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.
American football (known as football in the United States and gridiron in some other countries) is a sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field 120 yards long by 53.33 yards wide with goalposts at each end. The offense attempts to advance an oval ball (the football) down the field by running with or passing it. They must advance it at least ten yards in four downs to receive a new set of four downs and continue the drive; if not, they turn over the football to the opposing team. Points are scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown, kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal or by the defense tackling the ball carrier in the offense's end zone for a safety. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.
American football evolved in the United States, originating from the sport of rugby football. The first game of American football was played on November 6, 1869 between two college teams, Rutgers and Princeton, under rules resembling rugby and soccer. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 onward by Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football", established the snap, eleven-player teams and the concept of downs, and later rule changes legalized the forward pass, created the neutral zone and specified the size and shape of the football.
The 1940 season opener, played against Spring Hill College at Murphy High School Stadium in Mobile, was the first night game in Alabama football history. Bama's loss to Tennessee was its third in a row in the Third Saturday in October rivalry.
Y The 1950s were the worst decade in the history of Alabama football. The Tide football program, a frequent contender in the Southeastern Conference and regular bowl participant, had five losing seasons in the decade after not having had a losing season since 1903. Alabama bottomed out with an 0–10 season in 1955, the worst in the history of the program. However, the decade ended with the hiring of Paul "Bear" Bryant, who would rebuild Alabama football and guide it to its greatest successes.
The decade got off to a promising start. Alabama went 9–2 and capped their season with a 34–0 victory over Auburn. However, a 14–9 loss to Tennessee and a loss to Vanderbilt cost Alabama the SEC title, and they finished in third place.