Who wants Bama: Examining the teams Alabama could face instead of USC
On Wednesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was asked if Alabama and Texas A&M would replace respective games against PAC-12 foes USC and Colorado after their conference decided to axe non-conference football in 2020.
"The opportunities will be there," Sankey said during his appearance on Outkick. "We're not alone in having lost non-conference games because of other conference decisions, and so all of these football programs that have lost opportunities are now looking for games as well. The good news is even though we've had those two that have slipped away, there will be opportunities for both Alabama, A&M to find other opponents should they move down that pathway."
The list has to start with the Horned Frogs who were supposed to face Cal during week one.
Back in May, BamaInsider confirmed reports that TCU and the Crimson Tide engaged in discussions to play each other should the PAC-12 move to a conference only schedule.
Unlike the other Power Five conferences, the Big 12 doesn't have enough members to play 10 conference games this year. With the College Football Playoff still scheduled, it's possible the Big 12 would push teams to play a quality non-conference game if possible.
2019 Record: 5-7 (3-6)
Average points scored: 30.3
Average points allowed: 26.4
Series: TCU leads 3-2, Alabama won the last meeting 45-0 in 1975.
The Pokes were supposed to play Oregon State on Wednesday, Sept. 2 to open the season. That game would have drawn eyeballs because it was one of the first games of the season with little to no competition.
This one feels like one worth watching no matter what's on other channels. Oklahoma State ranked 25th in the final College Football Playoff rankings in 2019.
Plus, Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard rushed for 2,094 yards last season while scoring 21 times. Talk about an exciting way to welcome back Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses. Who has the popcorn?
2019 Record: 8-5 (5-4)
Average points scored: 32.6
Average points allowed: 27
Series: Oklahoma State leads 1-0 after winning the 2006 Independence Bowl 34-31.
Oh look another Big 12 opponent. How original.
I promise this is the last one, but if the ACC decides to move to a conference only schedule then West Virginia will lose it's week one game with Florida State.
Alabama already has a home-and-home on the books with West Virginia in 2026 and 2027. I'm betting the Mountaineers would rather leave that one in the future and face a rebuilding Florida State team in 2020.
2019 Record: 5-7 (3-6)
Average points scored: 20.6
Average points allowed: 28.8
Series: Alabama leads 1-0 after winning the 2014 season-opener in Atlanta 33-23.
Another team that could become available during week one. The Irish were supposed to face Navy the prior week in Ireland. That game will now take place stateside, possibly on Labor Day weekend.
If the logistics can't be worked out in time, or if it gets cancelled or even postponed, then Notre Dame would likely be the best team available. Oh and don't forget, the Irish finished No. 12 in the final Associated Press poll last season.
2019 Record: 11-2
Average points scored: 36.8
Average points allowed: 18.7
Series: Notre Dame leads 5-2, Alabama won the last meeting 42-14 in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game
It's still a real possibility that the SEC is forced to follow suit and adopt a conference-only schedule. Should the league decide to bump the SEC schedule up to 10 games, the Gators stand out as the most intriguing addition.
It shouldn't shock anyone if the Gators emerge as the team to beat in the SEC East. Florida ranked No. 6 in the final AP poll last season after losing only to Georgia and LSU.
2019 Record: 11-2, (6-2)
Average points scored: 33.2
Average points allowed: 14.4
Series: Alabama leads 26-14, The Crimson Tide won the latest meeting 54-16 in the 2016 SEC Championship Game.
BYU, Bowling Green and Florida Atlantic are also available during week one due to cancellations. The Cougars would provide more buzz but the other two might be easier to schedule logistically in case the Crimson Tide just needs a game.
Should the ACC move to a conference only slate: Central Florida and Middle Tennessee would also become available during the first week of the season.
Then of course there's the rest of the SEC East (South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt). Should the SEC decide to follow suit and adopt a 10-game conference schedule, the Crimson Tide will play one or two of these schools depending on if Alabama also draws the Gators.