Nick Saban has long been the sole proponent in the SEC of the nine conference games. He has also preached the gospel of all Power 5 teams playing only Power 5 teams. The 2020 season proved the entertainment value of both those scenarios.
College football fans have shown their weariness of “cupcakes” games against non-Power 5 and FCS opponents. The most glaring form of fan expression are the less-than-capacity seating and early departures from these sort of match-ups on game day. Yet, Saban has continued to schedule - and throttle - these lesser teams. The belief was that he didn’t want to be the only one taking the risk of scheduling up. However, the Alabama coach may have now reached near perfection in the program that he calls “The Process” and is now willing to lead by example.
THE FINAL KICKOFF CLASSIC
This season’s opener against Miami in Atlanta marks the final neutral site “Kickoff” game for the Crimson Tide for the foreseeable future. Alabama is 10-0 in these one-off games (11-0 if you count Alabama’s 16-10 defeat of Ohio State in the 1986 Kickoff Classic played in Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ). Every one of these games Bama has played under Saban has resulted in a double-digit win.
|2016||Alabama||52||Southern Cal||6||Arlington, TX|
|2020||Alabama||vs||Southern Cal||Arlington, TX - cancelled|
In 2010 and 2011, Alabama took both ends of a home-and-home with Penn State: 24-3 in Tuscaloosa and 27-11 at University Park, PA. These sort of two-game series are the future of Alabama football.
Saban and Alabama Athletics Director Greg Byrne are leading the charge of changing college football. In recent weeks, the University announced future home-and-home series with Boston College, Oklahoma State and Notre Dame. These meetings are added to the already impressive slate of the likes of Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Florida State. The most notable difference is that beginning in 2025, the Crimson Tide will play two out of conference Power 5 teams.
Below are the future out of conference football schedules for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
- vs Miami (FL) (Atlanta) - Can you believe these two teams have not met since the 1992-93 National Championship Game?
- The other three games are cupcakes.
- at Texas - Another matchup that has not happened since a National Championship meeting. That win was the first victory for Bama over Texas in the history of Crimson Tide football (1-7-1). Alabama has not played in Austin since 1922. Six meetings since have all been in a postseason bowl.
- The other three games are cupcakes.
- Texas - Only the second visit to Tuscaloosa by the Longhorns. The first was in 1902 in a game played on the Quad.
- Alabama has two out of conference openings to fill beyond the Longhorns and a trip to USF. Might they find another P-5 team?
- at Wisconsin - Alabama has been to Madison only one other time, losing in 1928. Bama evened their record against Wisky at 1-1 with the 35-17 neutral site win in 2015 which had the memorable moment of a concussed Badgers safety lining up behind the Tide offense.
- Alabama has one more non-conference slot to fill after WKU, USF, and Wisky.
- at Florida State - First visit to Tallahassee for the Tide.
- Wisconsin - First T-town visit ever by the Badgers.
- at West Virginia - Saban returns to his home state.
- Florida State - Alabama is 3-1-1 vs the ‘Noles.
- West Virginia - These two teams have only met once (see chart above).
- at Ohio State - The first regular season meeting between these two since the 1986 game (see above). The other meetings have all been postseason.
- Ohio State - Bama leads the series 4-1.
- at Oklahoma State - The only other meeting was in the Joe Kines Independence Bowl loss in 2006. And we though Coach O was incoherent. Meanwhile, Mal Moore was hatching a plan...
- at Notre Dame - Bear Bryant was 0-4 vs the Irish. Saban is 2-0.
- Oklahoma State - Will Mike Gundy still be around Stillwater in 2029? He once was 40 but he’ll be 62 in 2029.
- at Georgia Tech - These two teams had a series planned a few years ago but it was cancelled. They have not met since a godwaful Bama effort in 1984.
- Notre Dame - The Irish have twice played Bama at Legion Field in Birmingham, AL. This will be their first appearance in Tuscaloosa.
- Georgia Tech - Alabama is 28-21-3 against the former SEC rival.
- at Boston College - In their last faceoff in 1984, the Tide took a heartbreaking loss at Legion Field in which Kerry Goode injured his knee. Meanwhile, Doug frickin’ Flutie stabbed Bama fans in the heart for a second straight year.
- Arizona - First meeting.
- at Oklahoma - Home and home in 2002-03 both went the Sooners’ way. Those two games are the only on-campus games of the series.
