggoner High School and then was twice selected all-conference as center at Panhandle State where he plated collegiately from 1964-66. He also coached in the high school ranks at Waggoner (1967-68), McAlester (1969-71; 1976-78 Head Coach) and Tecumseh (Head Coach, 1972-75).
- Three members of the current OU coaching staff (Cale Gundy, Jackie Shipp and Merv Johnson) were players or assistant coaches while North was working at Oklahoma from 1979-94.
- Current OU quarterbacks coach Cale Gundy was the Sooners quarterback from 1991-94.
- OU defensive line coach Jackie Shipp starred from 1980-83 and was a first-round draft pick with the Miami Dolphins. Shipp is OU's second all-time leading tackler (477) and was a member of the Sooners 1980 Big Eight Championship team. The Sooners were 33-14-1 during his playing career.
- Shipp also served one year as defensive line coach at Alabama during the 1998 season under former head coach Mike DuBose.
- Merv Johnson, OU's current Director of Football Operations, was an assistant coach at OU with North (1978-94). Johnson served as an OU assistant from 1978-97 before taking over his current role in 1998.
ALABAMA AGAINST THE BIG 12The Crimson Tide has compiled a 12-13-2 (.464) all-time record against the current members of the Big 12 Conference. The Oklahoma game will mark the second meeting in three games between Alabama and a Big 12 opponent. The Crimson Tide posted a 14-13 win over Iowa State at the Dec. 27, 2001 Mainstay Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. Alabama has won its last two games against the Big 12 Conference and has never won three consecutive games against the league.
- Alabama has never faced Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State or Texas Tech in football.
- The last time Alabama faced a current Big 12 team in the regular season was a 30-10 win at Texas A&M in 1988.
- Alabama is 5-8 (.385) in regular-season meetings with teams from the Big 12 Conference.
- Alabama has compiled a 7-5-2 (.615) all-time bowl record against the current members of the Big 12 Conference.
- From 1965-72, Alabama played seven straight bowl games against teams from the Big 8 or Southwest Conference, consisting of all current members of the Big 12.