Alabama AD Bill Battle is having a hard time finding a final opponent for 2015:
Bill Battle has tried everything.
He's called dozens of teams.
He's deployed help from ESPN and SEC. He's inquired about teams switching dates to come to Tuscaloosa.
After all that, he still has one vacancy on Alabama's 2015 schedule.
"Right now we'd take anybody," Battle said.
He's pretty sure he already has a I-AA team lined up, and he doesn't think he can afford another as far as strength of schedule goes. He says he's called "everybody we know" and they all claim to be booked up. Let's see if we can help him out.
Using the future schedules at NationalChamps.net and FBSchedules.com, I looked at all of the Power 5 conference members plus anyone else who has made a BCS bowl. The information on those sites might be incomplete, of course, thanks to some scheduling deals possibly not being public yet. However they're pretty comprehensive, so here's a list of teams that apparently still have a non-conference scheduling spot open for 2015:
- Georgia Tech**
- North Carolina**
- NC State
- Penn State
- West Virginia*
The number of asterisks by each team's name denotes how many Power 5 non-conference games they have lined up already. Stanford only has three non-conference slots and has two P5 teams already, so it's understandable if the Cardinal doesn't want to slot in Bama too. Georgia Tech, Pitt, and UNC have a decent excuse as well.
But others don't. Arizona has UTSA and Nevada. NC State has Troy, Old Dominion, and South Alabama, the latter two being very recent I-A imports. PSU has Temple, Buffalo, and San Diego State. UConn has Villanova, Army, and BYU.
They'd all be splendid opponents for Alabama. Unless those teams have some kind of scheduling deal in the works that's not public, they don't have a good excuse not to do it. C'mon guys. Give Bill a call. He'd really appreciate it.
Alabama is probably holding out for a home game here. It is playing Wisconsin in a neutral site game, so it needs all three other non-conference games to be home affairs to hit seven. I don't know if Bama has publicly stated a desire to hit seven home games every year, but it's pretty standard among most power programs to want to hit that number.
Let's look at the listed teams without any P5 opponents yet (that we know of).
Arizona will have five Pac-12 road games in 2015 and is already playing at Nevada, so it's probably out for that reason. Penn State has a non-conference road game at Temple in Philly. It can't play in Tuscaloosa and still have seven true home games of its own, but the Temple game will have a friendly crowd. UConn has a road game at BYU in 2015 as well, meaning it can't have seven home games and play at Bama either.
NC State stands alone here. It has three home games in the non-conference lined up. If it truly has a schedule spot open, it could play at Alabama and hit that magic seven-home-games threshold. If the Tide's last 2015 opponent is on this list, it's most likely to be NCSU.