The University of Alabama has a long tradition of excellence in football.
The Tide has fielded some of the greatest teams and players in college
football history, and has historically been one of the top programs in all
of college football.
W.G. Little, of Livingston, Ala., was the first man to introduce football at
the University. Mr. Little had been a student at Andover, Mass., and went
to the University (of Alabama) carrying his uniform and a great bag of
enthusiasm for the game in 1892. A number of students joined in with him in
the season beginning in October of that year."
- Crimson White (Student
Paper), Nov. 25, 1926.
Alabama's first game was played in
Birmingham on Friday afternoon, Nov. 11, 1892, at the old Lakeview Park.
Opposition was furnished by a picked team from Professor Taylor's school and
Birmingham high schools, with Alabama winning, 56-0. Early teams were a bit
tougher than current squads, it seems, as the following afternoon Alabama
played the Birmingham Athletic Club, losing 5-4 when Ross, of B.A.C., kicked
a 65-yard field goal. Impossible though it may seem, this field goal was
listed as a collegiate record at one time and Birmingham papers of the day
featured its distance in writeups of the game.
The gridiron sport rapidly caught the
students' fancy and the game became a favorite with University athletes. In
1896 the University's board of trustees passed a rule forbidding athletic
teams from traveling off the campus. The following season only one game was
played and in 1898 football was abandoned at Alabama. Student opposition to
the ruling was so strong that the trustees lifeted the travel ban and
football was resumed in 1899, to continue without interruption until the
first World War forced cancellation of the 1918 games.
Alabama first gained national
recognition in 1922 when the University of Pennsylvania was defeated, 9-7,
in Philadelphia. The following season Wallace Wade became head coach and in
1925 led the Crimson Tide to its first undefeated and untied season and its
first Rose Bowl invitation. On Jan. 1, 1926, an unheralded, underrated team
from Tuscaloosa came from behind to upset Washington, 20-19, in the Rose
Bowl and established a precedent of colorful play that Crimson Tide teams
have continued to uphold.