Wade Wallace famously was invited to take the 9-0 Crimson Tide to California in 1925 to face off against Washington. At game’s end, the Tide was 10-0, declared national champions, and the nation, collectively, turned its head south and recognized that southern football was legitimate. As southerners, of course, we still face the national stigma of being backwards or hillbillies, but from 1925 onward through to today, there is no doubt anywhere in the country that in the South, championship football is played. The achievement of that 1925 squad should never be underestimated; in many ways, that game legitimized the South, as a whole, not just Alabama, in the eyes of the nation.
Following that win, a contest was held by the student newspaper The Rammer-Jammer to compose a fight song. Ethelred “Epp” Lundy Sykes, a student of the music department, won the contest, having written “Yea, Alabama!” It’s hard, even now, to read or sing the words of that song and not feel inspired. If we read the words with the context in mind of when and where it was written, it’s even more meaningful. Georgia Tech was in the same conference as Alabama then, and considered a rival, more so at the time than either Tennessee or Auburn, remarkably. Also remarkable: Georgia Tech has six SEC championships to their credit, even though they withdrew from the SEC in the early sixties. Auburn also has a total of six SEC championships.
When the author wrote that “if a man starts to weaken, that’s a shame, for Bama’s pluck and grit have writ her name in crimson flame,” he’s referring directly to that Rose Bowl victory that was so monumental that it resounds even to this day. So remember the Rose Bowl, that day when Alabama paved the way for all southern schools to compete in athletics with the rest of the country. You’re Dixie’s football pride, Crimson Tide.
Yea, Alabama! Drown ’em Tide! (-has been replaced with “Yea, Alabama! Crimson Tide!”)
Every ‘Bama man’s behind you; hit your stride!
Go teach the Bulldogs to behave,
Send the Yellow Jackets to a watery grave!
And if a man starts to weaken, that’s a shame!
For ‘Bama’s pluck and grit have writ her name in crimson flame!
Fight on, fight on, fight on, men!
Remember the Rose Bowl, we’ll win, then!
Go, roll to victory,
Hit your stride,
You’re Dixie’s football pride, Crimson Tide!