When pundits bloviate during the hypefest for next week's BCS title game, they'll likely do so while sitting near an Alabama football helmet featuring the number 14. Why 14? Are the Crimson Tide rewarding freshman walk-on quarterback Edward Aldag, who currently wears the number? No. Is Alabama celebrating Steve Sloan, the quarterback who captained Bear Bryant's 1965 team while wearing No. 14? No.
Alabama plasters the number on everything from commemorative helmets to T-shirts to car magnets because the school claims to have won 14 national titles. Only one school claims more: Princeton, which claims a whopping 28 national titles -- mostly from 19th Century years in which it was one of a select few schools playing this strange new sport called football. In the modern era, Alabama claims more titles than any other school. The Crimson Tide's BCS title game opponent, Notre Dame, claims 11. The Fighting Irish are tied with USC and Michigan for the number of titles claimed.
Have the Tide and the Irish really combined to win 25 national titles? Well, that depends on your criteria for a national champ. Notre Dame's standards for claiming a title seem higher than Alabama's, but even some of the titles the Irish claim can still be debated.