Alabama is slowly making its way among Power 5 opponents you’ve never played in the regular season, or at least those you haven’t played in a while.
The Crimson Tide played the first half home and home with Texas last week, and the Longhorns make the trip back to Tuscaloosa in 2023. Also on the agenda for future seasons is a series with Wisconsin (2024-25), Florida (2025-26), West Virginia (2026-27), Ohio State (2027-28), Oklahoma State (2028-29), Notre Dame (2029-30), Georgia Tech (2030-31), Boston College (2031), 34), Arizona (2032- 33), Oklahoma (2032-33) and Virginia Tech (2034-35). (The Sooners are set to join the SEC by 2025, of course, so that home and home are on the conference schedule.)
But there are still many Power 5 programs that Alabama hasn’t encountered at all, or haven’t played at home, at home, or out of a bowl game (or haven’t done so in many years). Here are five we’d like to see the Crimson Tide schedule:
1. Maryland – The Crimson Tide last met Terrapins in 1974, a 21-16 victory at College Park. Maryland never went to Tuscaloosa, having their solo in-state meeting with Alabama at Mobile in 1952. Alabama recruited the Maryland/DC/Virginia area heavily, and former Crimson Tide assistant Michael Locksley is now the Terrapins coach. And of course Paul “Bear” Bryant got his first job as a head coach in Maryland in 1945.
2. Michigan The Crimson Tide and the Wolverines have met only five times, four times in bowl games (including at the Citrus Bowl after the 2019 season) and once in the regular season (a site-neutral relationship in Arlington, Texas, to start the 2012 season). But they never played on campus. Michigan and Alabama boast two of their eight college football stadiums that accommodate more than 100,000 fans, so it seems like this stadium should happen sooner rather than later.
3. Nebraska The Crimson Tide and the Cornhuskers played five times from 1965 to 1978, but have not met since. Three of those encounters came at bowling games, but there was also a home streak in 1977-1978 that split the two teams—Nebraska won in Lincoln, Alabama at Birmingham. Bringing the Big Red Nation to Tuscaloosa would be nice, although in the current state of the Nebraska program, it doesn’t look like this series will be competitive at the moment.
4. Oregon The Ducks are relatively newcomers to college football fame, but perhaps the most famous show that Alabama has never faced even in a bowl game or at a neutral location (or at least it hasn’t been scheduled for that). Oregon and its exotic green (or gold, white, or silver) costumes would stand in perfect contrast to Alabama’s never-changing crimson-and-white look, whether in Tuscaloosa or in Eugene. It’s somewhat surprising that a series was never scheduled when former Alabama assistant Mario Cristobal (now in Miami) was the Ducks’ head coach.
5. USC The Crimson Tide and Trojans played a pair of home and house series in 1970-71 and 1977-78, with all four games of historical interest and/or highly competitive. Since then, they’ve only met twice – at the Aloha Bowl in 1985 and at the 2016 neutral location opening in Arlington, Texas. With Lincoln Riley now at USC and the Trojans set to join the Big Ten, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before these two programs meet again, in the post-season if not at home and away.
Other Power 5 programs not played by Alabama (or not yet scheduled to play): Arizona State, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Northwestern, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Virginia, Wake Forest