Alabama's football season next year will look very similar to what it did this year. In fact, it's almost all the same teams, in about the same order. Without wasting any more time on opening words, I present to you: The Schedule.
September 3rd- Southern California
The Tide opens in Arlington, Texas once again. This time, instead of a marquee Big-10 team or ACC, Nick Saban will face off against a top Pac-12 team for the first time since he's been at Alabama. This will likely (again) be the biggest game in the nation for a season opener. The Trojans are a middling 4-3 right now, and no longer have a head coach, but are consistently one of the top recruiting teams every year, and just dismantled #3 Utah in front of the entire nation. The Trojans have never really recovered since Pete Carroll left, but the offense is just as high powered as ever, although senior QB Cody Kessler will graduate, forcing the Trojans to break in a new starter.
September 10th- Western Kentucky
In 2012, the Hilltoppers' defense line absolutely whipped one of the best offensive lines in history en route to getting shut out 35-0. Quanterus Smith is in the NFL now, so hopefully the new Alabama QB wont be on his back the entire game like A.J. McCarron was in 2012.
September 17th- Ole Miss
Alabama will travel to Oxford to try to shake the rebel-black bear-land shark- monkey of its back. The last two years, Ole Miss has been a huge thorn in the collective side of the Alabama program, and you can be sure Saban will be waiting all off season to get another crack at taking down the Rebels, despite whatever he says to the media.
September 24th- Kent State
Alabama will come back home for another tune up game after the Ole Miss showdown. Kent State was awesome after the April 27th, 2011 tornado, sending their football team down to help out the Tuscaloosa Community. When they came to Bryant Denny the next season, it was one of the only times I have ever witnessed the Alabama fan base cheer for another team as they entered the stadium. Kent State is currently 3-5 in the MAC, and show little signs of improving, and should be a fairly routine win.
October 1st- Kentucky
Georgia rotates off, and Alabama gets to take on Kentucky out of the east this year. This will be the first SEC game played in Bryant-Denny, so you can bet the fans will be excited. The Wildcats have been showing some signs of life lately, and are currently third place in the SEC East (granted, that is not saying much these days...). This game begins yet another long stretch of SEC games akin the Tide's 2015 schedule.
October 8th- Arkansas
Alabama will travel to pig country to take on the Razorbacks for their annual pig slaughtering. Despite boasting a proud, physical team, Alabama has dispatched of Arkansas relatively painlessly throughout most of Saban's career. Hopefully he can continue the trend.
October 15th- Tennessee
The Tide will hit the road in back to back weeks as they enter into the depths of of puke-orange territory. The Tide will go ahead and make their winning streak against the Volunteers up to 10 years in a row, and that will be that. They just dirty.
October 22nd- Texas A&M
A&M will head to Tuscaloosa after taking the week before off to nurse their injuries. After giving the Tide fits during the Johnny Manziel Era, the Aggies have not put up much of a fight the last couple of years. It will be interesting to see how freshman phenom receivers Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk, for Bama and A&M, respectively, will have each developed by this time next year.
November 5th- LSU
As usual, Alabama will take its bye week before the bloodbath in Death Valley that is the LSU-Bama game. Speaking of, who's excited for that same game a week from now? I know I am. By next year, all-world running back Leonard Fournette will be a junior, and will either be an even more experience and terrifying runner, or letting NFL talk distract him from playing well. For the sake of college football, I hope its the former. For the sake of Bama, I'd rather see the latter. LSU also takes their annual bye week before this game.
November 12th- Mississippi State
Mississippi State will come to Tuscaloosa for the Tide's yearly letdown game. Somehow, the fighting Cowbells always get to take on Alabama the week after the war with LSU. Though overmatched, the Miss State team is typically scrappy, and holds the Tide to one of their ugliest games every season. Ugh.
November 19th- UT-Chattanooga
The Mocs will come to Tuscaloosa yet again to be Alabama's practice fodder for the Iron Bowl. Its basically a de facto bye week before my my least favorite week of the year.
November 26th- Auburn
Alabama will host the other team at home this game. Alabama will win the game against said team, and that will be that. End of discussion.
All in all, this schedule looks almost identical to 2015, with Wisconsin and Georgia switching out with USC and Kentucky. The biggest takeaway, however, is that LSU and Texas A&M are the only teams with a bye week before playing Bama. That is a change in scheduling that will be welcomed with open arms by everybody in the Alabama nation. It is one of the easiest schedules that a team in the SEC west could possibly ask for, and the Tide should be right there in contention for the division crown yet again. With yet another new starting quarterback. I bet that starts getting really old for the rest of the nation. Roll Tide.