Alabama’s College Football Playoff matchup with Clemson will go down as just more evidence that the Tide program is historically in a league of its own. When the Crimson Tide and the Tigers kick off in New Orleans, Clemson will become the 10th team to meet Alabama three or more times in a bowl game.
Yes, that’s a lot.
It’s also a record, even in the age of proliferating not-so-major bowls alongside the traditional giants.
The next closest is Nebraska, which has played six schools (Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami and Tennessee) three or more times in bowls.
The January 1 game will be bowl game number 67 (also a record) for the Crimson Tide, which has played 13 more bowls than the next closest teams.
Clemson becomes the 10th three-time bowl opponent, following the College Football Playoff championship games of the last two years that still remain fresh on everyone’s mind. Of those three-time opponents, Clemson is the only one to meet Alabama in three seasons in a row.
But they’re far from the only team to get really, really used to playing the Crimson Tide in a bowl.
The most frequent bowl opponent for Alabama is Texas, which has faced the Tide six times in bowls, three times during the long tenures of Bear Bryant and Darrell Royal at the two schools.
The Longhorns frustrated Tide fans in those bowls for decades: Alabama lost to the Longhorns 27-7 in the 1947 Sugar Bowl, 21-17 in the 1964 Orange Bowl, 17-13 in the 1972 Cotton Bowl and 14-12 in the 1981 Cotton Bowl, in addition to a 3-3 tie in the 1960 Bluebonnet Bowl. It wasn’t until the 2009 BCS title game that Alabama finally broke through against Texas.
In addition to Texas and Clemson, Alabama has met eight other teams three times each. Here’s the full rundown on the Tide’s results in those games:
Alabama-Colorado: 1969 Liberty Bowl (lost 47-33), 1991 Blockbuster Bowl (won 30-25), 2007 Independence Bowl (won 30-24)
Alabama-Michigan: 1987 Hall of Fame Bowl (lost 28-24), 1996 Outback Bowl (won 17-14), 1999 Orange Bowl (lost 35-34)
Alabama-Nebraska: 1965 Orange Bowl (won 39-28), 1966 Sugar Bowl (won 34-7), 1971 Orange Bowl (lost 38-6)
Alabama-Notre Dame: 1973 Sugar Bowl (lost 24-23), 1974 Orange Bowl (lost 13-11), 2012 BCS National Championship (won 42-14)
Alabama-Ohio State: 1977 Sugar Bowl (won 35-6), 1994 Citrus Bowl (won 24-17), 2014 Sugar Bowl (lost 42-35)
Alabama-Oklahoma: 1962 Orange Bowl (won 17-0), 1970 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl (tied 24-24), 2013 Sugar Bowl (lost 45-31)
Alabama-Penn State: 1959 Liberty Bowl (lost 7-0), 1975 Sugar Bowl (won 13-6), 1978 Sugar Bowl (won 14-7)
Alabama-Washington: 1925 Rose Bowl (won 20-19), 1986 Sun Bowl (won 28-6), 2016 Peach Bowl (won 24-7)
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