It's been a month since the last installment of this series, but in that month I've had finals, traveled to five states and had a lack of internet access for a lot of the time. Anyway, the "out of conference" series is back, this time with Coach Fran:
Raise your hands if you should've stayed at Bama
Dennis Franchione: (2001-2002): 7-2 (.778)
Notable wins: none
Humiliating losses: none
Opponents and records:
Iowa State (1-0)
Middle Tennessee State (1-0)
North Texas (1-0)
Southern Miss (2-0)
Franchione's out of conference slate was both exciting and forgettable at the same time. We played memorable games against UCLA in Tuscaloosa and Oklahoma in Norman, but lost them both (by a combined 13 points.) Having your first game with a new team be against UCLA wasn't an easy task when compared to what others coaches have gotten for their first outings:
Perkins: Georgia Tech
Curry: Southern Miss
Stallings: Southern Miss
Shula: South Florida
Saban: Western Carolina
The Franchione era also brought about our first trip to the 50th state and the great relationship we formed with their fans, though the circumstances under which the idea came about are certainly regrettable. The game in Hawaii did prove to be a good one though I'm not sure I would consider it "notable" within the vast scope of Alabama history. Also, winning his one bowl game while at Alabama is good, but I don't think a win over Iowa State (even when by one point) will go down as the most memorable of Bama bowl games. Games against MTSU, North Texas, UTEP and Southern Miss were wins that were expected, though giving up 34 points to MTSU is a headscratcher. Playing Oklahoma in Norman under the circumstances was a daunting task and the outcome one that was more or less expected.
So, while Franchione only lost two out of conference games, it was the two that mattered most to people and the ones that would have made a lasting impression in the history books.
Couldn't find any good YouTube from the Franchione out of conference days. The only stuff I could find was from the UCLA and Oklahoma games and I'm not posting that.
Other stories in this series: