"Crimson tide" is a term coined by an Alabama reporter to describe the University of Alabama football team's brilliant defense against rival Auburn during a 1907 football game played in a muddy "sea." The term stuck and is, to this day, the nickname of the University of Alabama football team. Prior to being called the Crimson Tide, the team was known as the Crimson White and the Thin Red Line.
The soil in much of the South, including Alabama, is an orange-red clay-like substance. When it rains, the color intensifies into a reddish hue. Additionally, the University of Alabama's school colors are crimson and white. Hugh Roberts, a reporter for the "Birmingham Age-Herald" observed that the University of Alabama football team appeared to be a "crimson tide" in a "sea of mud" while maintaining a score of 6-6 during the game. The rivalry between the University of Alabama and Auburn is so intense that the 1907 game in which Alabama earned its infamous nickname was the last between the two until 1948. To this day, the Alabama Auburn game is one of the most anticipated of fans of both schools. Auburn University is also located in Alabama, and is well known for its strong football program.