After posting six teams that I'd like to see Alabama schedule as tastey early season treats, it's time to list some of the teams we have losing, tied, or barely winning records against that would be quality opponents, though not necessarily blockbuster mega hype game of the century type matchs.
Boston College - The Tide is only 1-3 against BC, with the only win coming in the 1943 Orange Bowl. The three losses came during the regular season in '46, '83, and '84. Each of those games was decided by a touchdown or less, and two of the three were played in Massachusetts. While not a national powerhouse team, Boston College is never an easy win and is currently riding the nation's longest bowl winning streak at 7.
BYU - The Cougars have returned to prominence lately, winning the Mountain West this past season and destroying the Oregon Ducks in the Las Vegas Bowl. Bama and BYU have met only once, with the Tide winning 38-31 in Tuscaloosa during the '98 regular season. The traditionally strong defense of Alabama against the high powered offense of BYU would produce some very exciting football, and a win would look great on the Tide's resume at the end of the season.
California - Alabama holds a 1-1 record against the Golden Bears, losing 0-13 in the '38 Rose Bowl and winning 66-0 during the '73 regular season at Legion Field. While Cal is constantly living in the looming shadow of Southern Cal, they're a more than respectable Pac 10 squad that would garner much excitement from the national media. Tennessee opened their 2006 season with a visit from Cal (and sent them back to the left coast with an 0-1 record), and plan to return the favor this coming season by heading to Berkely for the second game of the series. I'm always interested in seeing SEC/Pac 10 matches, and I think a series with Cal would be great exposure for both teams.
Central Florida - I actually debated on whether this should be on the "cupcake" or "quality" list, and decided to give UCF a little credit and place them here. The Golden Knights upset the Tide 40-38 in Tuscaloosa during the final year of the DuBose regime in our only meeting. Looking at their record, it's hard to imagine UCF as a quality opponent, but it is a program on the rise, as Texas is paying them quite a bit of respect by opening their new stadium in September. Plus, playing in Central Florida can't hurt recruiting.
Colorado - The Tide and the Buffs have met twice in the post season, with Alabama dropping the '69 Liberty Bowl 33-47 and winning the '91 Blockbuster Bowl 30-25. New HC Dan Hawkins is looking to turn Colorado around after the scandalous tenure of Gary Barnett, and they played fellow SEC member Georgia incredibly tough despite having lost to a 1-AA Montana State to open the season. Hawkins, as you may recall, was the man behind the rise of Boise State to OMG BCS BUSTER!!! status, and looks to bring his innovative offensive ideas to a BCS league. It would be a great offense vs defense game, and a win would look good on Alabama's resume at the end of the season.
Maryland - Alabama holds a 2-1 record against the Terps, losing in College Park during the '53 season. While it's not necessarily imperative that we extend that lead, Maryland is a quality ACC team that would look better on a schedule than, say, Duke. It's not terribly far away, but it would give us an "outside the region" road game.
Minnesota - The only meeting between the Gophers and the Tide took place in the 2004 Music City Bowl, where the Tide fell 16-20 . It's one of the few games where I still have a beef with the officiating crew (as do most Bama fans), so maybe we should be looking for revenge against them. Anyway, Minnesota plays in a BCS league and is a halfway respectable team to be considered for a regular season match.
Missouri - They're Tigers, so why not? Mizzou and Bama first met in the '68 Gator Bowl, where Alabama fell 10-35, and also dropped their next meeting during the '75 regular season 7-20. Our last meeting was during the '78 season in Columbia, when the Tide finally beat Mizzou 38-20. The Tigers got a lot of hype earlier in the season before stumbling down the stretch, but they are a good, if not great, BCS team, and Missouri isn't too far outside of the region.
Oklahoma State - I think we all know why the Cowboys are on this list. After the Independence Bowl loss, it's time for some revenging. Okie State, like UCF, is a program on the rise. A visit to Stillwater wouldn't hurt in plucking a few Big 12 commitments away, either.
TCU - The Horned Frogs are a highly respected mid-major, and we hold only a 2-3 record against them. The last time we played was 1975 at Legion Field, where the Tide won 45-0. There's quite a bit of history between these two programs, as Alabama offers a scholarship in honor of TCU player Kent Waldrep, who was paralyzed during the 1974 game. This would certainly be an exciting match between a BCS team and a scary mid-major.
UCLA - Another Pac 10 team living in the Trojan's shadow, UCLA is a very respectable football team that would provide a quality cross country series for the Tide. The Bruins opened their 2000 season by hosting Alabama in Pasadena, sending us home with a 24-35 defeat and starting the DuBose death watch, before coming to Tuscaloosa in 2001 to hand Francione his first defeat at the helm of the Crimson Tide. Our only win over UCLA came in the '76 Liberty Bowl, so I think it's time to set up another series.
Games with some of these teams would probably garner a lot of attention (most notably the Alabama/Pac 10 pairings), but aren't ones that I would consider marquee matchups. Tomorrow, I'll list off the teams that would give Alabama incredible exposure and also a few that I'd like to see as semi-regular rivals.