Alabama Football: 10 memorable Crimson Tide season-openers

Wilbur Jackson - Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Wilbur Jackson - Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama Football
Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.- Bear Bryant Statue /

No. 4 Alabama vs. Florida State (1967)

The Crimson Tide went to Legion Field ranked No. 2 after an undefeated 1966 season, when it deserved a National Championship.

Florida State was coming off a 6-5 season and was not considered to be in the top half of Division 1 Football. On the defensive side of the ball, the heavily favored Crimson Tide did not play like any of Bryant’s previous teams. The Seminoles gained over 400 yards and Alabama had to scramble to gain a 37-37 tie. To most Crimson Tide fans, it felt like a bad loss.

The game marked a major downturn for the Crimson Tide with the 1967-1970 seasons producing a total of just 28 wins.

No. 5 Alabama at Southern Cal (1971)

The season before, USC had embarrassed Alabama in Birmingham. Paul Bryant’s good friend, John McKay could have made the outcome worse than the 42-21 final. The 1970 season ended at 6-5-1 with a miserable 24-24 tie in the Bluebonnet Bowl.

In the offseason, Bryant secretly got another good friend, Darrell Royal to teach the Tide staff the wishbone. In the few open practices in the preseason, Bryant only showed the 1970’s team Pro-Style offense.

In Los Angeles, McKay and his Trojans were caught unaware. Led by quarterback Terry Davis and magnificent running back, Johnny Musso, Alabama gained a 17-0 lead five minutes into the second quarter. A stubborn Tide defense held on to win 17-10.

The win in Los Angeles signaled the Crimson Tide was back.