Alabama Football: Ranking CFB’s best National Champions

(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) /

About a year ago we suggested Alabama Football should lead a trend to reject claimed National Championships. It has not happened, of course, much for the same reason, Nick Saban cannot only schedule games against FBS teams. Not enough other programs would discard their annual ‘guaranteed wins.’

Our National Championship proposal was,

"The Crimson Tide could lead the way by no longer ‘claiming’ national titles. Counting only titles won on the field and those awarded by the AP and Coaches Polls might be the solution. Call these the ‘Won and Awarded’ National Championships."

If such a change was made and every program concurred, the Alabama Crimson Tide would still be the all-time leader in National Championships with 13 titles. Six other college football programs would follow the Alabama Football total with five to eight National Championships.

On a slow summer Saturday night, I am thinking about the history of college football national championships again.

Another source College Football News (CFN) calculated rankings for CFB’s, 150 National Champions. The results were published in May, 2019, so the more recent titles by LSU, Alabama and Georgia are not included.

The rankings go back to the 19th century and based on CFN’s calculation, there had been 150 National Champions throughout college football history. Their detailed, but relatively simple formula can be reviewed here.

In counting Crimson Tide titles, CFN did not give credit for the claimed titles in 1930, 1934 and 1941. In the best list to use as a National Championship resource, the NCAA does not recognize the Tide’s 1934 and 1941 titles. As I have written many times, the Alabama program should not claim 1941 either.

Alabama Football and the CFN National Champions Rankings

  • No. 3 – 2015 Crimson Tide
  • No. 7 – 2009 Crimson Tide
  • No. 23 – 2012 Crimson Tide
  • No. 28 – 2017 Crimson Tide
  • No. 45 – 1992 Crimson Tide
  • No. 48 – 2011 Crimson Tide
  • No. 78 – 1979 Crimson Tide
  • No. 79 – 1925 Crimson Tide
  • No. 80 – 1978 Crimson Tide
  • No. 86 – 1961 Crimson Tide
  • No. 94  – 1973 Crimson Tide
  • No. 122 – 1964 Crimson Tide
  • No. 124 – 1926 Crimson Tide
  • No. 38 – 1965 Crimson Tide

Many Tide fans can debate CFN’s rankings. I would gladly join in, but instead, it seems worthwhile to use the results as another example of the greatest program in college football history. Without actually breaking down the totals for other elite college football programs, there is no doubt the CFN calculations show no other program matches the Crimson Tide.

dark. Next. Nick Saban walking away is hogwash.

Another interesting point from the CFN rankings is at least five seasons, the National Champion had to beat the Crimson Tide to win a title. Those games were against Notre Dame in 1973, Florida in 2008 (SEC Championship), Ohio State in 2014 and Clemson in 2016 and 2018.