The University of Alabama football team’s opener against Duke in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CT. The game will be nationally televised on ABC, the network announced today.

It will be the first time since the 2014 season that Alabama has started the season with a game that was not in prime time. The openers from 2015 through 2018 have all been played at neutral sites.

In addition to the kickoff time for the Duke game, the SEC also announced that the Crimson Tide’s Sept. 7 home opener at Bryant-Denny Stadium against New Mexico State would kick off at 3 p.m. CT on the SEC Network. In part because of Alabama’s success in the past two seasons, the Crimson Tide has played numerous day games. The only home night game in 2018 was the homecoming contest against Missouri.

The first game of Alabama’s SEC schedule, a Sept. 14 road trip to face South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., was announced as the CBS Game of the Week with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff earlier in this week’s SEC Meetings in Destin, Florida.

Kickoff times and television coverage for the remaining nine regular season games will be announced at a later date.

Steve Shaw, the SEC director of football officiating, had a 90-minute seminar/question-and-answer session on Thursday. While much of the time was spent reviewing various rules changes announced by the NCAA in April, Shaw also talked about the need for increased transparency among league officials.

“Officiating has always been a no-comment world,” Shaw said. “But I’m not sure we can live in a no-comment world anymore.”

Almost the only thing SEC football fans like even more than complaining about officiating is beer, and that might be the feature item on the agenda when the SEC school presidents conduct actually business on Friday.

Although there was no official word from the league office, expectations are that the presidents will vote on whether or not to overturn the league’s game management policy banning public alcohol sales in SEC football stadiums.

LSU athletic director Scott Woodward, formerly the AD at Texas A&M, indicated that a vote on alcohol as likely.

“I think it will (happen), but that’s a discussion that the CEOs are going to have,”Woodward said. “It’s kind of out of our hands as far as (the athletic directors) go. They’ll decide what they decide and you’ll see in the next day or two what’s going to happen and what’s going to come out of it. I’m hoping for LSU’s standpoint that we get a liberalization of the policy and see if we can serve it to our fans.”

Alabama AD Greg Byrne, who addressed the topic on Wednesday, did not indicate what Alabama’s immediate position would be if the SEC as a whole repeals Prohibition.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or on Twitter at @cecilhurt.

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