Alabama is not above the rest. The Crimson Tide of Coach Nick Saban, winner of three national championships in the previous six seasons and ranked second in the nation in the most recent College Football Playoff Selection Committee poll, is a prohibitive favorite to reach the 10-win plateau on Saturday.
Alabama, 9-1 overall and 6-1 in SEC games, will be hosting another 9-1 team, but Charleston Southern is in a different football world. The Buccaneers are very good with a 6-0 record in the Big South – only the second team to finish undefeated in that conference – and Charleston Southern leads the FCS division (equivalent to the old NCAA Division II) in defense.
Alabama and Charleston Southern will kick off at 3 p.m. CST Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The SEC Network will televise the game.
The reason for putting this type game on the Alabama schedule at this time is to be almost an open date before heading to Auburn for the final regular season game of the year on Nov. 28.
SEC teams are not permitted to have an open date the week before final regular season play. Many league teams will be playing traditional end-of-season rivals a week from Saturday.
Auburn, for instance, will host Idaho, a game that will make the Tigers bowl eligible if they can get the win.
Some SEC teams still have important conference games in the last two weeks.
Arkansas finishes up hosting Mississippi State this week and Missouri Friday, Sept. 27. LSU will be at Ole Miss this week, then host Texas A&M to end the season. Ole Miss plays LSU this week, goes to Mississippi State the final week. Mississippi State is at Arkansas and home to Ole Miss. Missouri is home to Tennessee and at Arkansas. Tennessee is at Missouri, then home to Vanderbilt. Texas A&M at Vanderbilt and then at LSU. Vanderbilt is home to Texas A&M and at Tennessee.
And we’ll probably hear commentators complaining about the SEC schedule while swooning over the Big 12’s top teams playing one another in November.