There is much more to the Alabama Football vs. Texas history than the few wins by the Crimson Tide. The two programs have met 10 times, going back to the first game in 1902, That game pre-dated Denny Field which became Denny Stadium, which is Bryant-Denny today. The earliest Alabama games were played on different areas of what is now the Quad.
In the first two contests, Texas shut out Alabama, with the Longhorns winning 10-0 in 1902 and 20-0 in 1915. Alabama was the away team in the 1915 and 1922 games. In 1922, the Crimson Tide finally scored on Texas but lost 19-10.
The 1948 Sugar Bowl was another Crimson Tide loss to Texas, 27-7.
Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant had his most ‘success’ against Texas in the 1960 Bluebonnet Bowl. The game ended in a 3-3 tie and included a goal-line stand by the Longhorns when Bama went for a touchdown on 4th-and-1. Darrell Royal was the Texas coach. The former Oklahoma quarterback under Bud Wilkinson and Bryant became good friends. Royal deserves a hat tip for his help in one of the Crimson Tide’s most significant victories.
Bryant and Royal went head-to-head three more times in bowl games. Texas won all three. The most well-known was the 1965 Orange Bowl when a gimpy Joe Namath almost led Alabama to a comeback victory. In that Orange Bowl, Texas had another goal-line stand. On a 4th down sneak, Namath and the ball landed in the endzone. The officials called him short of a touchdown. Both Namath and the primary tackler, All-American Tommy Nobis believed Joe Willie had scored. Bryant never complained saying a team should never leave a game’s outcome up to the officials.
A big favor for Alabama Football
A few offseasons later, Darrell Royal did Bryant and Alabama Football a big favor. Quietly, Royal sent Emory Ballard and other Texas coaches to Tuscaloosa. At Bryant’s request, the Texas coaches were to teach Mal Moore and other Alabama coaches the wishbone.
Bryant’s ploy and Royal’s cooperation led to an early season upset of USC in 1971. Alabama, having lost to USC badly the season before in Birmingham, shocked the college football world when it unveiled its wishbone offense in Los Angeles. The offensive transition for Bryant and the Crimson Tide led to three National Championships in the 1970s.
Going into Saturday night, Texas leads the series of games 7-2-1, with the Crimson Tide having won the last two in 2010 and 2022. Alabama fans will never forget the 2010 game when the 2009 National Championship was won in the Rose Bowl. As Eli Gold eloquently stated at the game’s conclusion, “the roses in this grand old stadium are once again crimson.”