I'm no fan of Thursday night games and generally speaking I vehemently oppose the thought of moving games from Saturday, but in this particular instance it would be a terrible decision not to move the game to Thursday. Auburn gets an off week before the Iron Bowl, and since we play them on Friday now we would also have to cope with a short week for preparation (effectively three days). Combining the opponent off week with a shorter-than-normal week for preparation and recovery on our end could very well be a disaster waiting to happen. At the very least, it seems clear that Saban felt that to be at least a partial reason for our subpar performance last year in Jordan-Hare Stadium, and clearly he wants to take every precaution he can to ensure that does not happen again when Auburn makes the return trip in 2010.
By moving this game back, we can now have more of a standard work week in preparation for Auburn coming to town, and players will also get about an additional 40 hours or so of recovery time following the Georgia State game (no small amount). Again, I hate having to do it, but in this particular instance I think it's clear that on-field issues necessitated the move. Thursday night football is for pee wee teams (maybe GSU qualifies on that front), but it sure beats the hell out of possibly losing to Auburn.
I'd think this move also answers the bye-week question as it relates to the SEC schedule and Alabama's opponents.
The Georgia State move assures no open-date relief from SEC.
That's not what any of want to hear, of course, but I'm afraid that it is indeed inevitable at this point. I imagine we were waiting to hear from the SEC in hopes of relief before making any official moves with Georgia State, but with the athletic department itself now taking action on its own, that probably ought to tell you exactly where the bye week issue is headed... nowhere.
Update: And the end of any potential relief from the SEC on the bye week issue is now official:
The Southeastern Conference will not move any games to relieve the University of Alabama's scheduling dilemma, which has the Crimson Tide playing six league opponents who will be coming off open dates in 2010, SEC Executive Associate Commissioner Mark Womack said Thursday.
Note: hat tip to the official RBR barkeep chinesedentist for putting this up in a fanpost.