Retired ’BAMA Magazine cartoonist Dan Proctor once used Bryant-Denny Stadium as a prop for the Gates of Hell, with an opposing player nervously eyeing a sign above the visiting team entrance: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”
The message is at least as appropriate today as it was a few decades back.
Next into the likely inferno is Western Kentucky when Alabama has its home opener at 2:30 p.m. CDT Saturday. ESPN2 will televise the game.
In 88 previous home openers in Bryant-Denny, the Crimson Tide is an impressive 75-11-2, an 86.3 winning percentage. Bama has won 14 consecutive home openers, including the last nine under Coach Nick Saban.
Alabama and Western Kentucky have a slim history, but a decisive one. In two previous meetings, both in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide has won by 41-7 in 2008 and 35-0 in 2012, the second meeting being Bama’s home opener that year.
Alabama is ranked first in the nation in both the Associated Press and Coaches’ polls this week after the Crimson Tide opened the season with a 52-6 romp over Southern Cal in Arlington, Texas. Western Kentucky also opened with a win, a 46-14 thumping of fellow C-USA member Rice.
On Wednesday, Saban said, “We’re obviously looking forward to playing at home. I think it excites our players to have a game at home.
“Hopefully we have the right respect for the team we’re playing. Western Kentucky’s a very good team. They were in the Top 25 at the end of last year and have a significant number of returning players that are very good players. I hope our players understand that people get beat by teams like this because of their arrogance and not respecting their opponent properly and doing all the things they need to do to get ready to play their best. That’s a challenge for us and that’s what we’re sort of trying to get done this week.”
Alabama has won 20 of its last 21 games in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama has the fifth-best home winning percentage in major college football. Bryant-Denny opened as Denny Field in 1929 and the Crimson Tide has compiled a record of 245-53-3 in the stadium. That’s a winning mark of 81.9.
(Marshall opened its stadium in 1991 and is a national best 148-26 for 85.1 per cent. Baylor is second with its stadium that opened in 2014 with 11-2 for 84.6 per cent. Georgia Southern is third at 184-84 for 84.4 per cent. Boise State is fourth at 248-53 for 82.4 per cent.)