Battle Addresses Future Football Scheduling

Nick Saban rolled into Tuscaloosa in 2007 with intentions of rekindling the championship aspirations of a program. Thus far, he has accomplished the ultimate goal of winning the national crown three times in his eight-year tenure. Neutral site games against Power Five Conference teams are a staple of the organizational plan.

Since the inaugural Nick Saban Alabama season in 2007, the Crimson Tide has participated in six games played in three different cities - Jacksonville (2007), Atlanta (2008, 2009, 2013, and 2014), and Arlington (2012). The Bama strategy has produced positive results in the polls. Alabama reigns as King of the neutral site game.

An away game financial sum paid to Alabama is paltry compared to the multi-million dollar payouts from sponsors of neutral site games.

A single home-and-home home series against Penn State in 2010/2011 has dotted the calendar.

In September 2013, Alabama canceled a home-and-home 2016/2017 series with Michigan State due to the uncertainty with the SEC’s consideration of a nine-game league schedule. Georgia Tech was also on the docket for 2019 and 2020 before the schools mutually opted out of the home-and-home series.

What does the future hold? Wisconsin and USC are the two chosen opponents for 2015 and 2016 with Arlington as the selected city. Alabama has yet to release any contests against Power Five Conference teams past 2016. Contrast the conventional approach taken by Ohio State. The Buckeyes will complete the Virginia Tech series this season and follow with future home-and-home games contracted with Oklahoma, TCU, Oregon, Texas, and Notre Dame.

'BAMA Magazine/BamaMag.com visited exclusively with Bill Battle, director of athletics at The University of Alabama, on Tuesday at the Crimson Caravan event held in Dothan. Future scheduling was a prime topic in the interview.

APS - Are you enjoying your work?

Bill Battle – Yes; some days more than others but things are pretty good right now.

APS - What is your timetable to stay at The University of Alabama as director of athletics?

Bill Battle - I signed a four-year contract and I just finished my second year so I'm planning if they don't run me off to stay here through that and then we'll see what happens after that.

APS - Alabama has only one game scheduled in the future against a Power Five Conference team - 2016 against Pac-12 opponent USC in Arlington, Texas. What is under consideration?

Bill Battle - We are working on others that we hope to announce sooner rather than later, but a lot of people don't want to play us so it's harder to get games than you might think. We've got some exciting things on the horizon we think.

APS - Alabama has preferred to play Power Five Conference teams at neutral sites. Is there any scenario that could develop to schedule a home/home series in the future with a Power Five Conference team?

Bill Battle - We certainly would consider a home/home series down the road. The neutral site games make a lot of sense to us. They are better economically than what we could make financially going on the road. Coach Saban likes to play them and play them early against good teams so that is a positive thing to get us started off in the national eye every year. While it's working we think we'll keep doing that for a while.

APS - What is the appetite for Alabama to play a neutral site game in a city or region other than Arlington or Atlanta?

Bill Battle - We are looking at some other venues.

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