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In 1975, when the Crimson Tide celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the original Rose Bowl victory, Alabama opened with a 20-7 loss to Missouri, but allowed only 52 points the rest of the season to win the Southeastern Conference title.

With the conference having reached an agreement for its top team to annually play in the Sugar Bowl, which had relocated to the Louisiana Superdome, Alabama would try to snap its eight-game winless streak in the postseason against Penn State and Joe Paterno.

The key play came in the fourth quarter, after Crimson Tide quarterback Richard Todd called a timeout.

“We had a sweep called to the left side, but I didn’t like the defense they were in. I didn’t want to take the chance of running a play,” Todd said. “So I called time. I went over to the sidelines and Coach Bryant sort of winked at me. He called a pass.”

Sophomore wide receiver Ozzie Newsome, who was already well on his way to a Hall of Fame career, ran a slant-and-go route and beat the single coverage for a 55-yard gain to set up the only touchdown of the game, an 11-yard sweep by halfback Mike Stock.

Alabama won 13-6 and Todd, who completed 10 of 12 passes for 205 yards, was named the game’s most valuable player. But afterward, the most pressing question reporters had for Bryant wasn’t about the time out, Newsome’s reception, or the fact that the No. 3 Crimson Tide would not move up in the final polls.

They wanted to know why the coach didn’t wear his trademark houndstooth hat.

“My mother always taught me not to wear a hat indoors,” he replied, much to delight of Crimson Tide fans everywhere.

Although Georgia has its bulldog mascot, Uga, and the conference has an overall abundance of iconic imagines ranging from Colonel Reb (now retired) to Arkansas’ Tusk, a 380-pound Russian boar that resembles a wild razorback hog, none may be as prevalent as Bryant’s houndstooth hat. It's as much of a staple on the Tuscaloosa campus today as when the coach was dominating college football in the 1960s and 1970s.

In terms of coaching headgear perhaps only Tom Landry’s fedora comes close, and Steve Spurrier’s trademark visor would have to be considered a very distant third. But overall, there’s never been a stronger fashion statement in sports, including Tiger Woods’ baseball-style cap and red shirts on Sundays, Bum Phillips’ cowboy hat, and Jim Brown’s skullcap.

In addition to wearing a replica houndstooth hat to games, many fans have made the black-and-white checkerboard design as part of their year-around wardrobe, including shirts, jackets, scarves, skirts, coats, purses, gloves, shoes, belts and even pants.

In 2006, Alabama wore a special commemorative crimson jerseys with a houndstooth trim on the collars, against Ole Miss to honor the 25th anniversary of Bryant’s 315 win (the Crimson Tide won in overtime).

Also, the Bryant Museum has displayed a specially made Waterford crystal replica of Bryant’s houndstooth hat along with the real thing.

Some of this post originated from "100 Things Crimson tide Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die," published by Triumph Books