Alabama claims it has 16 national titles, but several are disputed
But not everyone agrees that Alabama has won so many titles. The NCAA only counts 14 Alabama championships, and the AP has only awarded Alabama 10 titles (this is likely because the AP poll did not officially begin until 1936).
Here's a look at Alabama's national titles that aren't so clear-cut.
Alabama (10–0) says the school shares the national title for this year with Dartmouth (8-0). The claim is based on votes by the Helms Athletic Foundation and the College Football Researchers Association. However, both HAF and CFRA were not founded until years later, meaning Alabama’s 1925 title was retroactively awarded. Alabama is not the only school to retroactively claim a title. In fact, schools are permitted to declare titles based on a set of standards of their own choosing. The NCAA only lists Alabama.
Similar to the 1925 title, Alabama uses ranking systems that were not created until well after the alleged title victory. Based on the HAF and the CFRA, two systems created after 1926, Alabama claims the title for this year. Stanford was also retroactively given the title for this year based on these systems. The NCAA recognizes both Alabama (9–0–1) and Stanford (10–0–1) as the national title holders.
Notre Dame (10–0) was ranked No. 1 by Dickinson, Dunkel System, and Houlgate, which all were in effect in 1930. Alabama is recognized as the national champion by four ranking systems, but the validity of the title is called into question because all of the systems in favor of Alabama were created after 1930. The NCAA lists both Notre Dame and Alabama as the 1930 national champions.
According to Alabama, the school shares the 1934 title with Minnesota. Alabama finished the season with a record of 10–0, earning the No. 1 spot in three ranking systems. Minnesota finished the season with a record of 8–0, also getting No. 1 votes from three ranking systems. In the years to follow, Minnesota was retroactively recognized by more ranking systems than Alabama, earning the school the official title. The NCAA only lists Minnesota as the 1934 national champion.
Neither the NCAA nor the Associated Press recognizes Alabama as the 1941 title holder. Alabama finished the season with a record of 9–2. The Associated Press ranked the Crimson Tide No. 20 in the nation with the team finishing third in the SEC. However, Alabama still managed to earn the No. 1 spot in the Houlgate ranking system which the school uses as the basis for its claim on the 1941 title. Minnesota is the only official recognized title holder.
Alabama finished the 1964 season with a record of 10–1 after a loss to Texas in the Rose Bowl. Both the Associated Press and the United Press International awarded Alabama the national title this season before the Bowl game. Arkansas (11–0) completed an undefeated season, but still shares the title with Alabama in the eyes of the NCAA and AP. Notre Dame was also given the title by the National Football Foundation, but the school does not claim the championship.
Both Alabama and the NCAA recognize the 1973 title, but the Associated Press ranks the Crimson Tide fourth four this year. Alabama lost to Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, but the school was awarded the national title by the UPI before the bowl game was played. The UPI later changed its voting system the following year so that champions were named after bowl games. Notre Dame is recognized as the 1973 title holder by the Associated Press.