What Alabama football fans need to know before the season starts

Ken Roberts
The Tuscaloosa News
University of Alabama wide receiver Slade Bolden celebrates the Crimson Tide's 18th national title after the College Football Playoff final at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. UA will begin the 2021 season on Sept. 4 against the University of Miami at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Rejoice, Crimson Tide football fans. The 2021 season is just a few days away.

The University of Alabama will return to the football field at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 4 against the Miami Hurricanes at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, with ABC providing television coverage. 

Here are a few things fans need to know before the season starts:

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When's kickoff?

Besides the season opener, only two other games have kickoff times scheduled so far. The Sept. 11 home opener against Mercer University will kick off at 3 p.m. at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa with the SEC Network televising, and UA's Sept. 18 game against the University of Florida at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville will kick off at 2:30 p.m. on CBS. Kickoff times for the rest of the games on the Crimson Tide's schedule will be announced later.

That's the ticket

It looks paper tickets are a relic of the past. UA says that all football tickets this season will be digital only, marking the second straight year for this process. Ticketholders are encouraged to download UA's mobile app and put their tickets in their smartphone's digital wallet before going to the game. On gameday, fans will be able pull up their digital ticket, point their phone at a scanner and then enter the stadium. UA says the digital tickets will make for safer, quicker entry into the stadium and reduce the risk of lost, stolen or counterfeit tickets. The digital tickets also will allow fans to easily manage, transfer, or sell their tickets. UA has a "Frequently Asked Questions" about mobile tickets on its website,

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What about traffic?

Here's some good news for fans who haven't visited Tuscaloosa in a while: Construction on Interstate 20/59 in the area is all but complete. While "construction zone" speed limits are still enforced here, there are now three westbound lanes headed through Exit 73 at McFarland Boulevard and the arches over the I-20/59 have been painted crimson. Construction on Lurleen B. Wallace Boulevard north and south is completely finished. There are now three lanes through downtown for fans who choose the Interstate 359 and downtown Tuscaloosa route. Additionally, the Second Avenue train overpass connecting 15th Street with Paul W. Bryant Drive opened near the UA campus, which should ease some gameday traffic. But traffic news isn't all rosy: Fans who usually travel on Jack Warner Parkway will have to contend with a road closure in front of the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater.

Where to park?

University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban works with the defensive backs during football practice on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

UA is offering season parking passes on-campus for $200, or $30 each for single games. The passes include a shuttle to and from the Quad. More information is available at For the more budget conscious, free gameday parking is available in the Downtown Intermodal Facility parking deck at 601 23rd Ave., less than a mile's walk to the stadium. Central High School, off 15th Street and 10th Avenue, and the Tuscaloosa Magnet School, off McFarland Boulevard and Campus Drive East, both offer gameday parking for $20. Also, the Arc of Tuscaloosa at 1330 University Blvd. has parking for $10, with all proceeds directly benefiting the Arc, which provides services to people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who are 21 years or older. 

We've got you covered

The Tuscaloosa News will have a Gameday wrap on Saturdays with all the information fans will need to know about that weekend's game. Sunday's papers will feature analysis by Cecil Hurt and Nick Kelly, photos and full coverage of Saturday's game. On Mondays, The News will feature Gameday Moments, three poster-size color photos of action from the most recent game. For breaking news during the season, visit On Twitter, follow @CecilHurt and @_NickKelly.