Alabama is negotiating to schedule a home-and-home football series with Notre Dame, The Tuscaloosa News has learned. Alabama is also working on a home-and-home deal with Texas.
The Crimson Tide last participated in an out-of-conference home-and-home series in 2010-11 against Penn State, hosting the Nittany Lions in 2010 and traveling to State College, Pa., in 2011.
UA Director of Athletics Greg Byrne would not confirm the schools are in talks, but did say the athletic department is pursuing future two-game deals that would have Alabama play a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium and also play on the opposing school’s campus.
“I’ll say that we are exploring some home-and-homes,” Byrne said.
Neither deal has been finalized.
It the Notre Dame series comes to fruition, it would not likely take place until well into the next decade because Notre Dame has several other contracted high-profile games in future years.
Notre Dame plays SEC opponent Vanderbilt in 2018, will visit Georgia next season, hosts Arkansas in 2020 and payers a home-and-home with Texas A&M in 2024 and ’25, according to the website FBSchedules.com. The Fighting Irish also have a deal to play several Atlantic Coast Conference opponents on a rotating basis and regularly play Southern Cal and Stanford. Other schools, like Purdue and Navy, are also regular staples on the Notre Dame schedule.
In the Nick Saban era (2007 to date), Alabama has participated in the home-and-home with Penn State and concluded the Duke home-and-home series by traveling to Duke in 2010.
Over the last decade, Alabama has been more inclined to play high-profile neutral-site games in locations like Atlanta and Arlington, Texas. The program has made tens of millions of dollars for season openers against the likes of Clemson, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Southern Cal, Florida State and others. UA coach Nick Saban has touted the advantages of such games in terms of exposure and in motivating players in the offseason by having a high-profile game to start the season.
Last September, Saban confirmed on his radio show he and Byrne had discussed scheduling future home-and-home series.
“I would like to do that,” he said. “We played Penn State home and home when I was here and it was a good game here, it was a good game there, great crowd and all that. It’s better for our fans if we play at home, I get that.”
Alabama will open the 2018 season against Louisville in Orlando, and the following season opens with Duke in Atlanta.
UA has a storied history with Notre Dame. Although the programs have only previously met seven times, when they do it’s usually a big game. The teams met three times in the 1970s —twice in bowl games— all close, painful loses for the Crimson Tide. Alabama claimed its first victory in the series in 1986, and, most recently, won the 2012 BCS national championship over the Irish in a blowout 42-14 win. Notre Dame leads the series 5-2.
Alabama last played Texas in the 2009 BCS Championship Game.
Reach Aaron Suttles at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.