On Saturday, Alabama will inaugurate the 116th season of Crimson Tide football facing the San Jose State Spartans in the newly renovated Bryant-Denny Stadium. It is the first time these two teams have ever met on the gridiron even though the Crimson Tide football program is but a single year older (the Spartans inaugurated their program in 1893).
San Jose State will be the 55th team the Crimson Tide have opened the season against. Alabama’s most common opening day opponent is Howard (now Samford) who have played the Crimson Tide 12 times to start the season. Alabama has faced out-of-conference opponents for the season opener each of the last 11 years (Vanderbilt in 1999 being the last SEC foe).
The Crimson Tide has opened the season 50 times in Tuscaloosa, compiling a 47-2-1 record over that span. Since Bryant-Denny Stadium’s construction in 1929, Alabama is 17-1-1 in season openers at the venue.
Alabama will be inaugurating the new expanded and upgraded Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday and you better believe we're excited about it. The South end zone addition will boost capacity to more than 101,800. Interestingly, the last time Alabama faced a WAC foe for the season opener was in 2006 when the university unveiled the North end zone expansion. The additional 8,000 seats boosted attendance to 92,138 for a 25-17 victory over Hawaii.
The Crimson Tide has traditionally dominated its season openers, racking up a 91-21-3 record in its history and currently riding an 8-year winning streak over which the Crimson Tide averaged of 37.8 points per game.
Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban holds an 11-3 record in season openers over the whole of his collegiate career. Coach Saban hasn’t opened the season in Tuscaloosa since his first game as head coach of the Crimson Tide, a 52-6 victory over Western Carolina in 2007.
Things aren't promising for the Spartans who only mustered a 2-10 record last year and went 1-7 in the WAC. Head coach Dick Tomey retired at the end of the season and former Duke DC Mike MacIntyre was hired. Moreover, the squad lost 27 players off last year’s injury ravaged team.
It is the second time the Spartans have faced the pre-season No. 1 team in the season opener. San Jose State traveled to Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2000 to be presented a 49-13 beatdown by the Cornhuskers. (Interestingly, that season saw San Jose State’s last victory over a top-ten opponent when they bested No. 9 TCU boasting running back LaDanian Tomlinson 27-24 in Spartan Stadium.)
San Jose State has never won a game against an SEC foe and two of those three losses came in season opening games. In 1991 the Spartans fell 59-21 to Florida and in 1999 they were bested by LSU. The Gators faced San Jose State in the second game of the 2003 season and served up a 65-3 win over the west coast visitors.
Kickoff: 6:07 p.m. CST
Television: The Alabama-San Jose State game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis by the Crimson Tide Sports Network. Chris Stewart will call the action with former Alabama quarterback Tyler Watts as the color analyst and former Tide linebacker Barry Krauss reporting from the sideline. More info can be found here.
Radio: Eli Gold and Phil Savage will handle the radio call on the CTSN. KLIV (1590 AM, San Jose) will carry the game in California with Mike Chisolm and Kevin Richardson.
Internet: ESPN3 will carry the game online.