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Tide on 2015 schedule hole: ‘Right now we’d take anybody’

Nick Saban AP

The 2014 season has yet to even kick off, and Alabama’s athletic director already has one eye planted firmly on 2015.  Or, more specifically, the glaring hole in the Tide’s 2015 schedule.

Alabama currently has Wisconsin, Louisiana-Lafayette and, reportedly, an FCS opponent for that season and… well, that’s it.  Thanks to the SEC opting to remain at an eight-game conference schedule, the Tide is desperately seeking a fourth non-conference opponent for 2015.

“We’ve called everybody we know,” AD Bill Battle told CBSSports.com. “Right now we’d take anybody.”

Presumably that “anybody” would include a second FCS opponent, although, with the new College Football Playoff set to commence this season and strength of schedule expected to play a part in it, the program would likely prefer to avoid that particular pastry if at all possible.

Of the 115 teams that will play at the FBS level in 2015 — we’re excluding the 14-team SEC for obvious reasons — less than 40 would be able to accommodate the Tide’s scheduling Hail Mary.  With that in mind, below are the 10 FBS conferences — and independents — and the teams that have openings on their 2015 schedules:

AAC: East Carolina, Houston, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa, UCF, UConn, USF
ACC: Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Wake Forest
Big 12: none
Big Ten: Penn State
Conference USA: Charlotte, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, Rice
Independents: BYU
MAC: Bowling Green, Buffalo,Central Michigan, Western Michigan
MWC: Air Force, Colorado State, Hawaii, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State
Pac-12: Arizona, Stanford
Sun Belt: Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas State

It’s highly unlikely that any of the teams in the Power Five conferences would jump at the opportunity to play the Tide as they all have games already scheduled against the power leagues, just as it would be unlikely UA would look at a game from that group with Wisconsin already on the schedule.  If you take that as gospel, the field of possibilities is sliced to less than 30 at the FBS level.

Of that remaining group, 15 already have two games scheduled against Power Five conferences.  Those from non-Power Five conferences are, normally, loathe to schedule more than two of those types of games.  In fact, just five schools — Central Michigan, Hawaii, Troy, UT-San Antonio, Western Kentucky — have three games against the Power Five on tap for 2015.

That would seemingly leave a pool of just 10 teams that might be open to facing Alabama: Houston (Louisville), UCF (South Carolina), Charlotte (none), FIU (Indiana), Air Force (Michigan State), New Mexico (Arizona State), Louisiana-Lafayette (BCS team TBA), Texas State (Florida State), Tulsa (Oklahoma) and UConn (none).

BYU would seem like an option, although the Cougars are looking for another home game that season and, as the Salt Lake Tribune writes, “there’s no way on God’s green earth that Alabama would agree to travel to Provo.”

So, yes, it appears that, one, the Tide’s AD has quite the Battle on his hands and, two, whoever ends up becoming UA’s 12th game will likely realize quite the financial windfall for its athletic department.

One final note: Alabama and Colorado State announced in 2012 that it had scheduled a two-game series, both in Tuscaloosa, for the 2013 season as well as either 2015 or 2017.  Why 2015 is not an option for CSU is something we’re attempting to have answered through official channels, although the fact that CSU also has Power Five games against Colorado and Minnesota — on the road — on its 2015 schedule could very well explain that part of the equation.

UPDATED 6:26 p.m. ET: According to TideNation.com, Alabama is in discussions with Southern Miss about filling out the former’s 2015 schedule.

The only problem with that?  Southern Miss’ non-conference schedule is already filled that year: home games against Mississippi State (9/5) and BYU (10/17), road games vs. Appalachian State (9/19) and Nebraska (9/26).  The Conference USA school would have to drop one of those four games, and it would seem very likely that the home games are untouchables — unless UA offered a guarantee above the $1.4 million payout Southern Miss is getting this year for its trip to face the Tide in Tuscaloosa.

The most likely game to be lopped off the Golden Eagles’ slate is App. State.  Not only would it be the lesser of the buyouts — which UA may pick up anyway for the favor they’d be doing — but it also coincides with an open date on the Tide’s 2015 calendar.

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19 Responses to “Tide on 2015 schedule hole: ‘Right now we’d take anybody’”
  1. Ben Kercheval says: May 29, 2014 5:42 PM

    Come at us, bro. #GMG

  2. bigbuckeye76 says: May 29, 2014 6:00 PM

    Pipe dream I know, but I would love to see Bama play a game in the Shoe. What an experience that would be.

  3. thefiesty1 says: May 29, 2014 6:21 PM

    Texas could drop their annual games with, say, NM State, North Tx, Rice, and other gimmes and replace them with someone to provide more than a glorified scrimmage.

  4. texas1n9hrn says: May 29, 2014 7:48 PM

    Yo Fisty1, Texas has the 15th toughest schedule next year even with North Texas on the schedule (the Mean Green were 9-4 last year).

    As for Rice, they won Conference USA with a 10-4 record last year. Their first conference championship since 1957.

    In any event, both these teams are much more worthy opponents than the FCS teams the SEC schedules every year.

    Instead of taking shots at the Longhorns maybe you should direct them at the power 5 conference that schedules the have nots to pad their win total.

  5. imaduffer says: May 29, 2014 7:52 PM

    There has got to be a local High School available. I mean come on, Alabama is the greatest football state in the country.

  6. rocket1988 says: May 29, 2014 9:24 PM

    How about Mich. St. And Bama put their game that was cancelled back on?

  7. dmcgrann says: May 29, 2014 9:28 PM

    I started reading the article and was thinking, “This isn’t going to be Alabama’s problem for long,” and the update at the end said it all. Someone else will have a “glaring hole” in short time, and we probably won’t even follow that team’s efforts to fill that hole.

  8. sportsbastard says: May 30, 2014 12:09 AM

    If they’re that desperate, they should take the road game @BYU, good mid-tier SOS builder.

  9. 4512dawg4512 says: May 30, 2014 3:44 AM

    I doubt they are in any hurry to play Oklahoma again

  10. sportsguy3434 says: May 30, 2014 8:01 AM

    They should take Boise up on their any time, any where offer with no return trip.

  11. 12strikes2 says: May 30, 2014 10:24 AM

    Penn State, seems like a great opening weekend game.

  12. jimmy53 says: May 30, 2014 11:03 AM

    FSU had the same problem a few years back and they got so many no’s that they finally had to schedule Savannah St. Then they got shite about it all season long.

    No one wants to add a big tough team on short notice especially when they can’t offer an immediate home and away.

  13. beanocook says: May 30, 2014 11:59 AM

    So Miss home game “untouchable?” They sold a home game last year, a certain sellout, back to Nebraska.

  14. seminolez says: May 30, 2014 12:51 PM

    I’d love to see Stanford and Bama

  15. blacknole08 says: May 30, 2014 3:33 PM

    Florida State vs BAMA. Although Saban would cry if this match-up happened.

  16. bornahawker says: May 30, 2014 11:45 PM

    Penn St. , they need the challenge.

  17. harleyspoon says: Jun 1, 2014 5:47 PM

    Bama needs to call The University of the Immaculate Word in San Antonio…$1.4 million will work for them…

  18. sternf says: Jun 1, 2014 10:27 PM

    Call UCLA. The Bruins have never played outside of Division 1A. They’ll give you a good game. But you’ll have to travel. Oh, and they play fast.

    Not interested? lol

  19. txstatebobcats1868 says: Jun 5, 2014 10:51 AM

    harleyspoon: Its The University of Incarnate Word

    And Texas State is already getting a payday beating from Free Seafood U that year, don’t think we can handle two in the same season, although that would be cool to play a sec team

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