Oklahoma vs. Alabama: A look at how two of college football’s most storied programs stack up
Legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant remains a fashion icon long after his death thanks to the houndstooth hat he made famous. Winning also looks good and Bryant did plenty in 25 seasons, going 232-46-9 with five national titles.
Barry Switzer was a little less subtle with his attire, sporting an iconic “Beat Texas” hat. That slogan still makes for a popular hat today. The Sooners beat Texas and many others in his 16 seasons, going 157-29-4 with three national titles.
Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa before the 2007 season having already won a national title (2003, LSU). But few could have imagined the results he would deliver in 12 seasons at Alabama, going 145-20 with five national titles.
Just like his former boss at Florida, Bob Stoops made the visor his go-to accessory. Also just like Steve Spurrier, Stoops won big in Norman, going 190-48 with a national title (2000) in 16 seasons as the Sooners’ head coach.
Last Heisman winner
Derrick Henry gave Alabama its second winner in seven seasons (Mark Ingram, 2009) after rushing for 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2015. Henry avoided any Heisman curse, leading the Tide to an epic national title win over Clemson.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was the presumed favorite for much of this season even as Kyler Murray posted video-game numbers week after week. The Tide likely turned with a Big 12-title effort against Texas.
In the pros
Good luck trying to pick the best Crimson Tide player in NFL history. There have been 372 Alabama players selected in NFL or AFL drafts. Quarterbacks alone, there are Super Bowl winners in Joe Namath, Ken Stabler and Bart Starr. Running back Shaun Alexander (above) is the Tide’s most recent NFL MVP, winning it in 2005 with the Seattle Seahawks.
Putting together an all-time Sooner NFL team could just as hard as selecting one of Tide alums. The Sooners top the Tide in players drafted (404). Three-time Super Bowl winner Troy Aikman had the most successful NFL career of any former OU player, but he left for UCLA. Adrian Peterson (above) is OU’s most recent NFL MVP, winning in 2012 with the Vikings.
Jan. 1, 1963: Orange Bowl
(8) Alabama 17, (5) Oklahoma 0
Oklahoma 0 0 0 0—0
Alabama 7 7 3 0—17
Orange Bowl Stadium, Miami
President John F. Kennedy was in attendance for the first matchup between Oklahoma and Alabama. Joe Namath threw an early touchdown pass for the Crimson Tide. Fullback Jim Grisham (above) and the Sooners couldn’t gain much traction after that.
Dec. 31, 1970: Bluebonnet Bowl
(20) Oklahoma 24, Alabama 24
Alabama 7 7 3 7—24
Oklahoma 7 14 0 3—24
The Sooners’ second appearance in the now-defunct Bluebonnet Bowl and against the Tide ended in a now-defunct result — a tie. Gregg Pruitt ran for a pair of touchdowns (on runs of 58 and 25 yards) to lead OU. Bruce Derr’s 42-yard field goal gave OU a 24-24 tie.
Sept. 7, 2002: Regular season
(2) Oklahoma 37, Alabama 27
Alabama 3 0 14 10—27
Oklahoma 9 14 0 14—37
Gaylord Family-Memorial Stadium, Norman
The first regular-season game between OU and Alabama lived up to the hype. Mark Clayton (above) caught two touchdowns as the Sooners built a 23-3 lead, but the Crimson Tide scored the next 24 points. The Sooners scored two TDs in the final 2:11 for the win.
Sept. 6, 2003: Regular season
(1) Oklahoma 20, Alabama 13
Oklahoma 6 7 7 0—20
Alabama 0 3 7 3—13
Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Soon-to-be Heisman Trophy winner Jason White threw touchdown passes of 46 yards to Mark Clayton and 47 yards to Brandon Jones. Teddy Lehman and the Sooners held on for the second of 12 consecutive wins. First-year coach Mike Shula and the Tide went 4-9.
Jan. 2, 2014: Sugar Bowl
(11) Oklahoma 45, (3) Alabama 31
Oklahoma 14 17 0 14—45
Alabama 10 7 7 7—31
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
OU quarterback Trevor Knight had a game for the ages against the two-time defending BCS national champions, completing a Sugar Bowl-record 32 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns. The Crimson Tide entered the game as 16.5-point favorites.
918-302-42 overall record
26 conference titles
68 bowl appearances
40-25-3 bowl record
69 consensus All-Americans
2 Heisman Trophy winners
15 National championships
843-304-47 overall record
45 conference titles
51 bowl appearances
29-21-1 bowl record
67 consensus All-Americans
7 Heisman Trophy winners
7 National championships