Thursday, June 13, 2013
UA nonconference games we'd like to see
By Alex Scarborough
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The viewing public wants it, the league commissioner wants it and frankly it's good for the health of the sport as a whole. SEC schools need to improve their nonconference schedules and remove all doubt about any supposed lack of strength of schedule.
With that in mind, TideNation takes a look at 10 nonconference opponents we'd like to see on Alabama's schedule:
Last Meeting: N/A
Who wouldn't want to see college football's David vs. Goliath? For the past decade we've watched as Boise State has won game after game on its blue turf, reaching bowl games in the process. And each year we've heard college football fans complain about their schedule. Well, why not change that? Why not put a super power like Alabama on the docket and prove once and for all whether the Smurf turf is anything more than a parlor trick?
Last Meeting: 2008 (UA leads series 12-3)
Dabo Swinney's star continues to rise in college football and his name will continue to come up in discussions of Alabama's next head coach after Nick Saban leaves. If for nothing else, his ties to the program as a former player make him a candidate. But what Swinney has done at Clemson deserves praise. He's won 39 games in five seasons and most recently upset LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Alabama would certainly welcome another shot at former Florida head coach Urban Meyer and his new team.
Last Meeting: 2007 (UA leads series 2-1-1)
It's the most natural of matchups to pull from nearby Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State has similar prestige and recruits just as well as Alabama. Plus, the tired but true drama of coach versus mentor is always fun. Nick Saban helped elevate Jimbo Fisher to become a head coach, it only seems fitting the two friends face one another more often.
Last Meeting: 2007 (Louisiana-Monroe leads series 1-0)
Everyone remembers the game: the previously unknown Warhawks shocking the college football world by toppling Alabama 21-14 in Tuscaloosa. It was the black eye on the UA program the very year Nick Saban took over as its head coach. Well, a lot has changed in the time since and still the two schools have not had its grudge match. It's about time Alabama get a chance to make up for one of the more ugly defeats in its history.
Last Meeting: 2012 (Series tied at 2-2)
It worked out so well last season, why not make it a regular thing? Alabama and Michigan represent two of the most storied programs in college football, and both are in a place where they're battling for national championships, even if last season didn't go as planned for the Wolverines. Coach Brady Hoke is a fiery guy. It's hard to believe he wouldn't welcome the competition and exposure that would come along with a series against Alabama.
Last Meeting: 2013 (Irish leads series 5-2)
For two programs on college football's Mount Rushmore, it's unimaginable that they've only met a total of only seven times. Alabama and Notre Dame are arguably the most recognized names in the sport and it shouldn't be left to a chance postseason encounter for them to get together. With the added incentive of a national championship rematch, the matchup of the Crimson Tide and the Fighting Irish would command the full attention of the sport.
Last Meeting: 1994 (UA leads series 3-0)
If only these two schools could meet this coming regular season because it seems as if they're destined to play in the national championship game if you buy into preseason polls. The Buckeyes went undefeated last season and couldn't compete in the postseason because of NCAA probation. But now that the postseason ban is gone, Ohio State has national championship aspirations. Throw in the added drama of former UF coach Urban Meyer leading the Buckeyes and you have a recipe for ratings gold.
Last Meeting: 2011 (UA leads series 10-5)
Penn State and Alabama represent college football history. Bill O'Brien did a fantastic job in his first year as coach in Happy Valley and has the program back on the right track. It might take a few years to return to prominence, but when it does Alabama should be waiting and willing to get together on the football field again.
Last Meeting: 1934 (UA leads series 1-0)
Forget USC. That's an early 2000s way of thinking. The team to beat in the Pac 12 is the Stanford Cardinal, and coach David Shaw's style of play would be a perfect fit against Alabama. His smash-mouth offense and hard-nosed defense would match up well against the Crimson Tide's old school way of playing the game. It would require some traveling to accommodate such a matchup, or the two schools could meet in the middle in Texas and start the season with a bang.
Last Meeting: 2009 (UT leads series 7-1)
There's something about the Texas that begs competition, even when the program down. Like Michigan and Notre Dame, there's so much history in Austin. But what makes a matchup against the Longhorns interesting is what Mack Brown has done in the past year by basically mimicking Alabama's formula for success. He created a player development position while citing Alabama in the process and even hired a former UA staffer for the job. If he wants to recruit like Alabama, he might as well play the Tide too.