As promised, we'll be taking a look at opponents we'd love to see the Crimson Tide schedule for future OOC slates. Of course, most of these picks will be based on fairly high revenge quotients, from a painful last meeting to a team we have a winning record against to those programs that we currently have losing records to. To start off, there are six teams that there will be no chance for revenge against: Birmingham AC, Camp Gordon, Carlisle Indian School, Cumberland, Georgia Navy Pre-Flight, and New Orleans AC. None of these teams exist anymore, though there is a chance we might persuade Cumberland to get some local flag football youth teams to put a team together for a one off.
The 2009 home opener warming up.
With those teams off the list, here are the teams I'd like to see us schedule because we have a losing record against them, even though it would be considered serious cupcake scheduling today.
Villanova - Alabama and Villanova faced off in their one and only meeting during the 1951 season. The Wildcats destroyed the Tide before a home crowd to the tune of 41-18 in the middle of a 5-6 season for the Tide. Villanova was a NCAA University Division team (the equivalent of D-1A) at the time, but is now a 1-AA team playing in the Atlantic 10 conference. I'm opposed to D-1A programs scheduling D-1AA teams, but it looks like there's no stopping it until the NCAA makes a rule change concerning it, so if we must, then let's stop beating up on the Western Carolinas of the world and schedule a team that's actually beaten us before.
Syracuse - The Tide and Syracuse haven't met since the 1953, when Alabama blew out the (then) Orangemen 61-6 in, appropriately enough, the Orange Bowl. However, the two teams met 30 years before in New York, when Syracuse downed Alabama 23-0, leaving the series tied at 1-1, which I would consider a losing record. While the (now) Orange are Big East bottom dwellers, winning only 5 games in the past two years, they are a BCS team so there is some merit in scheduling them. Further, it could also lead to some good basketball scheduling.
Stanford - The Cardinal, like the Orange, is another team that we have a "winning" record with, being 1-0-1. We've never "lost" to them, per se, but I'm going with Coach Bryant on this one and refusing to kiss my sister. The two meetings both took place in the Rose Bowl, with the first meeting in 1927 ending in a 7-7 tie, and the second meeting in 1935 ending in a 29-13 victory for the Tide. Since it doesn't look like their will be an opportunity for Alabama and Stanford to meet in the post season anytime soon, let's get a regular season series going with them. They are a Pac 10 team, and if we can schedule Duke and consider that a quality matchup since they are in the ACC, then Stanford shouldn't be much of a stretch.
Rice - From '54-'56, the Tide played Rice in Texas, first in the Cotton Bowl and then twice in Houston. The Cotton Bowl provided a memorable (and hilarious) moment in Tide history, as Tide player Tommy Lewis came off the bench bareheaded to tackle a Rice player headed for a sure touchdown. When asked why he did it, he replied "I guess I'm just too full of Bama." Rice was awarded the TD, and went on to win the game 28-6. Bama dropped the next two meetings as well, leaving us a miserable 0-3 against the Owls. Shortly thereafter the Owls would fade into college football history, making zero bowl appearances from 1961 (a loss to Kansas in the Bluebonnet Bowl) to 2006 (a loss to Troy in the New Orleans Bowl). Current Alabama assistant Major Applewhite left the Owls after installing the offense that got the Owls into their first bowl in over four decades, so scheduling them would give both teams some revenge factor.
Northern Illinois - Aside from the '06 Mississippi State loss, the '03 loss at home to the Huskies of Northern Illinois is probably the most embarassing loss of the Shula years. It was his first year as head coach, so he was given some slack, and the Huskies did go on to post a 10-2 record (while being snubbed for a bowl), but it was still humiliating to get beaten by a MAC team at your home stadium. NIU appears on the 2008 schedule, so there is a chance to even the score, but it'll take at least one more meeting after that to come out ahead.
Louisiana Tech - This is somewhat of a deceptive "losing record" since the 1993 loss was actually a forfeiture. The Tide blew out the Bulldogs 56-3 at Legion Field, but since the record books are going to call it a loss, I guess I will too. Counting that loss, we hold a 2-3 record against La Tech, with the other two losses coming during the DuBose years, and the last one coming during the improbable SEC title run year of 1999. Since we love playing Louisiana teams that don't have "State" in the title so much, let's get these guys back up to T-town for some revenge.
So that's six teams that I'd like to see as a delicious cupcake early season snack. Tomorrow I'll be back with some matchups that aren't quite as bad, but wouldn't be marquee games on par with the Texas/Ohio State-like regular season matches that have been all the rage lately.