The glory that has become Alabama Football would be less without the Crimson Tide’s Rose Bowl history.
What a season, for Alabama Football and all of college football. Most fans hope there will never be another like it. In part, Crimson Tide fans feel the same way, but not in total. An SEC Championship has been won and the quest for another National Championship injects familiarity into the minds of Tide fans.
A most unusual Rose Bowl takes place in Texas. It is not the first time the Rose Bowl has been played somewhere other than Pasadena, CA. World War II concerns on the west coast pushed the 1942 game to Durham, NC.
Los Angeles Times writer, Chris Dufrense once said, “the Rose Bowl excels at sunsets and symmetry.” Sunset over the San Gabriel mountains will not be seen in Arlington, TX, but the symmetry Dufrense mentioned will be there for the Crimson Tide.
The Alabama Crimson Tide mostly backed into an invitation to the 1926 Rose Bowl. The 1925 Alabama football team was the third or fourth choice to take on the mighty Washington Huskies. Football ‘experts’ in the 1920s labeled southern programs equal to junior varsity teams from other areas of the country. Predictions for the game had the Crimson Tide losing by three to seven touchdowns. Mark Twain named the Alabama football team the ‘Tusca-losers.’
The Alabama Crimson Tide, 1926 Rose Bowl victory changed more than a program and a school. In a powerful manner, it boosted the deep south out of the doldrums of decades. Structural foundations require more than one cornerstone, but the foundation of Crimson Tide Football dominance has one cornerstone, and it is the 1926 Rose Bowl.
Technically, the Crimson Tide has not played in a Rose Bowl since 1946. Frank Thomas’ 1945 team beat Southern Cal, 34-14. That win pushed the Tide’s Rose Bowl record to 4-1-1. Talking the Rose Bowl Stadium, rather than the actual bowl, the Tide has more history in Pasadena.
That history, of course, is the 2009 National Championship game. If the 1926 Rose Bowl and subsequent 1925 National Championship had been a Crimson Tide Coronation, the January 7, 2010, BCS National Championship game was a Restoration.
Eli Gold described the Tide’s return to glory perfectly when at the end he said, “the roses in this grand old stadium are once again Crimson.”
Another tidbit of Alabama football history adds to the Tide’s Rose Bowl symmetry. Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant was introduced to Alabama football by listening to the 1926 Rose Bowl game on the radio.