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Jumbo Package: Positive trend toward home-and-home series leaves hole in 2024-25

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Auburn at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. It was a successful weekend on the diamond, as the women swept five games and the men took two of three. Unfortunately the struggling Gym Tide dropped another meet, this time in Lexington. It seems likely that they miss the Super Six team finals for the second consecutive season after making it in 23 of the preceding 25.

Men’s basketball got an important win against a winless Vandy squad and now has a four game season to determine its postseason fate. The women’s team is likely headed nowhere with a 12-15 mark following a senior night loss to Georgia.

Cecil Hurt chimed in on Alabama football’s trend toward home and home scheduling.

Whether the trip to West Virginia has anything to do with the fact that Nick Saban will turn 75 during the 2026 season, and might like a sentimental trip to his home town (Monongah, where Saban grew up and played high school football, is about 25 miles southwest of Morgantown), isn’t certain. You can read between the lines but the distance from today until 2026 is so great that I couldn’t even read the lines, much less between them.

Alabama has three neutral site games left over the next three years, starting with this year’s opener against Duke in Atlanta. Whether the market for such games is saturated or not remains to be seen.

The sentimental angle for Saban was the first thing that came to mind for me when that West Virginia news came out. There is little question that on-campus games are better for fans, though marquee neutral site games tend to help in recruiting and are generally more profitable overall. Unfortunately home-and-homes are also booked years in advance, and since Alabama has played neutral site games every season, they are running low on options. The 2024 and 2025 seasons currently have a hole, and Michael Casagrande has a nice breakdown of the big names that are already off the table.

Unless someone wants to buy out a contract in order to play Alabama, those two years are likely to feature underwhelming out of conference opponents. The Chick-Fil-A group ran into a similar problem for this year’s kickoff, leading them to settle for Duke in a game that Alabama will be favored to win by about four touchdowns. It will be interesting to see what Greg Byrne is able to pull out of his hat, but as it stands now a fourth “cupcake” is possible. That would suck.

Logistics aside, who would be your top choice for a marquee home-and-home series? We’ll throw a poll out there with some likely hot choices, but chime in with your favorite as well.

Poll

Who would you most like to see Alabama play in a home-and-home series?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Ohio State
    (247 votes)
  • 5%
    Oklahoma
    (49 votes)
  • 28%
    Notre Dame
    (233 votes)
  • 13%
    Texas
    (111 votes)
  • 18%
    Michigan
    (153 votes)
  • 4%
    Other (tell us below)
    (36 votes)
829 votes total Vote Now

Alabama has impressed a five-star pass rusher.

A product of Woodbridge (Va.) -- the same high school as former Tide standout Da’Shawn Hand -- the Tide has long been high on the nation’s No. 2 inside linebacker and vice versa.

Sampah last visited Tuscaloosa for the Mississippi State game in November and plans to return for a two-day visit in the coming weeks for spring practice.

New Alabama outside linebackers coach Sal Sunseri has been a welcome addition to the Tide staff for a number of recruitments, Sampah’s included.

We’ll be following Sampah all year.

Deionte Thompson had wrist surgery that is probably going to cost him some money.

Deionte Thompson, one of the top safety prospects in this year’s NFL draft, tore a ligament in his wrist during his pre-draft training, underwent surgery Friday and won’t be able to go through drills at the combine, a source confirmed to AL.com.

Hopefully he will recover in time to get some Pro Day work in.

Last, Tua Tagovailoa enjoyed spending time with kids from the children’s hospital in Birmingham.

Alabama has been fortunate to have some wonderful human beings representing the University on the football field, and Tua continues that legacy.

That’s about it for today. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.