From the time it was first revealed, through the early parts of this season, the University of Alabama’s 2016 football schedule appeared to be very lopsided in one aspect.
Alabama’s road games were thought to be the meat of the schedule—at Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU, with a neutral-site opener against Southern California. Few thought it could survive that gauntlet, as there was a good chance all five games could be against a ranked opponent.
Four down, one to go, and even though LSU has fired Les Miles, the Tigers are back in the Associated Press Top 25.
But the way things have played out, the home schedule now has more juice to it as well. In addition to hosting No. 6 Texas A&M this weekend, Alabama will close the regular season at home against Auburn, which, at 4-2, is ranked 21st.
Consequently, Alabama could end up playing seven ranked opponents during the regular season, with the potential to face three more in the postseason should it keep winning, in the SEC Championship Game and the College Football Playoff.
When Alabama won the national championship last year, it had to face nine ranked opponents, which set a record for the most of any title team during the poll era—and remarkably only two of those games were at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
To repeat, it might have to top that while again having home-field advantage just twice in those games.
But first, Texas A&M, in what could determine the SEC West champion.
Date: Saturday, October 22
Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
Place: Bryant-Denny Stadium (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network, Texas A&M Radio Sports Network, Sirius 83, XM 190
Spread: Alabama is a 16.5-point favorite, according to Odds Shark.