Alabama Lining Up Week 1 Replacement
Last week the Big 10 and Pac-12 announced their conferences would not compete in non-conference matchups this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision cost the Crimson Tide its opening game in Dallas against the USC Trojans. Alabama Athletic Director, Greg Byrne has been exploring options for the Tide to ensure Alabama is playing a quality opponent in its first week.
There were rumors the Tide may line up with TCU or even college football blue-blood Notre Dame. Both universities lost games on their schedules due to the Big 10 and Pac-12's decision, however Byrne denied Notre Dame as a possibility this morning on Twitter.
According to AL.com's Matt Zenitz, Alabama is settling in on a season opening game with BYU if the SEC is allowed to play non-conference opponents this season. The Cougars lost their opening week game that was originally scheduled with the Pac-12's Utah. BYU former member of the Mountain West conference has maintained independent status since 2011. The Cougars have lost five games on its 2020 schedule due to the Big 10 and Pac-12's decision.
BYU have been 7-6 in each of the last two seasons under Coach Kalani Sitake, the Cougars finished the 2019 season with a loss to Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl 38-34. However the Cougars defeated the only SEC opponent on its 2019 schedule by going to Neyland Stadium and beating Tennessee 29-26.
It is not clear if the matchup would take place in Tuscaloosa, Provo or in Dallas. Alabama and BYU have met one time in their history, in a season opening matchup in 1998.
The Crimson Tide prevailed 38-31 behind a five touchdown effort by Shaun Alexander. The Cougars were the first opponent in a newly dedicated Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama had just completed a four-year, stadium renovation project, upping the stadium's capacity to 83,818.
With the 2020 college football season en flux and rumors swirling over scheduling it would be quite a comfort to lock-down Alabama's week one opponent, but for now it looks like the BYU Cougars are first up for the Crimson Tide.