There’s been a lot of negative talk about Alabama’s schedule this year, especially the non-conference games against Duke, New Mexico State, Southern Miss and Western Carolina.
There’s a lack of pizzazz with those, there’s no denying that, especially considering some of the neutral-site openers the Crimson Tide has played, and won.
That’s part of the problem. Consider the outcome of those games:
• Louisville 51-14
• Florida State 24-7
• USC 52-6
• Wisconsin 35-17
• West Virginia 33-23
• Virginia Tech 35-10
• Michigan 41-14
Of course, it all started with a huge win against Clemson, which helped lead to Dabo Swinney being promoted to head coach. There was also a home-and-home series with Penn State.
The point is, there aren’t a lot of teams that want to play the Crimson Tide because it’s almost a guaranteed loss. Scheduling has obviously become a huge issue for Alabama, which is why it’s paying opponents more than a $1 million to visit Bryant-Denny Stadium and agreed to the two-for-one series with South Florida.
The other part of it is under Nick Saban the Crimson Tide’s already played nearly every high-profile program, or already has them on the schedule.
It has neutral-site games scheduled with USC and Miami, plus future home-and-home series with Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Texas.
Ohio State and Clemson obviously don’t want to schedule Alabama as they see it enough in the College Football Playoff.
So who’s left? Maybe Nebraska and some Pac-12 teams like UCLA, Oregon and Arizona State.
The other part of the equation is Alabama’s SEC schedule, which is always brutal.
LSU is a top-five team. Texas A&M is a top-10 opponent. Auburn is Auburn.
Remember when everyone was complaining about the Crimson Tide’s schedule last season? From November on, Alabama played LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn, Georgia, Oklahoma and Clemson.
That’s four teams ranked in the top 5 of the AP Top 25, a fifth ranked opponent and the biggest rivalry game in college football.
That was the toughest stretch any team played last season and Alabama’s going to have to go through it again to win the national championship.