- at Arizona - Bring sunblock.
- Oklahoma - Okie leads 2-3-1.
- at Virginia Tech - Hokies are 1-12 vs. Bama. The one loss was courtesy of Mike DuBose.
- Boston College - Alabama is 1-3 all-time vs the Eagles.
- Virginia Tech
- Second game TBA
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
Of the other teams in the conference, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina had somewhat already been following this format of two out of conference Power-5 games due to their annual rivalries with ACC teams. The other SEC programs have not quite picked up on this pattern and will be playing for also-ran status unless they start shuffling real soon.
- Arkansas has no two P-5 teams scheduled in the same season. 2025 is the first season in which they still have a game to fill.
- Auburn also has no two P-5 teams scheduled in the same season. The Tigers have a sure-to-be riveting two-fer with Cal in 2023-2024 but also have an opportunity in each of those campaigns to add another foe of substance.
- After taking 2020 off, Florida returns to their annual get-together with Florida State. A few times in recent seasons, the Gators have played both Miami and Florida State in the same season. They will duplicate that feat in 2024 and 2025. They have two P5s scheduled from 2022 through 2032 and in some cases three P5s such as 2026 with NC State, Cal and FSU. In 2031, they ambitiously play at Texas, Arizona State, at Notre Dame, and Florida State. Respect.
- Georgia reunites with Georgia Tech in 2021 as they have done 114 times prior. The Dawgs often play another P5 to go with the Yellow Jackets game and will do so for the foreseeable future starting with Clemson this year. Starting in 2026, they pick up a third P5 hosting UCLA and traveling to Louisville. They continue to triple up on P5s 2027 through 2031, adding the likes of Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and several more games with Clemson - many on the same season.
- Kentucky has Louisville and three cupcakes on their dance cards for the next seven seasons.
- LSU and Mississippi State have not gotten the memo. They have not signed up for a second P5 as of yet.
- Mizzou has three cupcakes and one P5 already sewn up through 2031. In the following season of 2032, the Tigers have mighty Kansas and mightier Illinois.
- Ole Miss has only one double up on the horizon in 2025 - at Southern Cal and home versus Wake Forest.
- South Carolina plays Clemson every year. They start to double up in 2023, followed by 2025-2031.
- It is unclear what former Tennessee AD Fat F*** Phil Fulmer was doing during his tumultuous tenure. Past the 2023 campaign, he has only FOUR total games lined up for the Vols - by far the fewest of any SEC program. They have no double-ups scheduled.
- Texas A&M has no two P-5 teams scheduled in the same season. 2025 would be the first season to have a possible opening.
Alabama currently has a losing streak to 11 teams. The hope is to remedy that trend among Boston College, Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma State in the coming seasons. However, there are a few other programs that need their Tide comeuppance!
- Alabama embarrassingly lost both ends of a home & home against mediocre UCLA teams in 1999 and 2000. The only other matching of these two teams was the 1976 Liberty Bowl, won by the Tide. (1-2)
- The Sugar Bowl for the 2008 season still makes me sick to my stomach. It is the only time Alabama has met Utah on the gridiron. (0-1)
- The Crimson Tide lost a Homecoming game to Central Florida during Mike DuBose’s dreadful 3-8 season of 2000. After the game, he was informed his services would no longer be required at the Capstone. (0-1)
- Clemson - Too soon for a reminder of the mast meeting? (14-5)
- Alabama actually has a TWO game losing streak to Louisiana Tech - 1997 and 1999. Yep, that was DuBose as well. (3-2)
- In the only meeting ever with Minnesota, Bama limped into the 2004 Music City Bowl with a 6-5 record and left 6-6. (0-1)
- 2003 saw Northern Illinois come into Bryant-Denny and whoop the Tide 19-16. Future Falcons All-Pro RB Michael Turner ran for 156 yards. (0-1)
- The revenge game that is least likeliest to ever get scheduled is probably Rice. Once upon a time, the Owls had a solid football program. But they have been a forgotten team for decades. They beat Alabama three times in the 1950s during the three years that “Ears” Whitworth (4-24-2) schlepped around the sidelines in Tuscaloosa. Rice probably doesn’t want any part of an Alabama ass-whooping. (0-3)
What future home and home series are you most looking forward to?
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