College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.
Crimson and White
The Alabama Crimson Tide football team represents the University of Alabama (variously Alabama, UA, or 'Bama) in the sport of American football. The Crimson Tide competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The Crimson Tide is among the most storied and decorated programs in NCAA history. Since beginning play in 1892, the program recognizes 15 of the national championships awarded to the team, including 10 wire-service (AP or Coaches) national titles in the poll-era, the most of any current FBS program. From 1958 to 1982, the team was led by Hall of Fame coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, who won six national championships with the program. Despite numerous national and conference championships, it was not until 2009 that an Alabama player received a Heisman Trophy, when running back Mark Ingram became the university's first winner.
The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league composed of 32 teams divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The highest professional level of the sport in the world, the NFL runs a 17-week regular season from the week after Labor Day to the week after Christmas, with each team playing sixteen games and having one bye week. Out of the league's 32 teams, six (four division winners and two wild-card teams) from each conference compete in the NFL playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, played between the champions of the NFC and AFC. The champions of the Super Bowl are awarded the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Various other awards exist to recognize individual players and coaches. Most games are played on Sunday afternoons; some games are also played on Mondays and Thursdays during the regular season. There are games on Saturdays during the last few weeks of the regular season and the first two playoff weekends.
The NFL was formed on August 20, 1920, as the American Professional Football Conference; the league changed its name to the American Professional Football Association (APFA) on September 17, 1920, and changed its name to the National Football League on June 24, 1922, after spending the 1920 and 1921 seasons as the APFA. In 1966, the NFL agreed to merge with the rival American Football League (AFL), effective 1970; the first Super Bowl was held at the end of that same season in January 1967. Today, the NFL has the highest average attendance (67,591) of any professional sports league in the world and is the most popular sports league in the United States. The Super Bowl is among the biggest club sporting events in the world and individual Super Bowl games account for many of the most-watched programs in American history. At the corporate level, the NFL is a nonprofit 501(c)(6) association. The NFL's executive officer is the commissioner, who has broad authority in governing the league.
The Sugar Bowl is an annual American college football bowl game played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Sugar Bowl has been played annually since January 1, 1935, and celebrated its 75th anniversary on January 2, 2009. The Sugar Bowl, along with the Orange Bowl and Sun Bowl, are the second-oldest bowl games in the country, behind the Rose Bowl. The Sugar Bowl is also a member of the Bowl Championship Series. Presently, its official title is the Allstate Sugar Bowl after its current sponsor.
The Sugar Bowl has had a longstanding--albeit not exclusive--relationship with the Southeastern Conference. From 1950—1995, only once did the Sugar Bowl not feature an SEC team. That relationship has been altered over the past twenty years due to conference realignments and the emergence of a series of coalitions and alliances intending to produce an undisputed national champion in college football, but the ties between the Sugar Bowl and the SEC have persisted and have recently been strengthened. Starting in January 2015, the Sugar Bowl game will feature the SEC and Big 12 conference champions (unless they are involved in the national championship game or the Sugar Bowl is hosting a playoff semifinal game), an arrangement nearly identical with the relationship between the Rose Bowl and the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12.
After the worst decade in the history of Alabama football, Paul Bryant took the Tide to its greatest successes to date. From 1961 to 1966 Alabama won four SEC championships, three national championships (in 1961, 1964, and 1965), and enjoyed winning streaks of 19 and 17 games. Alabama participated in a bowl game every season. However, the end of the decade saw a slight decline into mediocrity.
Bear Bryant's third team at Alabama was better than his second, which was better than his first. The 1960 team went 8–1–2, which was the best record for any Alabama team since the 1952 team went 10–2 and played in the Orange Bowl. Highlights of the season included a victory over defending SEC champion Georgia and a 3–0 win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl. After trailing Georgia Tech 15–0 at the half, Bama rallied to win 16–15 on a field goal as time expired. However, Alabama lost 20–7 to Tennessee, a team they had not beaten since 1954, and that loss cost Bama a share of the conference title in 1960. Alabama played Texas to a 3–3 tie in the Bluebonnet Bowl.