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*In-state, two semesters' tuition and required fees. Source: U.S. News Best Colleges 2012.

Synonymous with college football pageantry and prestige, Bama has won 22 SEC titles and 14 national titles. In 1913, university President George H. Denny dubbed it “The Capstone” of higher education in the state.

Town: Tuscaloosa (pop. 90,468)

Enrollment: 31,747 

Nickname: Crimson Tide, a title given to the “crimson and white” varsity team in 1907 by Hugh Roberts, former sports editor of the Birmingham Age-Herald.

Colors: Crimson and white

Traditions: The Million Dollar Band plays the “Rammer Jammer Cheer” after a Tide victory. The Walk Of Fame, which bears hand and foot impressions of each football captain since 1940, is located beneath Denny Chimes, a bell tower dedicated in 1929. Roll Tide is the rallying cry for Alabama athletics.

Eats and treats: Visit Waysider Restaurant, a favorite breakfast place where legendary football Coach Bear Bryant stopped for biscuits and cheese grits. Baumhower’s Wings, created by former All-American Bob Baumhower, is a favorite sports bar. The Dreamland Bar-B-que slogan brags, when it comes to its ribs, “Ain’t nothing like ’em nowhere!”

Places and spaces: The Strip, located just off campus, offers boutiques, restaurants and Bama apparel stores. Just a short stroll from the quad, River Walk on the Black Warrior River offers views of tugboats and barges.

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