Alabama AD dashes Notre Dame opening game speculation
There was talk Alabama and Notre Dame could meet in a season-opening game.
But on Saturday, Tide AD Greg Byrne declared the game would not be happening.
Looking forward to our future H&H series w/ @NDFootball.
— Greg Byrne (@Greg_Byrne) July 18, 2020
Peach Bowl CEO and Chick-fil-A Classic organizer Gary Stoken had discussed scheduling possibilities during Alabama radio appearances this week in Mobile (WNSP-FM 105.5) and Huntsville (WZZN-FM 97.7).
Stoken indicated if the SEC and ACC go to a model playing their respective league schedules plus one non-conference game, one possibility could be the Tide replacing USC in the season-opening slot with Notre Dame.
The ACC’s extra non-conference game provision would likely exclude Notre Dame as the “Plus” game. The Irish already have six ACC teams on its 2020 schedule.
ACC football also expected to play conference-only games, sources told @Stadium. Last month, ACC commish John Swofford told @Stadium if Power 5 schools played conference-only schedules that ACC would assist Notre Dame with as many games as it needed
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 9, 2020
If the ACC and SEC were to adopt a model with conference games plus one non-conference game, it would in part be aimed at maintaining such in-state rivalries as Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State, Clemson-South Carolina and Kentucky-Louisville.
The Tide’s game with the Trojans, meanwhile, went off the slate when the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced a week ago they would play conference-only games this fall.
Alabama was scheduled to play USC in Arlington, Texas.
The SEC, Big 12 and ACC have yet to announce their scheduling plans, but the league schedule plus one non-conference game model is among the options.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has said he’s still aiming for the league teams to play a full slate this fall, but he conceded there are several options on the table.
Georgia fans will likely be among those tuning in to watch Alabama in its opener regardless of who the Tide plays.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to open the conference portion of their schedule in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 19.
For Alabama, facing Notre Dame would have been a chance to catch-up in a series it trails 5-2.
The Irish were a thorn in the side of legendary Tide coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Notre Dame was 4-0 against the Alabama during Bryant’s tenure in Tuscaloosa, including a 24-23 win in the de-facto 1973 national title game in the Sugar Bowl.
Alabama and Notre Dame announced a future home-and-home series two years ago.
The Tide is scheduled to play in South Bend on Sept. 2, 2028, and the Irish coming to Bryant-Denny Stadium on Sept. 1, 2029.
“It doesn’t get more tradition-rich than Alabama and Notre Dame when it comes to college football,” Byrne said at the time.
The tradition-rich powerhouses have not met since the Crimson Tide beat the Irish 42-14 in the BCS National Championship Game in Miami Gardens at the conclusion of the 2012 season.
The Irish, who operate as an Independent in football, had three of their previously scheduled games canceled when the Big Ten and Pac-12 made their conference-only scheduling announcement.
Notre Dame was previously scheduled to play Wisconsin on Oct. 3, Stanford on Oct. 10 and USC was a Nov. 28 game.
The Irish would have needed to re-schedule their game at Navy to make an opening game week game against Alabama work.
Notre Dame was originally scheduled to be played in Ireland before the COVID-19 pandemic. The teams have since moved the game to Annapolis, Maryland.