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
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No. 8 Alabama vs. Clemson in Atlanta (2008)

It can be argued this Clemson game was the birth of Nick Saban’s Alabama Football Dynasty.

Going into the game, the Crimson Tide was ranked No. 24, and Clemson was ranked No. 9. Clemson featured a pair of running backs, known as “Thunder and Lightning,’ Combined, James Davis and C.J. Spiller gained 28 yards.

Alabama took a 13-0 first-quarter lead and the game was never close. The beatdown was worse than the final score of 34-10. The game effectively ended Tommy Bowden’s head coaching career.

No. 9 Alabama vs. Michigan in Dallas (2012)

Though the Crimson Tide was the defending National Champion, it arrived in Dallas ranked No. 2. Michigan led by hyped super-athlete Denard Robinson at QB, was ranked No. 8.

The ESPN recap of the game used these words to describe the Tide’s performance – ‘dominance’, ‘manhandled’ and ‘pounded’ as applied to tackles of Denard Robinson. At halftime, the Crimson Tide led 31-7. Nick Saban hit the brakes and the Tide coasted the rest of the way.

No. 10 Alabama Football vs. Southern Cal (2016)

Coming off an 8-6, 2015 season that ended with two losses, USC went to Dallas ranked No. 20. Defending National Champion Alabama was ranked No. 1. The game was a total mismatch. The Crimson Tide might as well have been playing a mid-level Group of Five team.

The Trojans produced two field goals. The 2016 Alabama football team could have broken 70 points, but for a slow start. Nick Saban was correct when he said the Tide got off to a shaky start in the first quarter and trailed 3-0. The Tide’s first four possessions were punt, lost fumble, punt, and punt before Jalen Hurts connected on a long touchdown pass to Ardarius Stewart. A field goal and a Marlon Humphrey pick-six gave the Tide a 17-3 halftime lead.

Eleven plays into the third quarter, the score was 31-3 and the game was over. Actually, it was over in the first half. For the game, USC had 194 yards of Total Offense to the Tide’s 465 yards.

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The most frequent Crimson Tide, season-opening opponent has been Samford. In the period of those games, from 1911 through 1939, the Tide played (then-named) Howard College nine times in opening games.