- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
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From now until kickoff in Arlington, Texas, we'll be counting down from 100 until Alabama and Michigan get the season started. Today, we move to No. 61 and what it means to UA football. See all the previous editions here.
The 1960s were kind to the University of Alabama. The Crimson Tide lost just 16 games, won 88, claimed four conference titles and took home three national championships. In 1966, UA didn't finish No. 1 despite going undefeated. Either way, the Crimson Tide won the decade and returned to prominence in a big way.
The reason for the turnaround after a subpar decade earlier? Paul 'Bear' Bryant. In 1958, Alabama's most legendary football coach heard Mama's call and went from Texas A&M to Tuscaloosa, and changed the history of college football in doing so.
In his first two seasons leading the Tide, Bryant won five and seven games. But in 1960, the light came on. UA went 8-1-2 and played in a bowl game. The next season, Bryant had the Tide undefeated and won the first of his six national championships at Alabama.
The 1960s produced legends like Billy Neighbors, Joe Namath, Ray Perkins and Kenny Stabler. Alabama won five bowl games and lost to Auburn just twice. The Tide finished outside of the Associated Press Top 25 just once, and two years later went 11-1 and won the SEC title.
Only the 1970s rival the success Alabama had in Bryant's first decade coaching in Tuscaloosa. The Tide won all but one conference title from 1970-79 and claimed three more national titles.
4dEdward Aschoff and Alex Scarborough
3dAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf