The religion of Roll Tide The Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama. Since they began playing football in 1892, the Tide have won 16 national championships. Current head coach Nick Saban has won four titles in seven years. And they’re in the hunt for another this season. The culture of Alabama football is ubiquitous, it’s the state’s main rallying point. The school’s alumni are plentiful and proud, but they make only a portion of the fan base. Tide football is a constant in conversation, a sure ice breaker in pretty much every corner of the state. Although if the folks you want to talk to are wearing Auburn colors the conversation may be contentious. Alabama as a whole takes great pride in the strength, consistency and excellence of the university’s football program. The South loves football, and no place more than Alabama Holden Smith, age 14, from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, holds up a Alabama Crimson Tide football signed by many players and coaches. Holden has been waiting in the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel while in Atlanta for the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (3 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN/ESPN App). Callie Walker, a sophomore at the University of Alabama and current Miss UA, signs an autograph for Benton Craig, 8, at the Marriott Marquis after the Alabama fan pep rally. Diane Hamilton’s son is Alabama star linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton. A storefront window on “The Strip,” on University Avenue in Tuscaloosa, shows support for the Crimson Tide and questions the Washington fans. Father and son, Eric and Frank Graham walk down the street in Mobile, Alabama, showcasing their jackets displaying the Tide’s winning history.